Product Review: TuffRider Tundra Fleece Lined Winter Boots

For me, winter boots are an absolute necessity.  My summer half chaps fit so close, I can only fit a pair of tights and the panty hose-thin Ovation slimliner socks underneath them, so if it's 50 degrees or cooler, you'll find me in winter boots.

Previously, I had a pair of TuffRider's more workmanlike winter boot, and they were passable, if ugly.  They held up for three years of doing 8 hours of stalls on Sundays and riding four days a week.  I got rid of them because they were starting to wear out, and because I got a great deal on their more socially acceptable cousins, the TuffRider Tundra Fleece Lined Tall Boot.


Price from most manufacturers: $89.95
What I paid: $39.95

Guys, these are so much of a "do not buy" I almost don't even want to review them.  Don't buy them, period.  Even if you find them for $10, they are not worth it.

Pros:
- Reasonably warm
- Classy enough that I wore them for the schooling show
- Nice wide footbed
- Great fit through the calf
- Actually are possible to get clean, unlike my other TuffRiders.  Once those things turned brown, they stayed brown no matter what you cleaned them with.


Cons:
- Broke down almost immediately
- Now my feet get wet
- Do not buy
Left foot

If they could somehow make these things even the tiniest bit durable, they would be a slam dunk winner for the price point.  But I had cracks form on the uppers behind the toes within about two weeks of wearing them.  As I write this, having worn them for four months, there are giant gaping holes behind my toes where the material has completely broken down and is actually gone in one place.  I'm nursing them through the last month in which I need them, but they'll definitely have to be replaced next season.

Right foot.  This is a hole the size of a quarter.  There's no plastic left there, just cloth.  That made tromping through 4" of snow two weeks ago a very wet and unpleasant experience.

Mind you, I'm no longer doing stalls.  I wear these things for four trips to the barn per week, in which I drive 45 minutes, groom/tack/ride/untack for an hour and a half, and drive 45 minutes home.  My boots should last multiple seasons at that rate.

The material pretty much disintegrates before your eyes.
Finally, to add insult to injury, the zipper doesn't stay up:


The workmanlike Tuffrider winter boots had a tab to keep the zipper in place, but these just rely on the zipper itself, so it slides down constantly.

So, there's not a whole lot more that needs to be said about them.  I'm far from the only reviewer to have this problem, it seems to be a systemic issue with this boot.  It's a waste of your money, look elsewhere!

And, I'm accepting suggestions for my next pair of winter boots. Must not be ridiculously expensive, must be designed for riding, and must be fairly slim through the calf and ankle.  Go!

20 comments:

  1. These, hands down: http://www.doversaddlery.com/ariat-bromont-tall-winter-boot/p/X1-38725/

    I'm assuming they fall into the "pricey" category (they did for me, considering they're just for winter!) but keep an eye out for any sales because I'm telling you they are worth it. My regular boots broke this year right as I was putting them on, so my BO offered me these for the day. It was around 30 degrees and sunny that day. I put them on and was blown away by how much they felt like regular boots.... None of the huge amounts of fabric and "clunk" I was used to with winter boots. Not only did they feel fantastic, my feet were CLAMMY with these on. I typically wear regular boots all winter long, so don't necessarily have a problem with cold toes, but these clearly made a big difference in the warmth of my foot. If I didn't have to run out and replace my existing boots that day I would have gone out and bought those!

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    Replies
    1. I don't mind paying a higher price if they'll last, I tend to look at things in terms of cost-per-wear, and I have considered them, my trainer has them, but I need to tromp through mud and snow as well, so I'd rather have something multipurpose. They're on the list though, I've heard nothing but good things about them.

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    2. Just use a good leather wax or mink oil on them and you'll be fine. I tromp through the mud in my leather boots all the time, and as long as I keep up with their treatment they stay gorgeous. For daily care, I wipe them down when I wipe down my bridle. One stop care.

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    3. +1 to these. I've owned the previous incarnation of these for...6 years now? Apart from some wear and tear around the velcro, they've held up beautifully. (For reference, the previous version was called the Bromont and had very similar construction to above, but looks more like this other one they offer: http://www.doversaddlery.com/ariat-extrm-h20-inslt-tall-bt/p/X1-380710/)

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    4. Noted, those look like a good option. I'm familiar with the Bromonts.

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  2. WOW that is a TERRIBLE product! I can't believe they started breaking after 2 weeks! Did you get in touch with Tuff Rider about it? I'm sure they'd want to know!

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    Replies
    1. I haven't, but that's a good idea!

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  3. Holy cow, that has to be the fastest I've ever seen boots of any type or price break down. Almost impressive. I don't need winter boots anymore, but I really wanted to like them from the first picture, they looked all warm with the fleece lining.

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    Replies
    1. Same here! Yeah, I was shocked. They seriously had a single digit number of rides on them by the time the cracks formed.

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  4. I HATE it when I buy stuff and it craps out on me so quickly... I'm glad they were not a big ticket item, at least. I'd put the Ariat Brossard on your list to try - I got mine from Amazon Prime, but the new black ones (I have the purpleygrey color) are quite stylish and they are WARM (I have frostbite damage in my feet from other boots. Never had an even near miss with these, including in -32 below winter weather from a few years back). Plus the ankle gusset keeps your feet nice and dry in wet snow/mud/etc. Sometimes it makes them a bit tough to unzip but it's totally worth it for warm feet. My greypurple ones have a 1" tab of fabric around the top, including on the inside of my leg which has really worn this year. I'm planning to have my leather guy cover it with leather/suede and I think I'll get many more years out of them - mine are too short so I think that area gets a lot of wear it's not supposed to.

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  5. I have totally thought about pulling the trigger on these, but my previous experiences with shoddy plastics/rubbers in cold/wet conditions has scared me away.

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  6. What the actual F?!?!? I have no helpful suggestions since, as long as they are dry, my feet never get cold, but wow-just wow...

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  7. Yikes, that is NOT good! I would definitely contact TuffRider about it, because no boot should break down that quickly!

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    Replies
    1. I hadn't considered it before you and Allison suggested it but I might now.

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  8. Ugh- you gotta hate when things are built so crappily.

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  9. Wow, that's impressive, and not in a good way. I hope you find another pair that you love and that actually hold up to "normal" wear!

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  10. Wow... now that's bad!
    Thanks for the heads up!

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  11. That's horrible! I can't believe that they broke down that quickly :-(

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  12. I adore my Stella Polaris boots by Mountain Horse. They are more clunky but I slosh through everything in them. I don't find it hard to ride at all. I use them for barn chores and riding. I've gotten two years out of them so far (and I'm a pansy about temps so anything below 50 they get used)

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