You may remember previously I reviewed the Ariat Pro Baby Flames and the Troxel Low Rider Dakota on the blog. I bought them both last summer and felt I should do an update on these items since I use/used them so often.
Good news first? The Troxel has surpassed my expectations. As someone who spent several years riding without a helmet, I dreaded actually wearing one because I remembered being so hot when wearing my old helmet, which was also a Troxel. Since I so seldom show, a predominantly black helmet wasn’t a selling point. I looked for one based on two things: ventilation and being low profile. Guys. I love my helmet. I wear it every time I ride (unless I’m dumb and tie Paige’s lead rope to the halter in the far field and spontaneously ride her into the barn) and haven’t felt too warm or that my head was confined at all. Love it. It looks brand new still and I haven’t babied it. It lives in my Stanley trunk with other items that I like to keep creepycrawlies out of and stays nice and clean in there. I have a small head as well, and the small fits wonderfully and doesn’t look huge on me.
The other item that I reviewed back last summer were the Ariat Pro Baby Flames. Lord these boots were a trainwreck. First, as I mentioned in my initial review, I remain dumbfounded that they lined them with fleece. My calves were NOT thrilled with this when it started to warm up this summer. The big wth moment came when the top of the right boot busted open. I had no words. They weren’t even a year old at this point, and while I’ve had a lot of boots bust, NEVER over the top of my foot. So I emailed Ariat and whined, to which they referred me to the vendor, State Line Tack. So I emailed them and whined. Crickets.
So, naturally, I posted on their facebook page and they got back to me. I was put in touch with someone in customer service and they agreed that I could get my money back for them, but not the shipping and I’d have to mail them back to them. I was like, I’ve been wearing them for 9 months, but sure, here, you can haz. So I got my money back. Overall A+ for that experience. The quality of the boots was not what I expected though, so when they offered to send me another pair or my money, the choice was obvious. The fact that they broke after 9 months of use without getting wet or muddy (I wore my Mucks when it was gross out) solidified my interest in veering away from Ariat completely.
So after all of that, I still needed new boots because I was back wearing my old Ariats (you know, the ones I bought for Copper’s first show in 2008…) and while they worked fine initially, I remembered why I bought new boots…a) the gaping hole in the side, where mine normally bust, and b) my toes go numb if I wear them too long. So I was back to boot shopping.
Long story short, I ended up with these Justins that I bought on facebook. Yep, there is a special group for the buying and selling of cowboy boots. So I paid $65 for a new in box pair that go for $92 on Amazon. Score. Except when I got them in they were too small. Well. Kind of. Apparently my feet were swollen when I tried them on initially so after pouting and trying on every boot in my size at Tractor Supply, I tried them on again the next day earlier in the day. They fit great. Magic. Apparently when I sit for long periods of time (you know, like I do daily at work) my feet swell and my boots are uncomfortable for the first few minutes.
Part of my routine during this time of year when it is abysmally dark out is that I bring a gym bag with barn clothes to work to change into so I can go straight from work instead of burning the 15 minutes to run home and change (yes, my commute is amazing compared to you urban riders). So I bring my boots to work with me every day, and most days, my feet are a little swollen when I initially slip them on, but they go back to normal size well before I get to the car to drive to the barn. I’ve been wearing them daily (minus when muddy/wet because I wear my muck boots) to the barn since the end of October and think they were a solid choice, especially for the price. Obviously I won’t be able to return these, but for the price, I’m fine with that. 😉
So, to summarize:
- Helmet choice=awesome.
- Boot choice=fail.
- 2nd boot choice= cheap, so far so good.