The other day I was in a meeting at work and looked down at my little black leather flats with the bows on top. They are my favorite pair, and I wear them everywhere! Oh, and did I mention that they are NIKEAIR?
Anyway, upon inspection, the bows had a little dust on them. I tried not to call too much attention to them by staring, but did discretely turn my foot to the side to reassure myself they were just a little dusty on the toes. Well, to my surprise, they had a fine coating of dust all over and were coated in an even layer of mud and manure. Was I mortified? No, more like disappointed. Because I can’t even count how many times this has happened to me.
Unrealistically clean fashion equestrian! This does not happen in real life! Photo courtesy of Ralph Lauren via google images. Saddle bag fanny pack coin purse thing??…
I love visiting the barn before work, but I have very little time to do so, so I usually just go in my work clothes and practice haltering my pony and doing fun stuff instead of riding. So I thought that I had a good thing going, kind of an equestrian chic style like the lady, above. But I was really just going to work looking like a complete mess.
Ariat Paragon boots! I got this photo from buckle.com, but I bought the boots from Western Ways in Lynchburg, VA. You can learn more about Western Ways, my absolute favorite local tack shop, here!
This is why I invested in my AMAZING Ariat Paragon boots, November 2015, and have now had them for 5 months! They go with dresses or pants, you can dress them up or down, and they work for most seasons. Best of all they are BROWN! So I can pretend like there’s not dust and … well… other things… on them. You can get the up close and personal look on Ariat’s website. Don’t worry, it will open up in a new tab. To be honest, I don’t think this picture does them justice. The darker brown part is much richer, and the leather looks much nicer. You can see a more accurate photo if you go the Ariat website.
Me at the tack store! I can’t take credit for the meme, but it was just so very accurate.
I love the two-tone leather! Interestingly, it was the one thing I didn’t like about the boots when I first saw them. I thought that the two-tone was kind of dumb, and the weird “shin protection” arc at the top was extra extra dumb. But when I tried them on, I had a complete change of heart. I actually bought them on the spot five minutes before the store closed! To be honest, I think I weirded out the lady that was helping me with my “I’ll take it!!” style theatrical love-at-first-wear purchasing.
How they look with literally no polish, newness, cleanness nor conditioner.
I love the cute stitching!
Since that day, I have received constant compliments specifically about the two-tone leather, and I like that it almost gives you that cute equestrian black/brown look but isn’t quite there all the way. I find that I can still wear black things with these boots, and it’s not weird because of the dark brown kind of normalizing the darkness of the black. And I like that they aren’t black/brown boots, because I find those beautiful but also confusing as far as what colors to pair with them. Maybe I am just a little challenged in that department.
From left: Quasi leather/fabric interior. I don’t know what this material is; The heel, up close and personal; a view from the side: how the leather wears and wrinkles. Keep in mind, these polish up so nicely, this is them at their absolutely worst.
The darker leather is distressed on the top, which at first I wasn’t sure I liked. Now I really enjoy it, because it makes them a tad more casual, but still completely appropriate for more formal affairs, such as work! the dark leather on the bottom is perfect and lovely – smooth and polishable, just like I want a good boot to be! the dark leather on the heel has an Ariat stamp, which I find very satisfying so that I can feel like even when I am fashionable, I am still secretly just being horsey – because I am a bottomless pit of horseyness. The heel is a brushed composite material, I think. It’s cute, chill, and just out of the way.
The Paragon boot has a good leather foot, but the higher you go, the more it seems like it’s made of really thin leather with a fabric-esque backing. I noticed that the top of the boot has some frays on it, now, but these are easy enough to clean up and are in no way threatening the integrity of the boot. The thinner leather is actually what makes it so easy to break in, I think, and believe me, it still holds up just fine. There’s a cute leather piping around the top that I didn’t even notice until 5 months after I bough them.
I have a nice amount of wiggle room in the leg for tucking in pants, using wooly socks, breathability, and barn isle dancing! Or whatever you like to use your wiggle room for. Beware – wiggle room in your boots is not your friend when you are carrying hay in your arms. Do this at your own risk.
The boots have pull-up straps on either side with little metal buttons to keep them in place. The stitching on this part of the boot is less than ideal, but the pull up part of the boot I never use anyway.
Bickmore Bick 4 bought from Western Ways. Sorry about the sideways picture.
The Paragon boot, which is considered a “fashion boot,” cleans up very nicely when you put a little leather conditioner on it! I personally use Bick 4. I love this leather conditioner because it doesn’t darken the leather, really, but gives it just the right amount of hydration to give it a polished look. A big thank you, again, to Western Ways, who told me about this product! Put it on evenly and squirt it out on a rag and then apply the conditioner with the rag to ensure even conditioning all over! I have squirted it directly on the boot, before, and it was totally fine, but that is not best practice. Do not condition these boots without cleaning them, first. I did find that while the foot part absorbed conditioner with ease, the shaft of the boot was more of a struggle. Because the leather is ever so slightly wrinkly, you really have to get in there to make sure you get an even conditioning. Also I get bored with having to be so attentive as I near the top. They take a little more dedication to get through conditioning all the way, but it’s easy, I am just really lazy.
Now if you clean it with a lot of water, you might freak out a little bit, because this will absorb into the leather and darken it, temporarily. I like to use just a damp rag to get the dirt off and then dry it before I put on the conditioner. I wouldn’t describe these boots as temperamental, though, by any means. I would also highly recommend water proofing these boots, because they did get some water damage when I got them pretty wet at the barn, one night, and didn’t bother to take care of them afterward. You can barely see the damage, it’s right where the leather meets the sole, but I am not sure how to fix it, now.
The toe polishes up really well!! I love how you can get a nice shine, there! Equisatisfaction♥
I have wider feet, and usually boots take me a little while to break in, width-wise. I found that this boot didn’t even need breaking in! It was just ready to go! The height is perfect for fashion use. They don’t look overbearing with a cute dress, but they are not completely perfect for use as “alternative tall boots.” They don’t come all the way up to my knee, but they come close. I am 5’1. If I ride in these boots, I ride bareback, because the soles have absolutely no tread (also they don’t cling to your leg shape so there’s that, too). They do provide a little extra protection over your jeans on a bareback ride, so they’re nice for that “I wanna graze my pony in her halter and just do nothing” kind of afternoon.
Grazing sweet Comfort with my best friend taking pics!! A big thank you to her!!
Grazing comfort yesterday afternoon in my Paragon boots and her pretty new halter and lead rope from tractor supply!
All in all I love my Paragon Ariat boots. They are so pretty and go with a million different outfits! I like that they have a simplistic, classy appeal. A really nice alternative to cowgirl boots and “equestrian” boots that aren’t made by equestrian people. I also like that they don’t have really annoying random non-leather materials on them like elastic and plastic etc like the tall boots at department stores. Now are these boots your go-to for mucking or traipsing through the pasture in the rain? Absolutely NOT! But they are perfect for the girl who is driving down the road and has to leap out of the car to go inspect a pony staring adorably at her from over the fence, or the girl that likes to go visit her pony during her lunch break and enjoy a sandwich in the pasture! 🙂
Comfort under a rainbow after a summer rain!