* Prices may differ from that shown
When it was coming up to Christmas last year my other half asked what I would like - silly question really as I have a list as long as my arm as to what I would like! However, apart from various pairs of shoes I had seen in Kurt Geiger in my top 5 was a pair of new country boots. A pair that I can wear to the yard or walking the dog but were not Hunters or any other type of wellington boots. My previous pair (which I will review) had been worn for just too long and were on there way out so it made sense to have a new pair.
My boots need to last a long time, my previous pair had managed just about 2 years with constant wear which I think was perfect. The pair I had my eye on were a pair made by Ariat and called 'Coniston'. Ariat are an equestrian brand which have branched out for more country living type wear rather than just stick to equestrian wear. Ariat are known for their well made clothing and footwear and unfortunately the price. Ariat doesn't come particularly cheap BUT their products are generally faultless and are worth the money you pay as they last well and the quality is great.
"Ariat was founded with one simple objective: to provide the most technologically advanced riding boots for the world's top equestrian athletes."
Fortunately for me my pair of Ariat Coniston's were opened on Christmas day, I later found out that my other half found them at a pre-Christmas sale online reduced because apparently the laces were a slightly different shade than normal so were classed as 'seconds' but yet hadn't been out of the box! Ariat Coniston are known as a country boot, ideal for walking the dog, general yard duties as well as general riding so for me they have a multitude of uses. The come in just one colour, chocolate brown, which is a bit of a shame as if you don't like the shade then your pretty much stuck fortunately for me I like the shade!
To look at the boots just look like brown leather with laces. Yes, the laces go up the front of the boot with a faux buckle as an added feature but the leather is in fact waterproof full grain leather featuring a suede upper. They come complete with a full length back zip making them easy to get on and get off. Inside there is a dri-lex plaid lining which really does complete the 'country' look whilst being incredibly comfortable. I do find though that Ariat's are quite narrow in their fitting around the calf but I do have a friend who has the same pair who normally has a wide fitting that the Coniston style fit her because the laces are the front can obviously be loosened or tightened but it is worth trying on in a store before buying.
The boots feature a GORE-TEX® membrane which help keep the feet and legs insulated whilst helping to keep the boots fully waterproof. On top of this they also feature Primaloft® insulation which helps keep your feet warm in cold weather (yet another reason why I wanted them for Christmas!). I have to say that I have worn my Coniston boots numerous times since Christmas whether to the yard or walking the dog and not once have my feet been cold which is such a joy as there is nothing worse than cold feet! Despite keeping my feet warm, the boots don't make my feet overheat as the GORE-TEX® membrane is breathable so making them incredibly comfortable to wear.
So now for the technological bit! The Ariat Coniston boots have Ariat's Advanced Torque Stability (ATS®) which apparently is a great choice for riders as it offers comfort and stability. To put it simply the combination of a PU and EVA footbed offers the support whilst cushioning the foot whilst the patented foot shank offers torsional stability. The whole idea of ATS® apart from helping the rider is to reduce stress on the feet, lower legs and back (by arch support) which is ideal if you are on your feet whether walking or riding all day. The moisture wicking lining also helps keep feet dry and wicks sweat away, it is also antibacterial which helps reduce odour. The boots also have a stirrup friendly sole design so you have just as much grip on the stirrup treads as you would on a normal pair of riding boots. The DuratreadTM outsole is incredibly tough and durable which should last for years to come.
ATS® also provides a forefoot cushion which is made from gel ideal as a shock absorber together with a heel cradle which not only stabilises the foot but also supports the foot together with the arch support which helps aid posture these boots are far more advanced than you realise! When riding at a certain level you need this support, if you ride occasionally or are just learning then there is no need to wear a pair of boots unless you want to pay the money but when riding every day on multiple horses the stress and pressure on your joints can build so it is important that you look after your body as I don't think people realise just how much damage it can do if you don't wear the proper equipment.
When I first opened my lovely Ariat boxed and smelt that true leather smell it was heaven. You may think it is sad but for those that have a deep love of anything shoe related then you will understand. Ariat boots all come well packaged to keep their shape and these are no exception. The leather to start with is rigid but soft enough to be comfortable, the suede upper is a lot more flexible due to the material. The long zip is quite stiff to start with to you do need to be gentle with it and not yank it as the last thing you want to do is break them. The laces are already done up in the boots so no messing around trying to get them in and evenly laced which is ideal for me.
My boots have been regularly worn since Christmas and the leather has suppled up a lot but just enough for them to be comfortable and not too much for them to become loose around my foot. They are quite a snug fit so you don't need dozens of pairs of socks but should accommodate a wide fitting easily and as the leather stretches it will give around the foot. The suede upper lasts well as long as they are looked after - I clean my pair regularly with the appropriate cleaner and they do look great. I have never needed to tighten or loosen the laces at the front and I have never touched the buckle as there is no need the fitting is great. They are extremely comfortable inside with the lining and they haven't rubbed one bit which is ideal especially when I wear them on such a frequent basis. The sole looks as though they haven't been worn at all so I am expecting these boots to last some considerable time!
I can't complain about these they manage to keep my feet warm enough in the winter yet now warmer weather is creeping in my feet haven't been too hot either. They are excellent in terms of quality and how well they are made and I have no doubt that they last. They are fully waterproof, durable and comfortable so for me they serve me well. The only downside is the price! Currently retailing at a whopping £245.00 per pair, some are more than happy to pay this for the brand others not so much especially when there are other country boots on the market for a lot less but fortunately as I said above my other half paid a considerable amount less and I have seen them on an equestrian website for £99.99 - definitely worth shopping around. However, I do think they are worth the price tag but I do know Ariat make good boots which last and should you have any issues Ariat do have an excellent customer service. Definitely 5 stars from me without hesitation!
~ Useful Info ~
Price: £245.00 - shop around
Availability: Equestrian/country stores and online
Sizes: 3 to 9