Monday, July 24, 2017

HKM Italia Soft Leather Tall Riding Boots

For the last few years I've worn brown Mondoni Kingston tall boots for basically everything except dressage tests. All schooling, all time spent hanging at the barn. Everything, always, all the time. I loved those boots and they served me well, but alas they reached the end of their useful life.

Meaning: I needed new schooling boots. Specifically: brown boots (bc duh) that cost < $200.

glamour shot
The biggest complicating factor here is that my calf size has changed in my left leg since breaking it almost two years ago. That leg in particular is .... bleh, just not really the same any more. Which meant that simply ordering the Mondonis again was off the table (the zipper on that leg wouldn't stay up any more, even on my well-broken-in boots).

yep that's a box!
In fact - I had begun to worry that the leg was maybe no longer off-the-rack sized any more and that I'd potentially be looking at needing to go the custom route - which would obviously blow my < $200 criterion. This is, from what I can tell, a common conundrum lol.

And honestly I actually looked at everything priced up to about $400. The only other promising boot was an Ariat, but sourcing them in brown proved problematic as well.

with boots in that box!
But lo! Stubborn persistent internet sleuthing uncovered what appear to be the single pair of brown tall boots that match my size specifications and were affordably priced. I found the HKM Italia boots on Tackville, with the size guide on yet another site haha.

not a lot of frills in this design - love that high top tho!
These are dress boots when I would have preferred field boots, and there was just one single photo on the website that didn't show the zipper situation on the boot. Honestly, the boots didn't even seem super attractive - and were maybe even kinda dubious in quality by appearances.

very simple detailing, a solid snaps
So obviously I clicked "order" haha.

I figured, these were legitimately the only boots that definitely matched my size specifications, were brown and were very reasonably priced. It felt worth the gamble on them maybe being kinda ugly. So long as they could potentially be functional, I wanted to take a shot.

plain shoe string pull tab for the zipper. and notably: not a lick of elastic anywhere
I remained some strange mix of cautiously optimistic and mildly dubious while waiting for the boots to arrive. Tackville shipping was ridiculously cheap ($7.79 for international shipping!), but also kinda ridiculously show. Trade offs, I guess.

detailing on the toe cap would make these boots look a little nicer, but i like the simple look
Finally tho, they arrived. Coming out of the box, I was underwhelmed by both the color of these boots (kinda chocolatey) and the feel. It is leather. But like. Maybe not what you think of when you think "Italian leather" lol. And getting them zipped up the first time was.... challenging.

old v. new
Actually I was surprised to see the boots don't have any elastic panels anywhere. Which, like... This is 2017, give me some damn elastic on my tall boots haha. But I put the left boot on first - the true test to see if they'd fit my weirdly sized calf. And - wonder of wonders, the boot went on! Put the right one on next and we were in business.

came with a pretty significant scuff out of the box. it cleaned off tho
The boots started off pretty tight around the middle of my calf, but fit really well at the top. They're also taller than the Mondonis (a definitely plus) and are generously enough sized at the top to keep the zipper up in place rather than trying to slide down.

they fit pretty well around the ankle. also why is it so hard to take pictures of yourself wearing boots?
The foot bed fits very well (I'm like, the most standard of standard size 7), tho there isn't a lot of cushioning. Might add some orthotic inserts bc #oldladyfeet haha.  All in all tho, with each subsequent ride, they've zipped up more and more easily (tho you better believe I'm gonna baby that zipper), and have broken in fairly quickly.

kinda shocked that they fit around the calf with no elastic lol
There have been no blisters or rubs - not in the ankle, nor behind the knee. Even when worn day after day, and for long periods of time.

first ride!
They also seemed to have a protective coating on them as water initially beaded off pretty easily. I've since cleaned and oiled them, which they've handled well with no discoloration or dye transfer.

no spur rests but that hasn't made a difference
After a week of regular use, my uncertain and skeptical feelings about these boots have melted away into feeling pretty freakin pleased with them. They fit well, are comfortable, and are brown boots that cost me less than $200. Check and check.

The quality is exactly what you would expect for those criteria: meaning, slightly rough around the edges. And I don't expect them to last me until the dawn of time.

boots in action!
But if they can hold up as long as the Mondonis did, I'll consider it a pretty solid success.

So for those of you out there looking for reasonably priced brown tall boots (or "long boots" as they apparently say in Europe haha) with harder-to-fit calf sizes, these HKMs are a solid option.

26 comments:

  1. For the price point those seem like a great find. Comfort is my #1 priority, so the fact that they broke in without breaking your legs or feet in is a big plus.

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    1. agreed 1,000%. i spend a lot of time in my tall boots (and have been known to spend up to 12hrs in them) so they better be comfortable!

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  2. I'm in the "I need tall boots" camp, but just can't bear to start all the experimenting and trying things on phase yet. My left leg still isn't the same after breaking my ankle either. I really thought it would go back to being normal, but even 1.5 years later, it's still misshapen, prone to swelling, and not as flexible as my right. So glad your boots fit both your legs! It's always nice when things work out like that :)

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    1. ugh yea it really sucks that my body physically hasn't really moved on from the injury. fun fact: if you look closely at like, literally any pictures of me jumping, i'm almost always visibly sitting more on one side of the horse. lame. but. at least i can still find boots that fit!

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  3. They aren't fancy, but their simplicity is pretty! And nothing beats a good fit without a horrible break-in period :)

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    1. agreed! and simple is good sometimes, doesn't clash with much!

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  4. Very pretty boots! I would be so scared to try something completely unknown, from out of the country! Glad it worked out! I also have a love for brown boots and just ordered my first pair (finally after oogling many options for years) a couple weeks ago off Zulily (ariat midtown tall boots) I figure i can ride in them some and put them over jeans in the winter for a classy look.

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    1. so far i'm two for two on unfamiliar boot brands ordered from europe. tho in both instances i spent a LOT of time with a tape measure and the size guide lol

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  5. why cant tackville post size charts on their goddamn website

    those actually look great in the pic of you riding, i'm shocked. nice find.

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    1. idk why tackville doesn't have size guides but the guides exist on the googles somewhere. and thanks - i'm quite pleased with how the boots turned out.

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  6. Talk to me about the calf sizes! I measured my calf at like a 16" which was in the size guide for tredstep wide calf but when I ordered they. Would. Not. Zip. Up. Whomp whomp. I'm in the market for cheap functional boots!

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    1. so my black tall boots are tredstep wides and they fit but like.... it's snug and the left one (damn problem calf) doesn't want to zip all the way. these HKMs fit better than that. my calves measure about 16" at the widest part (without pulling the tape tight) and the size guide for the above boots has them at around 15.5". they fit well tho - definitely the tightest around the calf, but they seem to have stretched a bit and now zip up easily. fit is quite good at the top of the boot too, so no issues getting the zipper to stay.

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  7. So glad they worked out for you! I love finding semi random smaller brands that fit my exact specifications. They definitely look like a nice boot for the price point, you must be a great internet sleuth-er lol!

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    1. nothing beats a good fit - esp at a good price! and nothing is worse than the feeling of struggling to get boots on all the time.... bleh. i esp hate that feeling at horse shows bc literally anything that can add stress or anxiety for me must be vigorously avoided haha. thank goodness these seem so promising!

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  8. they look pretty damn good for that price range! Good sleuth finding!! I hope they last a while for you.....Enjoy!

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    1. thanks - i sure hope so too!! so far so good!

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  9. Awesome! I was eying those up myself - I have the brown Ariats but wouldn't recommend, the zippers have been trouble from the start!

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    1. oh really? that's good to know - i've also heard various concerning things about how comfortable ariats are. which like.... i have crummy old lady feet and i wear my boots a LOT so... yea.

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  10. I need to take the plunge into overseas buying at some point. Should have snapped up those Mondonis to school in I just couldn't stomach the shipping haha. But these are definitely fun! Hopefully they last as long as the Mondonis!

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    1. yea those mondonis were a seriously good price too! i used to be kinda hesitant to buy overseas but actually it's kinda nbd - they've got a lot of great stuff out there and shipping isn't always too terrible!

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  11. #jealous :)

    I am the queen of awkward calves. lol Last time I measured to try to even get half-chaps - at my thinnest and fittest - I was something like a small in height and an XL in calf circumference... in the biggest-running sizes available. Somewhere I have a pair of tall boots that fit when I was fresh out of high school that I'm pretty sure will never fit me ever again. I'll have to look at overseas stuff some time.

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    1. definitely do! boot shopping is like, the freakin worst. it's so hard to find stuff that fits. i have old pairs of tall boots too that are still in great shape but don't fit any more and aren't really salable bc they're the pull on kind that nobody buys any more lol.

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  12. Those look great! I actually gave up on tall boots and just bought really nice leather half chaps. It is nice to know there are afordable options out there though!

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  13. Glad they are working well for you!! I love the look of brown boots.

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  14. I love HKM for all the reasons you listed. The Germans make quality stuff and at a reasonable price! I love my HKM boots, and they were under $200. STEAL. Glad you'll be another advocate out there with me :)

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