Monday, November 14, 2011

Ariat? Wolverine? Boot Review.


A couple of years ago I swapped out a miserable pair of Bates combat boots for a pair of Wolverine Wellingtons. The combat boots were hard to ride in, the sole delaminated and they trapped water; useless if you're planning on crossing soggy fields, creeks, or anywhere that involved them getting wet.

The Wolverines did well but they didn't have a lot of support, which I wanted for riding, so I invested in a pair of Ariat "Brown Bomber Heritage" crepe soled boots. Great support, thanks to their special, patented, sounds like a gimmick but maybe isn't, insole, and I thought they looked good too.

The plan was simple. Use the Wolverines for getting out in the field after rabbits, dove and low level hunting. Use the Ariats for riding.

Great plan; how did it work out? Two years into the experiment I have the result and I've got to admit I'm surprised. The Wolverines win. Why? 
Cheaper, waterproof, don't spread
Because they haven't spread, they're far more waterproof and they're cheaper. 

After a year, I found that the Ariats were becoming too wide to fit into English style stirrups. They had mystically grown by at least a centimeter. With Western stirrups, which are generally wider, it wasn't a problem, but with English? A disaster. If your boot gets caught in the stirrup and you have to get off the horse... well, who likes being dragged behind a charging animal.

Mad horse
Also, even in Texas, you're going to come across water when riding. Perhaps when you hose the animal down in the searing heat of the summer, or maybe when you get off at the stock tank for a bit of target practice and plinking. Whatever, the boots will get wet. The Ariats failed. They leaked and started to squelch with even a little exposure to the rare and valuable Texas water. Now, I really dislike a squelching boot and I don't like knowing that my feet can't get out of the stirrups if necessary, so it was back to the Wolverines.

After all this time, two years, I've found that they actually offer more support than the Ariats because they haven't spread. They're more waterproof and don't trap water, perhaps because they're unlined and, this is important for people on a budget, they're cheap.

At a little more than $70 I have a boot that works on horseback and is perfectly adequate for beating about the countryside. A great all round, inexpensive, durable boot. The Ariats are fine as far as they go; they look good, they're tough, the strange widening doesn't matter for Western style riding -- and I'll continue to use them for that, but in the end, the Wolverines are simply better bang for your buck. 

God knows we all need more of that.

Sorry Ariat.



The Suburban Bushwacker said...

That's a good looking pair of boots

LSP said...

Thanks Bushwacker.

They've held up pretty well - a little more expensive these days, but still only around $100 - cheap for a durable work boot.

Logan said...

I know this is an old post but I've a similar experience. I recently bought a pair of "waterproof" georgia wellington steel toes for $160 and while they were very comfortable they leaked right out of the box and the sole fell off after 5 months of normal use (mostly walking on concrete all day because I'm a mechanic). I got fed up and spotted a nice looking pair of wolverine raider wellingtons on sale for $65 at a local store and so far they blow the Georgia's out of the water. They're just as comfortable and seem to be tough as nails. They're not water proof but I've been able to cross several small streams without getting my feet wet which is more than I can say for the "waterproof" Georgia's. For the money there's no contest, I'm now a wolverine fan.

LSP said...

Interesting comment, Logan, because I've been considering buying a pair of Georgias -- you've talked me out of it!

The posted Wolverines are still going strong... What can I say, good cheap boot.

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T. Allan said...

I'm glad that I found this. I was just looking at these two boots, so thanks for the comparison.

LSP said...

Glad it helped, TA. Both good boots and I'm on my 2nd pair of both. Good luck!

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