Welcome to EN’s Product Review series! Who doesn’t love shopping, especially when the object of your search is new gear for yourself or your horse? As an enthusiast of all products equine, I LOVE trying out new gear. Please join me as I narrate my personal journey of trying out all of the products featured. While I will make no recommendations, I hope you have fun reading about my many adventures of trying new products, and that hearing about my personal experiences helps you on your own quest for new gear. Go Shopping.
There’s something about getting dressed up to go out…just a special kind of feeling that it evokes. Sure, I may take
forever a little longer then usual to pick out the perfect outfit. And I may spend some extra time making sure that my makeup looks flawless. For the finishing touch, I probably even stop long enough to add some jewelry and even coordinate my accessories before heading out the door.
I’m so used to just throwing on a pair of breeches and bundling up to go out to the barn this time of the year, that I just look for a chance to break the routine. And adding a bit of glam to an otherwise dull and dreary winter season usually does the trick. The secret to a truly great ‘fancy’ look is being able to balance fashion with function.
Sounds contradictory, I know – but being uncomfortable while totally rocking a look ruins the fashion statement. At least for me. So fancy. Plus function. I can guess what you might be thinking…does it really exist? And if so, how on earth can it be discovered? I’ll tell you that it’s not easy.
My closet is home to a collection of shoes of all kinds – flats, boots, heels, and a couple pairs of sneakers. This time of year, I almost exclusively grab a pair of boots each day. But one of my favorite pairs of peep toe strappy pumps are such because I can wear them without my feet completely hating me at the end of the day. That pair is for keeps.
While elusive, function combined with fashion IS possible. Just a while back, my interest was piqued when I head that Ariat was set to release a redesigned Monaco boot. So when the chance arose for me to try out a pair of the brand new Monaco Stretch boots for myself, I may have more then just a little excited.
The Monaco boot has long been known as Ariat’s elegant tall boot, which helped to create a show ring ready look…because it’s a stylish boot that is just meant to be seen. And the Monaco Stretch provides a new twist on a classic boot, bringing both an updated style and functionality to the table…er, stirrups. Observe.
It all starts out with the name–the Monaco Stretch. The updated Monaco boots are crafted out of soft, supple French calf leather. And they also include a stretch leather panel in their design, which helps to provide a more custom-like fit. To continue on with the concept, the boots also feature a mesh-like stretch lining in the inside as well.
The Monaco Stretch boots also boast a contoured ankle, that is coupled with a soft leather instep area. The combination of the two provides for a comfortable fit, while bringing a lovely appearance to the profile of the boot. A squared toe, along with a high Spanish topline also add to the classic look to the boots. And to finish things off, the leather outsole includes a Duratread foot overlay to help it last.
But one of the features that I completely dote on adds an extra dash of function to the pretty face of the Monaco Stretch boots. If you recall, I had the chance to try out the Volant tall boots from Ariat – and perhaps my favorite feature of all was the grippy leather of the inner side of the calf. It was a completely welcome surprise when I first learned that the Monaco Stretch boots also boast a similar oiled calf leather inner that provides that same terrific grip and durability.
When the Monaco Stretch boots arrived, I was pretty eager to pull them out of the box to check them out. And I was a bit taken aback when I did – the quality of the leather and craftsmanship was so striking that my gut reaction was that they were simply too lovely to ride in. But then I remembered the grippy oiled leather of the inner calf, and pushed that notion right out of my mind.
The leather of the Monaco Stretch boots felt smooth and very soft to the touch…and they smelled heavenly. One aroma that I will never (ever) tire of is the smell of a new pair of leather boots. I also noticed the leather outsole – I like the shiny, classic look of the outsole and the fact that it has been updated so that the section resides in the arch of the foot. The toe and heel of the boot have the appearance of a traditional boot – which should hopefully help it hold up to wear well over time.
As I tried on the boots for the first time, I found that the full length zipper functioned well and felt substantial to me. While pulling the zipper upwards, I felt the leather stretch and contour to my leg…leaving me with the feeling of a nice and close custom-like fit. The contoured ankle also felt terrific – from right out the box (and onto my leg), I was also to have full flexion of my ankle. I felt as though I quite literally needed no on the ground break-in time for the ankle to before hopping up in the saddle.
In the saddle, I found that the boots felt nice and comfortable on my legs. The close and contoured fit helped me to feel like I didn’t have extra bulk between my legs and the saddle, which I felt gave me better control. And the oiled calf leather on the inner side of my legs gave me extra grip on the saddle, which I flat out love (and I don’t say that lightly). To be perfectly candid, I feel like the extra grip has me quite spoiled.
Even after a ride, the Monaco Stretch boots un-zip quite nicely. There is an extra leather panel that lines the inside of the zipper along the back of the ankle, and to help the zipper come down smoothly, I slip my finger inside behind my ankle to help it travel smoothly. And after I’ve taken them off, I insert the boot trees that they came with in order to store them.
While the Monaco Stretch boots have an oh-so-lovely appearance to them, there are also some additional style options to make them extra fabulous looking. The pair that I’ve been riding in also feature a striking patent leather top, which I simply adore. In fact, the first time I saw a pair of Monacos featuring the patent leather top, I might have freaked out. Just a little.
The Monaco Stretch boots from Ariat have a more budget-friendly price tag then the original model, and they retail for $730. You can check them out for yourself here.
Go Fabulously Elegant (& Grippy) Boots. Go Ariat. Go Eventing.