Call me a child. My first instinct when receiving a new pair of boots is to run out in the mud, scuff ‘em up, and break ‘em in.
Not so with my new Ariat Monaco Zip Paddock boots. Far Too Lovely. The black boots with fashionable square toe may make an adult out of me yet. They put the ‘Grr’ in ‘Grown-up.’
Although I don’t usually ride English, I have an appreciation for the style, especially when it comes to riding boots. Of all the options, Ariat’s zip paddock boots are the most versatile and appealing to those of us not bent on competition and showing. If you are indeed competing and showing, these boots are designed to be worn with half chaps. (The combination looks pretty smart, if I do say so.)
Interested in more English style? Read our Clothes Horse edition of “English Casual” here.
As guest columnist Emily Luciano found with her pair of Ariat Vaqueras, there was only a short break-in time for me and the Monacos. I wore thinner socks at first. As they stretched slightly and conformed to my wider-than-average foot, I switched to slightly thicker socks (ones I normally wear).
The French calf leather has worn delightfully. I have had those mud runs, of course, but the boots spiff up easily by cleaning them with a clean rag (dry or slightly damp). Over the course of a few months, the leather looks just as impressive and handsome as when I took them from the box (or I should say cloth bag – all Monaco boots come with a soft, chamois bag for safe boot-keeping.)
Over the years, I’ve enjoyed low boots like the Monaco’s, but others have not fit so snugly around the shin. The result? Jean hang-up. Any time you get out of the saddle, out of a chair, out of the car, your jean hem will catch on the top of the boot. So annoying.
Not so with these Ariats.
Since they are make-or-break features, I am picky about zippers. The Monaco zipper is easy to grasp, easy to pull, and is rugged without being macho. The leather flap under the zipper assures you never zip your sock and does not interfere with comfort.
Since comfort has a lot to do with heel height, I’m picky about that, too. The heel is just an inch. Combined with gel cushioning and heel stabilizer, these boots are easy to wear all day. Impressive, all the way.