Ariat Boots Review: Sturdy Western Workwear Staples

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It’s something I won’t forget:

The stadium lights humming, the smell of stale popcorn and horse manure, wild children with their mouths stained blue from neon slushies.

A huge crowd of us gathered around a bull-riding pit. The gate lifts. Within seconds a man is catapulted off the back of a completely-insane bull. He soars through the air, suspended in time. After he falls on his face, he limps off to the side. And the next rider is ready to go. He looks excited, actually.

I wonder: did he just watch what happened? That dude just got annihilated.

I guess the greater the challenge, the better the payoff.

That same philosophy could be said of Ariat boots.

The famous western boot company is known for their equestrian and work boots. Growing up in California and moving to North Carolina, I felt it was part of my destiny to give these boots a try. So here’s what I think.

What Is Ariat?

Ariat Groundbreaker on foot

Ariat started out with one foot firmly in the equestrian/ riding space. And when you hear the story behind the name, it makes perfect sense.

The brand is named after the most famous race-horse in history: Secretariat.

The legend is that the thoroughbred had an abnormally large heart. With that kind of engine pumping, Secretariat cemented himself a name as the fastest horse to ever race.

The founder of Ariat built her footwear to exhibit some of that same fighting principle. And the boots are all designed to go the distance, with waterproof storm welted uppers and ultra-comfortable insoles.

Things to Consider Before Buying from Ariat

Ariat workhog next to noise protection earphones

Ariat makes all kinds of boots. Some are for riding, some for working, and others for hitting the bar-room floor and showing ‘em you can do more than just a simple line dance.

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What’s consistent across the boots we’ve reviewed from Ariat is the emphasis on comfort. The brand puts a lot of careful thought into the construction of the insole, which is padded and forms to your foot over time so the boots don’t become a burden throughout the day.

model wearing Ariat Midtown Rambler

Ariat used to have a separate line of footwear named Two24, which was more focused on lifestyle boots that could blend into a city-scape better than they would a ranch.

Now, they’ve consolidated that brand back into Ariat’s more work and country-focused collection. So Ariat carries a wide variety of boots that fit the style of nearly any occasion. Except for dress shoes—they still don’t do those. And really, I wouldn’t want them to either.

Ariat Reviews by BootSpy

I own two pairs of Ariat boots, and picked them up at the same time. I already knew about the brand for their work boots—they were the go-to brand for a lot of the guys I used to work with back when I stacked bricks, tarred drive-ways, painted trims, and re-shingled roofs.

So when I needed a pair of work boots, it was hard to ignore the advice of every 60-year old construction worker I knew.

After doing a little searching, I picked up their most popular work boot: the WorkHog.

Ariat WorkHog

Ariat Workhog in sawdust next to log

The Ariat WorkHog is a hefty beast. All WorkHog boots are waterproof, but you can pick up many of the models with a composite toe for just a few bucks extra.

I opted for the composite toe because I’ve run enough handtrucks over my feet to last me a lifetime.

You can read my full detailed Ariat WorkHog review here, but if you just want the big picture, here’s what I thought:

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I cut my Ariat WorkHogs in half to see what was really in these boots.

Ariat Midtown Rambler

Ariat Midtown Rambler square toe box detail

These square-toe slip-on ankle boots caught my eye as I was shopping for a pair of work boots. Funny how that works, right?

The Midtown Ramblers are made with distressed leather so they come looking aged, but not beat up. There’s a sharp angle at the ball of the foot and a strong square toe.

I was struck by how distinctive these boots are, so I had to get them.

You can check out my in-depth Ariat Midtown Rambler review here, but if you just want my high level thoughts, here they are:

What do Other Reviewers Think About Ariat?

Ariat has racked up over 50,000 reviews across their products on their site. Their average is a whopping 4.8-stars out of 5.

We haven’t seen too many brands with such a large volume of reviews, which is a feat itself. But seeing how many satisfied customers-turned-reviewers there are is part of the reason I dove in and took a chance on their work boots.

Ariat Alternatives

Justin Boots

Justin Boots Stampede outside bench 3

Justin Boots has been making classic Western style boots since 1879. They have a wide selection of sturdy work boots and some styles that would look great in a line dance, but they don’t have the same breadth of options as Ariat.

If you’re interested in Ariat’s Western style boots and work boots, Justin is a solid alternative. But Justin doesn’t offer any alternatives to more casual sleek styles like Ariat’s Midtown Rambler.

Red Wing

If we compare Red Wing’s DynaForce boot to the Ariat WorkHog, you’ll find a boost in quality with Red Wing. But you’ll also find a significant increase in cost.

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Generally speaking, Red Wing has better quality leather tanned in Red Wing, Minnesota. They also offer repairs on their boots when they start to wear out.

Still, with price as a major consideration, I chose Ariat because the comfort and durability were more than enough to meet my needs. The way I think of it is this: the Ariat WorkHog gets you 90% there. Red Wing is for those willing to drop some extra bills to get to 100%.

Tecovas

Tecovas stockton shaft and jeans

Tecovas makes a mean pair of leather western boots. Years ago, I’d go to the Berkley Horse races on Sunday, and nearly every distinguished guy out at the track was wearing a shiny clean pair of Tecovas.

These are the dressy version of cowboy boots: made with premium materials like full grain calfskin leather, ostrich, alligator, lizard, and more. You’re not going to get modern workwear protection like you would with Ariat, but Tecovas does the classic leather cowboy boot the best.

My Thoughts Overall On Ariat

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Sean Campbell’s love for hunting and outdoor life is credited to his dad who constantly thrilled him with exciting cowboy stories. His current chief commitment involves guiding aspiring gun handlers on firearm safety and shooting tactics at the NRA education and training department. When not with students, expect to find him either at his gunsmithing workshop, in the woods hunting, on the lake fishing, on nature photoshoots, or with his wife and kid in Maverick, Texas. Read more >>