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Tredstep Medici

I Hate Tall Boots

Typically on my blog I try to keep things fairly positive. I’m not an optimistic person by nature, and over the last few years I’ve worked really hard to see the glass as half full in all areas of my life. But today, I’m going to bitch and whine to ya’ll. So strap in, grab the popcorn, and pop the cork on some wine: today’s blog post is gonna be a dramatic one!

I’m really struggling with tall boots right now, and currently they are on my shit-list. I bought a pair of Ariat Challenge field boots way back in October 2014 and I thought I was in love. They were pretty with a spanish top and square toe, and fit great… or so I thought. Not too long after that my feet started to go numb. I thought it was my stirrups… so I bought new ones. Then I thought I was bracing against my stirrups, so I worked hard to fix that. But still the numbness persisted and I finally thought maybe it’s the tall boots. A few friends also had issues with their Ariat Challenge boots (albeit different issues than I), which finally made me look for a pair of replacements in May 2016.

Ariat Challenge Boots
Beautiful, but it’s hard to ride when you can’t feel your feet

I’ve always been an Ariat girl, so I tried on the (cheaper!) Ariat Heritage boots, and I’m woefully between calf sizes: the wide is too big and the regular is too tight. I tried Grand Prix boots, and I couldn’t even get my foot into the size 9. At the time, I didn’t want to spend $1,000 on tall boots, so I skipped the Monaco and Parlanti, which were the only other brands at my local tack store. So I drove down to Dover Saddlery in Cincinnati and tried on Mountain Horse (too tall), and Tredstep Dontallo’s which I liked and fit well, so I bought them. They were a little bit bulky in the ankle, but I decided I could make them work for the winter.

However, we being the Hunter Princess I am, I wanted something a little bit nicer for shows, so I bought the Tredstep Medici’s online from SmartPak. I broke them in using the bathtub method thanks to Equestrian At Hart’s glowing review of the process and I loved those boots. They fit great, looked awesome and I broke them in in two days. Fantastic! Except the zipper busted in the middle of my horse show last weekend. Thank goodness my mom was able to make them work for my classes on Sunday, but they’ve obviously got to go back and I’m just hoping for a refund at this point.

Tredstep Medici
Also beautiful, but broken

But now I’m back to the drawing board as far as finding a pair of tall boots to ride in… and I have another horse show this weekend. The local tack store didn’t have any options — I tried on a pair of Parlanti’s and the calf was so small it was laughable. Of course, there wasn’t a pair of Monaco’s available for me to try on, so I suppose those are still an option. But right now, I’m pretty freaking pissed and wondering why in the hell it’s so hard to find a size 8 1/2, regular height, wide calf tall boots that lasts more than 6 months.

So bloggers, what brand of tall boots do you like? Anyone out there with a wide calf have any insights into good brands? 


Fly On Over is an equestrian lifestyle blog devoted to connecting horse lovers around the world. By providing equestrians with practical tips and tricks related to horse ownership, discussing training techniques for horse and rider, as well as covering industry news.

43 thoughts to “I Hate Tall Boots”

  1. It seems to me that anything with a zipper is destined to break, especially with the little piddly zippers most companies put in. I just gave up and got my zipper replaced with something sturdier.

    1. I tend to agree with you, and if they had lasted a year or more, I would have just gotten the zippers replaced. But 6 months?! Makes me worried about what else will go wrong down the road…

      1. I bought a pair of Bevel boots that the girl broke the zipper on just breaking them in around the house. The soles didn’t even show wear yet. So sometimes it’s just the zippers. I love the insoles of my Mountain Horse supreme boots, except they are too big, they quickly bagged out. I feel like I don’t get who the “normal” sizes are for, I’m in between slim and regular.

  2. I’m going to have to go tall boot shopping some time before next show season. My current show boots make my feet go absolutely numb as well. So if anyone knows of a good, affordable size 11, slim calf boot with a wide foot bed, deal me into this discussion. Boot shopping sucks almost as much as saddle shopping!

  3. I can’t find anything with a 17″ calf that aren’t Ariats or custom. Most wide or xw calfs aren’t big enough but the plus size or xxw wides are too big.

    1. I have 16″ calves and have the same issues! The only brands I’ve found that I can even fit my foot and calf into are Ariat and Tredstep so far 🙁

  4. If you’re willing to spend a hair more, maybe try DeNiros? Mine are a finally showing wear after 3 years of once a week + shows/clinics. They offer a bunch of different semi-custom sizes. I love my Salentos- they’re the only pair I’ve tried that are tall enough for me!

      1. These are definitely on my list to try from SmartPak. It’s just frustrating, because I’m not 100% sure what size I am, and I’d love to be able to try several in the store to figure sizing out… but at least SmartPak has quick and easy returns 🙂

        Thanks for the recommendation ladies!

        1. I have 3 pairs of deniros, 2 purchased in the smartpak attic for like, zero dollars (because I’m a strange, very small foot size) and one pair ordered new from Canada. My one caveat is that the largest calf size might be close for you. I am a regular in other boots but a L in deniro and when my legs are swollen I can’t get my boots on.

          That said they have all been super durable.

          My everyday boots are the Tredstep Michelangelo (another clearance find) I wear them every single day and they are holding up super, but the reason I got them on clearance was whoever had them before me had ripped the leather covering the elastic. That may be a problem unless you size up in the calf, but I plan to buy another pair of these new for showing because they are SO flattering. Foot is super comfortable too.

          If I were you I’d probably try the Deniro Salentos first and see how you like them.

  5. I’d be tempted just to get the zippers replaced on the Medici’s. It’s super cheap to get done near me (I want to say $30) so hopefully it is for you as well. If you like the boots and you get better zippers put in you should have them for a while.
    Obviously you need something for this weekend so you still have an issue. Does riding warehouse have anything? They have such fast shipping. Or just go a bit janky and pull out some tape for this weekend?
    I will say I have several friends who have switch to DeNiros and been happy – both did semi-custom.

    1. I do have an option for this weekend, so while I’m not HAPPY about it, at least I can still show. I’m just frustrated, and the timing couldn’t be worse.

  6. Another vote for zipper replacement. I had an absolutely AWFUL pair of Treadstone tall boots that I held on to for a long time simply because the calf fit. The zippers they came with broke almost immediately, so I spent about $50 at a shoe repair store to have them replaced. The boots had problem after problem, but the zippers never gave me trouble again. If you like the Medici’s, get the zippers replaced. You may need to call around to a couple of different places; not every shoe repair place does zippers. Your local tack store might have a recommendation!

  7. Smartpak should definitely give you some sort of refund. If not, Tredstep may be able to do something. I bought the Ariat Heritage Contours to save my other boots for showing and I despise them. I know so many people who love them and I just hate them. In order to get the calf right I had to go up a foot size, the ankle is bulkier than grandma cankles, and the calf has stretched out so much that I would have been fine to get the correct foot size. I used to have a pair of Tredsteps and found them to wear out/bust super easily. My preference is Der Dau (of you want to spend a bit extra) or the Ariat Monaco.

  8. Get them altered at a leather shop! My fee used to go numb and then I figured out they were just too tight on my calves and once I got V inserts sewn in to my boots (cost me about $50) specifically tailored to my calves, the toe numbness went away. Just a thought! There’s a place in Xenia, OH called Xenia Shoe and Leather and thats where I go but that might be too far for ya

  9. What a bummer. Ariat zippers never last it seems. I thought I was solving all my problems by getting custom boots but La Mundial is the devil. Then I found Parlantis at a European shop for 500$ and I never want to wear anything else!

    1. That’s my fear! If I can’t find something off the rack, I’m looking at custom and after all the horror stories, I just really don’t want to do that either.

  10. 1)My first suggestion is yeah, zippers.

    2)I am super in love with my Tattinis, and they are on the slightly short side so they might work well for you? They come in a wide calf and a regular calf, and they have a stretch panel to help perfect the fit. The more subdued hunter ones (Boxer) are under $300. You can order them from My Selleria. Mine have lasted me 2.5 years so far, and I did have to have the zipper replaced this spring, but I also wear my boots all the time and take terrible care of them. No square toe on these though.

    3) Final review is still pending, because they’re going back for a couple of sizing adjustments, but Eiki has so far been amazing to work with and they’re super flexible on sizing. After I pay to ship them back, the total for them will round out to around $630 I think, and they’re super gorgeous and supple, but the leather feels sturdy. In the 5 minutes I wore them to see how they fit, they had already started to wrinkle and break in which is a great sign.

    1. Just looked up Tattini and their calves aren’t even close. In size 39 (which is like a 8/9 US), the largest calf size is 14.5″ (I need at least 15.5″-16″)

  11. I fit in basically one off the rack boot that’s been discontinued. (Mountain Horse High Riders). I have two pairs–one in use, one waiting for me–and I’m hoping that when I get through them, I can justify/afford/use fancy custom dress boots. We will see.

  12. I feel your pain. I searched for YEARS for a tall boot that would work for me. The winner ended up being DeNiro’s from Smartpak. You can go semi-custom so I could mix and match leg height, width, foot sizes etc. It took a few months to get them but I felt comfortable with it because I knew I would have no problem returning them if it didn’t work out. I found the size chart very accurate and just did the measurements myself. I plan on buying a couple more pairs because i’m paranoid they will discontinue them or something and i’ll be SOL again! Ha!

  13. Seriously, tall boots suck. I finally found an off-the-rack pair of Cavallos that fit me… but the size is only available in Europe. I hope you find something that works!

  14. I know you said you don’t want to spend $1000 but it sounds like custom is the way to go. It is so worth the money. I only show in mine and my last pair lasted many, many years! In reality buying and off the shelf pair for $200-300 every couple years and you could have had custom!

  15. I’ll admit I didn’t read through all the comments, so if someone already said this, my apologies… But try the Tuffrider Regals Field boots. You may not love them as a beautiful pair of show boots, but you could get the zipper replaced in the ones you like and keep these as a spare. I ride in them almost everyday and I love them.
    For reference in Parlanti I’m a 36XLH which means a size 6 extra tall (hahahahaha! I don’t get it either) extra wide. Parlanti does not make you feel good about yourself. In the Tuffriders I’m a size 6 regular regular but could probably have done a tall. (Seriously, I don’t get this. I’m short.) The Tuffrider’s do run short, so if you’re usually normal height get talls.

  16. At least you fit in W. I need XW and the only option is basically the Ariats. Unless I want to go custom. Maybe try the La Mundials. They’re pretty cheap for custom. I also just ride in paddock boots and half chaps and only put my tall boots on for shows. Otherwise I’d never ride with how much the boots hurt.

  17. My favorite boots of all time are my Effinghams by the Bond Boot Company. They are the only ones I didn’t walk through in less than a season (first pair lasted 7 years-I rode in them every day). Sadly they went out of business. I was lucky enough to find a pair on COTH 6-7 years ago and snatched them up. Good luck with the boot search.

  18. I was chatting with a Der Dau rep at a show a few weeks ago and he and I chatted long about zippers — they have some of the strongest of any custom brand, apparently. They’re expensive but they do have a payment plan, and apparently they really last. Maybe they’re worth checking out?

  19. No suggestions, but I feel your pain. It’s super hard to find off the rack wide boots in general. I personally feel like my only option is to go custom, but I really don’t want to spend the money. Ugh… I usually just end up with boots that don’t fit right.

  20. I’m sorry you are having such a rough go with tall boots. I know people hate hearing it but custom sounds like the way to go. I’ll let you know how my second go round with La Mundial goes (my first go round was excellent). They, Casa de las botas and Fama for all seem to be the cheapest options the custom route.

  21. Custom tall boots can be pretty reasonable. My trainer got hers for around $500 several years ago, and when you factor in finding the right fit and replacing boots so often that’s really not so bad.

    HOWEVER. I do not have a $500 budget for tall boots (not even close lol) so when my beloved Ariat Volants ended up dropping too far below my knee I had to get creative. So I bought used boots. If you’re easily grossed out, this may not be the way to go. I tried on a bunch of pairs at my local tack consignment store to get a sense of what would fit, but didn’t quite find the right ones. Then I found a pair of Ariats (Heritage, I think?) in a Facebook group and got them for $75. They’re already broken in, fit me well and still have plenty of life left in them especially since I only wear them for shows which is only a few weekends a year. Bonus, if and when they do wear out, I won’t be too bummed because of that price tag!

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