Riding horses has, among other weird things, taught me to appreciate good quality leather and construction. The leather on my Philippe Fontaine Royan is positively delicious and don't even get me started on my show boots, or my Courbette Vision, which will, I am convinced, be in use long after I am too old to post the trot. A love for good quality tack is one thing... but my addiction to nice leather has leaked over into my "civilian" life.
My first pair of "Country boots" as they're termed was a pair of Dublin River boots, and my experience has been relatively positive with them. They have a nice, wide foot bed and I've never had a problem getting my feet in and out of them. I wear them with wool socks and skinny jeans, and get endless complements while my feet stay warm and dry.
I used my "Dubs" for: slogging through snow to college classes, as "every day" boots to wear around campus, to do quick runs to the barn, as my "grooming boots" before I changed into my riding boots, as rain boots and, of course, as fashion wear pretty much any time I'm not in the tack at horse shows.
These boots even made the journey with me to London, England to study abroad:
My first pair of Dublin River boots bit the dust (the heel cup broke in to pieces) after the London trip, and while I had them sewn to repair and cover the worn through and now broken heel, I replaced them with another pair. The second pair has been telling me lately that they're about to go, as well; they have lasted me about 2 years a pair when in regular wear.
My overall opinion on the Dublins is that they would probably work better for someone with wider heels - my heels are quite narrow, and I have long, narrow, flat feet. The heels seem to consistently develop holes even when the boots themselves feel snug and I don't notice them sliding on my feet or heels. These boots are also susceptible to damp feet, which I think is what helps the lining come loose to begin with, and then the internal wearing begins. They are, all in all, a good investment for consistent, casual wear, but both wore through and began to look dry and began cracking (even with consistent use of Lederbalsam and cleaning) around the 2 year mark.
This, of course, left me with a pickle: my boots are in the beginnings of death throes and I'm not sure I want to invest in another pair and watch then do the same thing.
I immediately began daydreaming about the Black and Chestnut Dubarry Galways; and then immediately almost vomited from the price. Currently, I use my country boots in the summers for horse shows (4 max a year) and for casual Friday wear in the fall, winter, and chilly spring at the office. Paying 500$ for a pair of boots that isn't used every day isn't something I can imagine myself affording any time soon.
So I began looking at my options and I'm excited to say that I made a decision: the Ovation Kenna boots!
These boots were my Christmas gift to myself this year, and I look forward to reviewing them for you guys soon. I tried on the Caelin boots (black with plaid wool legs) and the Maree boots and found them both to run about where I expected:
My Dublins are 8.5s, or 40's. The 40's in both Ovation boots fit me the best, even though they say that a 40 is a size 9. The footbed seemed narrower than the Dublins, and the foot itself was thicker and more rigid.
I'll put them to the pavement doing my Christmas shopping and throughout this winter and will get a review going soon - hopefully if you are considering a pair, my review and updates will help you decide.