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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.
Even better, the recent westernwear trend has a vice grip on the sartorial landscape at resent, meaning you won’t look out of place rocking a pair of rugged work boots or stylish cowboy boots from Ariats myriad offerings. In turn, this means that there’s officially zero reason not to cop the pair you’ve had your eyes on.
To help you on your path to westernwear enlightenment, here are a few of my favorite styles to keep your eye on — all impeccably crafted, built from top-shelf skins and sporting that classic Ariat western style.
A slick dress boot available in three leathers, perfect with slim jeans and a tee.
A handsome western boot with classic styling and a durable rubber outsole, the Wide Western Boot combines innovative cushioning and that classic cowboy boot style for a perfect western vibe.
If a workboot and a chelsea spawned, we can only imagine it’d look something like the Midtown Rambler. A Duratread sole and handsome leather ensure it’s as versatile a boot as they come.
In case you couldn’t tell, the Recon Lace Boot is ready to work. We’d have thought that it’s oil- and slip-resistant PU sole, double speed hooks and 4LR lightweight stabilizing shank for support might have given it away, but hey.
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