Apparel Gear Riding

My First Paddock Boots in 20 Years (Ariat Heritage Review)

ariat-heritage-review
Written by Horse Rookie

When it comes to most paddock boots, I’m historically not a fan. They never fit me quite right, I worried about getting dirt and hay kicked up inside them, and I didn’t have any half chaps to make them workable for riding. So, for the past 20 years (probably more), I turned up my nose at those little ankle biters and reached for my tall field boots.

The Ariat Heritage Lacer II paddock boot turns everything I thought about paddock boots on its head (feet?). Unlike poorly made shoes that rub your ankles, cut off circulation, and literally fall apart at the seams, Heritage Lacers have earned their rightful place in my lineup of daily footwear.

ariat heritage lacer II boot

Click to see them at Amazon

This review walks you through this boot’s best qualities, including:

  • Comfort
  • Durability
  • Style
  • Breathability
  • Versatility

Plus, I mention a few of my other favorite Ariat products that I can’t live without!

Quick Look: Ariat Heritage Lacer Boots
  • 8/10
    Comfort - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Durability - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Fit - 8/10
  • 7.5/10
    Safety - 7.5/10
  • 7/10
    Design - 7/10
7.7/10

Summary

Ariat’s Heritage Lacer is a no-frill paddock boot that’s perfect for love trail riding, lessons, and schooling.

What We Love: 

  • Comfortable right out of the box
  • Classic design can be dressed up or down with your outfit
  • Durable construction holds up to long days at the barn

What We Don’t:

  • Tongue moves around because it isn’t tacked down
  • Sand can sneak in around the tongue in deep arenas

 

Ariat Heritage Review (Lacer II Paddock Boot)

As a recent paddock boot convert, I think it’s worth calling out a few key features of the Ariat Heritage Lacer II up front.

The Basics

  • ATS Technology® for extra shock absorption and stability
  • Moisture-wicking layer to keep your feet cool and dry
  • Heel stabilizer to (you guessed it) stabilize your heel
  • Gel-cushioned footbed for long days at the barn
  • Duratread Outsole so you don’t have to buy new boots every year
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Paired with vented Ariat half chaps, Heritage paddock boots are a great all-around summer choice.

Why They’re Worth It

I was worried about whether I’d like paddock boots after all these years. If I wasn’t going to wear them a lot, it wouldn’t be worth the investment.

Luckily, after a few days of breaking them in (not much required!), I found myself reaching for my Heritage Lacers more often than my beloved muckers or tall boots. Why?

COMFORT

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When I get home at the end of the day, my feet aren’t sore.

Equestrians know it’s rare that a “quick barn trip” turns out to be quick. My minimum roundtrip averages four hours — almost all of which is spent on my feet or riding. I need footwear that’s comfortable for long days with lots of walking.

Their cushioned footbed is so nice I didn’t even have to add inserts. My little piggies feel supported all day, and I don’t hobble around once I get home from sore feet.

Plus, they don’t rub my ankle bones!

Raw ankles was a big concern, as I’ve had that issue with new boots in the past. But, now several months in, I haven’t suffered any rubs from these paddock boots. #thankyoushoegods

Comfortable Cowboy Boots

DURABILITY

I don’t want to worry about tiptoeing around every piece of poo, scuffing my toe on the door lip to the tack room, or getting stepped on when my horse shifts his weight in the cross-ties.

My boots need to be tough enough to stand up to daily wear and tear for years.  

I’ve been delighted with the quality construction of these boots, especially when it comes to common problem areas like the sole, tongue stitching, and top edge of the shaft.

They’ve held up to shows, hard lessons, road walks, and more without showing signs of wear.

Ariat also makes a version of the Heritage Lacer for men. Learn more in our article about 9 Rookie Approved Horseback Riding Boots for Beginners.  

STYLE

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These boots have removable Western detailing.

Granted, fashion isn’t my top priority at the barn. But, it’s nice to be have a boot that is stylish enough to look great with a pair of bootleg jeans, skinny jeans, breeches, or even a skirt around town.

I especially love the (removable) western fringe accent over the toe.

The rugged leather finish also means the occasionally scuff and scratch only makes them look more stylish — and you can hardly see dirt and stains.

BREATHABILITY

Staying cool is a concern with all leather boots. I got my Heritage Lacers in the middle of summer, so they were put to the test right away.

ariat mesh half chaps

Click to see them at Ariat

Little had I realized just how much better paddock boots really were (vs. tall leather boots) in the summer.

Why have I been sweltering away in tall boots every summer?!

If I’m riding with vented half chaps, I can unzip them and cool off my legs immediately once I’m out of the saddle.

If I’m just hanging out in the barn, sans half chaps, my legs can fully breath — and air circulates through the top of my paddock boots, too.

See why the Heritage Lacer made our list of the 5 Best Horse Barn Boots.

VERSATILITY

As a rider who does both English and Western disciplines, finding a boot that looks good across both is nearly impossible Well, until now.

This boot nicely crosses over between my English and Western lessons.

They’re the easiest option for me to throw on as I head out the door, regardless of where I’m going. I also leave them in the car from time to time as a just-in-case pair.

Room for Improvement

No product is perfect (for everyone), and there are a few nit-picky things I wish I could change.

  • Add a tongue keeper: The tongue can slide a bit during wear, and sometimes you have to dig for it when you put the boots on because it’s sunk to the bottom.
  • Thicker laces: This is personal preference, but these laces are a bit on the thin side.
  • Matching half chaps: I wish Ariat sold half chaps that specifically matched these boots!

Aside from the product suggestions above, I have found one downfall of boots I want to wear all the time for all the things.

Unlike my tall boots, which I only wear for lessons, I have to take my spurs on and off my paddock boots when I switch between disciplines or want to wear my paddock boots around town. #guessineedbackupboots

The Heritage Lacer paddock boot also made our list of the 9 Best Boots for Western Horseback Riding.

Additional Ariat Gear Favorites

online horse courses

Ariat Freja Knee Patch Cooling Tight

I got the Ariat Freja Cooling Tights in the middle of summer, too.

After several years of exclusively wearing my beloved Kerrits Ice Fil Tech Tights in the heat, I honestly didn’t expect the Freja to measure up.

Well, I was wrong again.

While I still adore my Kerrits tights, I have to admit the fabric is a lot nicer on my Frejas pants.

The best way to describe them is “buttery” soft.

They also feature: 

  • Heat Series technology to keep you cool
  • Poly/spandex to move with you in the saddle and out
  • Cooling technology to lower your skin temperature
  • Moisture Movement Technology to lift moisture away from the skin
  • Rubber grip-print knee patch
  • And a handy cell phone pocket (not having one is a deal breaker for me)
Artiat-freje-cooling-tight

These tights are SO soft, and I love the cell phone pocket on the side.

See why these tights also made our list of the 9 Best Riding Breeches Brands.

Ariat Sunstopper Quarter Zip Shirt Review

Staying cool in the summer heat is such a struggle for me. I get lightheaded, tired, and turn into a sweaty mess from June to August. My instructor got me one of Ariat’s sun shirts at a competition, and that started my obsession.

Ariat sunstopper shirt

Click to see it at Amazon

I ordered the Ariat Sunstopper Quarter Zip in a Medium, and it’s perfect. (Note: I’m 5’6 and 125lbs.) The entire section under the sleeve — armpit to wrist — is breathable mesh. The rest of the shirt is also made of breathable, sun protection fabric, too.

Finally, wearing long sleeves in the summer actually feels good!

They also feature: 

  • Quarter-zip and a standing collar
  • Lightweight pique knit fabric
  • Breathable mesh underpaneling on both sleeves
  • Moisture Movement Technology to lift moisture away from the skin
  • Sun protection fabric technology
  • VentTek body mapping allows air flow to regulate body temperature

I love these so much, in fact, that I ordered two more. That way, I can always have a clean one ready for lessons, another for everyday wear around town, and a third in the wash!

Ariat: Everyday Awesome

The best kind of riding apparel is the kind you can wear at the barn — and in everyday life.

I hope this review helps you discover some new gear you’ll love for years to come.

Happy Trails!

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About the author

Horse Rookie

I began riding horses at age six, and I'm just as infatuated (OK, more!) with the sport decades later. My AQHA gelding exemplifies the versatility of the breed -- reined cow horse, reining, roping, ranch riding, trail, dressage, and jumping. We're also dipping our toes (hooves) into Working Equitation!