You guys, you should really take care of your things. Especially if you buy nice things and you want them to last you more than one season. You should clean and oil them regularly, store them in non-freezing places, and maybe don’t make them walk through mud puddles unless you absolutely have to.
I bought my pair of TredStep Donatello tall boots back in late July. They were the only semi-nice off the rack boots that I could find that fit my beefy calves (16 1/4″, and they only fit because of their stretch panel). When I first got them we didn’t get along super well, but after taking a few weeks to break them in they were as good as I was going to get without considering the budget-breaking idea of custom boots (curse my short legs, average feet, and plus-sized calves!).
They were never the perfect boot. They were a little loose around the knee and the foot (I had to put inserts in to fill up some the space, plus wear two pairs of socks), one of their cute little logo emblems fell off after a few months of daily use, my spurs never really stayed above the stops, and their dye didn’t agree with my boot conditioner. But despite all of that, I grew to like the Donatello. Once they were beaten up a little bit they were super comfortable and I never had any moments where I felt like they were hindering my riding.
All of that’s to say that I was super bummed when I noticed that my zipper had started to separate during one of my rides. I managed to yank the zipper back onto the track and for a few days I thought I’d dodged a major budget bullet, but then the zipper jumped ship entirely.
I’ve had the Donatello for just under a year and half. The Internet says that zippers on tall boots usually last two to four years if taken care of properly (PSA: apparently there’s some sort of zipper lube that I should have been using? who knew!), so I can’t say that I’m super surprised that they’ve given up the ghost. A lot of my Instagram followers said that I should get them repaired, but just as many said that I might as well buy a new pair or a set of paddock boots and half chaps.
Luckily for me (and my over-taxed bank account), a local friend saved me from a hard choice. One of TrainerA’s students (she’s a member of the University of Washington Equestrian Team and just recently started leasing Boston!) had a spare pair of TuffRider paddock boots and Ariat half chaps.
The paddock boots have only been used a few times, so they’re still pretty stiff. With how much riding I do they’re bound to loosen up in no time, though. (Or at least I hope that’s how it goes, my lower leg is super wobbly in them right now 😅). Honestly, I’m just so thankful to have something to ride in at all!
In the mean time, my broken pair of Donatello field boots have taken up residence in the hatch of my car. SellerH gave me the name of a shop up north that will replace the zippers in them at a more than reasonable price, I just have to find the time to make the journey up there!