Ariat Is the Dopest Boot Company You’ve Never Heard Of
Unless you’re an actual cowboy, in which case you definitely have
As a person obsessed with footwear to the point that my wife frequently finds herself kicking sneakers/oxfords/boots/slippers out of her path and cursing my name with a volume and fervor best described as “Stalinesque,” it’s pretty rare for a boot brand that I’ve never heard of to come across my desk — rarer still, one that has been around for damn near three decades and named for arguably the most famous steed of all time.
However, in the case of Ariat (see: latter half of “Secretariat”), I felt I could give myself a bit of a pass being that the root of their offering is meant for people who spend a great deal of time astride a horse. I’m certainly not anti-horse, but as a resident of downtown Manhattan, Bojack is about as close as I normally get.
Ariat’s founder Beth Cross grew up on a working horse farm in Pennsylvania, and when she started the company in 1993, she sought to build boots for horse-y folks who consistently beat the shit out of their footwear: think ranch hands, competitive equestrians and professional bull riders (all of whom Ariat counts as core customers, it bears noting). Cross worked with biomechanical research groups and testing labs to integrate advanced tech that makes Ariat’s boots comfier and more durable; many of their styles take up to 150 steps to make. Long story short, Cross & Co. are not screwing around.
All this being said, it’s understandable that a great many of us just don’t have a place for a pair of cowboy boots in our closets. Which is why I was pleased to learn that Ariat created a stylish lifestyle line dubbed Two24 (referencing Secretariat’s Triple Crown-winning time of 2:24) that leverages their ace craftsmanship on styles that are a lot more appropriate for city streets and offices.
Presuming, of course, that we all get to return to those at some point in the future, here are a few of my favorite styles to keep your eye on — all Goodyear-welted, built from top-shelf skins and sporting a fun tricolor heel stitch symbolizing Secretariat’s Triple Crown title:
A slick zippered ankle boot available in three leathers and two different suedes, perfect with slim jeans and a tee.
A five-hole/two-hook cap toe with decidedly western lines, our favorite fabrication being Ariat’s richly-textured bison leather.
Ariat calls this style “a modern twist on the classic paddock style,” which we’re gonna go ahead and translate to “stonewashed leather makes traditionally poncy English riding boot look hard as shit.”
A streetwear-vibey lace-up featuring camo Horween leather (paging Nick Wooster), a Vibram outsole and a handy rear zipper for easy in/out.
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