Well, the good news is that the Donatello zip up this time. The bad news is that the only thing worse than having a pair of boots that you know don’t fit is having a pair of boots that sort-of fit. 🙁
My biggest fear when I ordered the plus size Donatello was that I would sacrifice the fit in the rest of the boot for a wide enough calf size to go around my chunky (read MUSCULAR) legs. While the foot still fits well, this pair is pretty loose in the ankle—enough so that if I lift the top of my foot up there’s an inch or so between my heel and the sole of the shoe. They’re a little tall (they added 1/2″ to the height in the plus size and it’s just enough to make them uncomfortable) and the top of the boot doesn’t taper in from the wide calf as much as I need it to, so it’s very loose around my knee, too.
I can think of a few ways to improve them. The laces are loose elastic right now (I think the ankles would be a tighter fit if they had real laces that I could adjust) and a pair of heel lifts might alleviate the height problem. On the other hand, though, I don’t think there’s any good way to fix the width at the top of the Donatello and I don’t want to make any permanent changes on a pair of boots that I might end up sending back to SmartPak for a refund.
It’s twice as discouraging because these are the only boots I’ve found that will fit my calves (these ones are 16″, though I could probably go 1/4″ smaller), so it looks like the only way I’m going to get a better fit is to spend beaucoup bucks for a custom pair. At this point I’m having trouble accepting a $300 pair of Donatello field boots that have the same amount of problems as the $90 pair of synthetic boots I’m wearing now. But at the same time, I know the synthetic boots are too tight and that they’re hampering my riding…
Looks like I’ll have to wait until Monday to have The Trainer take a look and tell me whether these plus size Donatello are worth keeping or if I’m doomed to spend $1200 on custom boots at some point in the future.