Description: The lightweight, lace-up Terrain boots, part of Ariat’s Endurance Collection, sport full-grain leather and Cordura uppers with a moisture-wicking lining. Ariat’s exclusive ATS technology and a composite-fiber forked shank combine with a Duratread outsole for stability, traction and comfort. Ladies’ model (tested) available in six colors and sizes 4 to 11; men’s available in four colors and sizes 7 to 13.
The coordinating Terrain Half Chaps feature nubuck leather inner panels for grip and a lightweight mesh outer leg. A reinforced gore side panel plus an elasticized snap closure at the foot enhance comfort and fit. Reflective piping increases visibility. A heavy-duty Vislon zipper holds it all securely together. Unisex. Available in black, taupe, and chocolate, in sizes from XS to XL.
The test: The boots and half chaps were tested by equine journalist and lifelong equestrian Sushil Dulai Wenholz. “I was curious to see how this system would compare to what I usually ride in — Ariat paddock boots that offer a couple inches more shaft height than the Terrain, and suede half chaps with a wide elastic panel down the back,” she says.
“I tested these boots riding in both an English and Western saddle, as well as walking on every type of terrain I could find, from deep arena dirt to uneven fields, mid-thaw slush and mud, concrete and a rocky parking lot,” Wenholz says. “And I wore them for hours on end — riding, walking, standing, and driving.”
“I was impressed right away with how comfortable the boots were. No break-in needed!” she reports. “The shorter, four-inch shaft gave me all the ankle support I get from my taller paddock boots, both in the saddle and out. Plus, the padded collar provided extra comfort.
“I also felt that these soles provided a touch more stability in the stirrups and handled varied terrain much like a hiking boot. And while these boots aren’t billed as waterproof or water-resistant, they stayed dry when I walked through short stretches of early-spring snow and shallow puddles.”
“I found the half chaps a touch snugger around my calf than the ones I usually wear, but I suspect the elasticized gore will stretch a little with longer use,” Wenholz continues. “I felt that the nubuck inner panel helped keep my leg in position. I was concerned about the toughness of the mesh outer panel, but it held up perfectly, even through dried brush and weeds. The bottom-to-top zipper was easy to use and stayed put through riding and long walking.”
“A note on size: Although I measured my calf several times and came up as a medium on the size charts for the half chaps, I really needed (and ended up testing) a large. The boots’ size, too, wasn’t what I had anticipated, though they fit great. My recommendation — if at all possible, try before you buy. But, bottom line, I don’t think you’d regret this purchase.”
Cost: $74.95 (boots), $84.95 (half chaps).
Contact: Ariat International, Inc., (800) 899-8141; www.ariat.com.