Monday, March 2, 2009

Freedom USPC field boots: A big thumbs up!

Note to impatient readers: Video of boots at bottom of entry

I'm a tough fit bootwise. My custom Petrie boots are 34cm calf size and 52c, height. I have never had an off the shelf boot come near a good fit -- till now. I ordered the Freedom USPC (Devonaire) field boots. The short review is, THEY'RE GREAT.

Why do I need new boots?

The zipper on one of my Ariat schooling boots broke last week. Beval charges $90/boot for a repair, and the rep assured me that if one zipper had gone, the other will soon follow. I paid less than $200 for the boots new, so that didn't seem like a good option. I'm not sure what I'll do with my Ariats -- Bob is suggesting adding brass eyelets for lacing up, and I'm going to get a quote from a dry cleaner/leather shop near where I work. But in the meantime I have no boots for everyday. I needed something to ride in, and fast.

Shopping mission #2467
Starting with Dover, I found the Devonaire USPC field boots in Dover for $89.70. They looked too good to be true (see top right photo). A tall calf, nice shape, and hose-off maintenance because they're vinyl. Devonaire is not a brand I seek out, and usually I don't order something online unless I've seen the product. I posted a question about the boots to COTH and got encouraging responses. Everyone who owned them was quite happy and said many said they showed in them. So I bought'em. And here they are, right after my first ride (a bit dusty):

My impressions
  • I love love love the height of these boots -- never have I had an off the shelf boot fit me this well.
  • The sizing of the foot is pretty much on the spot, perhaps a tad generous. An 8.5 tends to just fit me just a tad snug, and these are generous enough that i could wear thick socks in the winter.
  • The vinyl is soft and leather like, they were comfy in the first ride.
  • The zipper look decent and feel solid.
  • The only things that seems a little on the cheap are the laces and the fake tabby thing on the side :-). But those are details that probably wouldn't be noticed. I would show in them for sure.
In short, a thumbs up. Now I'm off to write a letter to Devonaire -- they need to know they done good!


  1. Thanks for the good review on the boots. I have too have looked at them in Dover's catalog and wondered. They look great on you! :-)

  2. I love those boots, but both my sister and I have had issues with the soles. After about three years the sole on my right boot, just disconnected. I fixed it with some gorilla glue, but a few months later the other one did it too. One of the soles on my sister's just cracked in half, but that might have been due to her wearing them in subzero temperatures.

    The swagger tab thingy wasn't quite heavy enough to hold itself down, so my trainer uh... attacked my boots with some super glue before a show.

    Mine didn't have a zipper, but I found that the material that they're made out of had enough give to get my foot in and out easily.

  3. I bought "Harry Hall" boots in England last year. I don't know if they are available here, but they are so comfortable and good looking too. Back zipper and several elastic inserts which are invisible to outsiders but make all the difference. I had kept waiting for my hand-made boots from my 16th birthday to fit again. Reality set in before my 50th, thank goodness. Better late than never!

  4. If your boots don't have zippers you may have the other style, but it's likely the same sole. I'll have to watch for that. My $200 Ariats didn't last much more than that (zippers), so I'll be interested to see how long the soles and zippers last with daily use. They don't have a "cheap" feel to them...

  5. Hi Stacey,

    Can I encourage you to post your review at

    I could use some well-written reviews like yours!



  6. I am looking for boots with zippers myself so when I saw your post on the cost of new zippers I thought "that cannot be right". Have you called over to skylands saddlery? If you are willing to drive to bevals I think that might be worth a shot. My friend got the zippers on her Konigs replaced through them. Don't know how much it cost. And there is a guy (I am blanking on his name) who has a leather repair shop in New Hope (or was it Stockton) who is really great with all things equestrian. I know the new Dover store in Branchburg would have his contact information because they use him too.

  7. What about velcro instead of lacing? There's lots of industrial strength velcro...


Hi Guys, Your comments are valued and appreciated -- until recently I never rejected a post. Please note that I reserve the right to reject an anonymous post.