June 2, 2017

The Cowboy Boot Experiment: Part 2 - Product Review: Ariat Probaby Boots

Yesterday I covered the social part of my cowboy boot experiment.  Today I'll cover the actual boots, which I've worn for five months at this point.

Real cowboy boots have dirt on them that isn't cleaned before a review.

You all know I'm a huge Ariat fan.  They're reasonably priced, and they will last you a long time if you just take care of them.  It drives me crazy to read reviews and forum posts in which people lament Ariat's poor quality...but then admit to never having cleaned or conditioned their boots.  Seriously?  That's like complaining about your car's engine was poor quality because it broke down early, but you've never changed the oil!

All of these boots and half chaps are Ariat.  Tall boots are 5 years old, paddock boots are 6 years old, half chaps are 6 years old.

Anyway, I spent a lot of time researching the various options available to me, and ended up with the Ariat Probabys.  I didn't want something that screamed "just walked off the set of a Western", but I did want something classic looking and pretty.  Enter the Ariat Probaby boots - which Ariat itself describes as "fresh, with a hint of old school."

At the point these photos were taken, I have:
- Given many baths in these
- Powerwashed the roof of my trailer wearing these
- Worn them to a wedding
- Worn them to the post office, Target, Walmart and Rural King
- Driven my car in them
- Walked the dogs in them
- Worn them several times a week for five months

Things I Like:
- The stitching.  It's so pretty.  And I was so worried that abusing these boots/the subsequent cleaning would lead to discoloration of the stitching.  So far, it hasn't affected it at all.

- Related: the colors.  The inside of the boots (which are usually visible) are a dreamy light blue that's repeated in the stitching and the stars on the pull-tabs.  It's gorgeous against this leather color.

- The leather quality.  I didn't want this to be a half-baked review.  I have put these boots through the wringer the last few months, and the leather is getting broken in, but still basically looks new.  And it looks very new after a cleaning.

The uppers have not been conditioned yet, for a look look at how they fare with minimal care.

- The familiar Ariat comfort and fit.  On the outside, these are cowboy boots.  On the inside, they have the same ATS footbed as my beloved Performer IV paddock boots.  BUT, for me, they are much more comfortable for long-duration wear compared to my paddock boots, which give me shin splits due to the big heel-toe drop.  These have a very minimal heel-toe drop and don't give me shin splints.

- My all-time favorite boot repair company, NuShoe, completely redoes these the same as they do my Ariat paddock and tall boots, which effectively means you can get twice (or more) the lifespan out of the same boot for an extra $80.

- The waterproofing.  I have seriously soaked these things, even before I mink oiled them, and my feet stayed dry.  I did mink oil the feet before the wedding, because I knew it would be muddy. which is why the feet appear slightly darker than the shaft in the photos you see here.

Things I Don't Like
- The annoyingly loud sole branding.  I find it tacky and incongruous with the rest of the boot.

- The weight.  They are not as heavy as I expected, but my gait is definitely different while wearing them.  I pick my feet up just a bit higher and drag my heel in them, which is already obvious from the heel wear patterns.  I will say my paddock boots show wear in the same location.

Neutral Issues You Should Be Aware Of
- The foot stretches a lot.  My paddock boots did the same thing.  When you first get them, it won't be uncomfortable, but it will feel snug around the foot (not the toes).  The leather will gradually form to your foot shape and relax.

Bottom line: If you want an "around the barn" boot that can transition from barn to shopping to weddings, don't rule out cowboy boots.  I was initially very skeptical that I would like them, but I find myself wearing them constantly now.

What: Ariat Probaby Western Boots
Price: Currently $119.95 at Russells Western Wear
Sizes: Women's 6-11 with B (medium) and C (wide) widths available


  1. I have several pairs of the fatbabys (terrible name, ick), and they seem way more clunky looking than these. Might have to shop for some probabys! I love those stars and the colored stitching! 😍

  2. When I got my cowboy boots (not ariat, but same concept), I was told to get them basically too small in the foot and then let them break in to me. It was hideously painful at first, but I wore them a ton and yeah, now they're quite comfortable.

  3. I typically wear a 6.5, but my ariat tall boots are size 6 and they broke in to be the perfect size. Would you suggest doing the same thing with cowboy boots?

  4. Point for Texas in this department - it's SO NORMAL to have boots even if you don't do anything equestrian. I have two pairs of Ariats -- workman like boots and "fancy" boots. I like them better than any other brand in that price range, and they clean up great.

  5. Love that style of boot - I find those boots a smidge narrow for my feet, so I like Justins. Same style/look though and I wear them all the time. I so wish I lived somewhere where it was normal to wear boots all the time! I get weird looks here wearing them anywhere but at a horse show or the barn!

  6. They are super cute! Glad they've gotten a lot of wear :)