Thursday, May 28, 2009

Boot repair blues -- Getting boots fixed on the cheap

A few months ago the zipper of my left Ariat schooling boot broke. I called a local recommended shoe repair man, who informed me that he no longer does riding boot repair. A friend suggested Beval Saddlery, but when I called, their pricing was $90 per boot and they told me that they liked to replace BOTH zippers. The $180 cost made me wonder if I should just declare the boots a loss and throw them away. For two months they sat in our laundry room.
Then, a few weeks ago, I was reading my email (I use gmail) and noticed an ad at the top for riding boot repair. I clicked on it. Pisano Riding Boot repair charges $70 for both boots.

I could not mail them fast enough -- they weren't even very clean! Just sent them off with a check, and no instructions.

Within two weeks I got them back (they're pictured right). What do I think of their service?

  • The boots were shined beautifully
  • Both zippers were replaced skillfully
  • The boot sizing did not change ( the repairman asked me if I wanted adjustments -- I didn't)
  • I saved $110!!
Admittedly, these were not my show quality boots. Had I been replacing showboot zippers I might have inquired about the type of zipper used and how it was installed. The zipper used is bigger than the originals, which is okay with me for these boots. For show boots I might have asked a few more questions before shipping them off. My experience was very good -- if you need a boot repair, they're worth a call. Their pricing is on their Web site.


  1. You might have tried contacting Ariat as well. They used to stand behind their products 100%. Don't know if they have changed policies since.

    However, the work looks excellent and I too would be pleased about both the price and service.

    Beval's has always been expensive about everything. They are in an area and serve a clientele who do not worry much about price. I hardly ever go there any more as my local saddle shop (Rick's Saddlery) has nearly as good stock and will order most anything I need.

    Sometimes Rick's has the Ariat reps in the store. If I see one, I will ask about repairs--just for general info.

  2. Good to know! Glad you had a good experience. I want zippered boots.

  3. Mm, I might have to try them out. I've been looking (unsuccessfully) for a place in my area to get new knee rolls and stitching on my saddle.

  4. Aaaaaawesome! I'm currently boot shopping and I know I'm going to have to put a gusset in whatever boots I get. Thx!

  5. Thank you! I have bookmarked that under tack. Hopefully I will remember where it is bookmarked. About 12 years ago, I bought some Horse Mountain half chaps. I forget how long it was before the plastic zippers went. So I went to our small town sewing store which has ancient stock and bought 2 long metal zippers with nice big teeth. Our local saddle maker repaired them for me. They've lasted all these years. We even have a local boot maker, but those are cowboy boots, and I doubt he'd do zippers. I hope I never have to use those guys, but I'm glad to have it. A dying breed.

  6. I located a shoe repair shop near the barn where I take my paddock boots and half chaps. The owner is a character, but I didn't have to explain what my items are! And his prices are reasonable. He even refurbishes and sells used English and western boots.

    It is so hard to find someone who (1) knows what our boots and chaps are and (2) doesn't charge a month's rent.

    Love the shine on your repaired boots. That won't last long at the barn! :-)

  7. That seems like quite good work! How fortunate that you found them through an ad in gmail!!

    I love horses :)

  8. Wow, thanks for the site! I had a baby a 11/2 ago and havent put my boots on since and I bought another horse recently...and come to find out my boots are too tight! I am going to send them and get them stretched and me the hassle. THANKS

  9. I recently had a wonderful experience with Pisano as well!

    I had non-zippered $600 custom tall boots that I'd had since high school, which I had unfortunately grown out of since the last time I wore them (about 3 years ago). I'd gained weight and could no longer get the small tapered top area of the boot past my calf. I school in half-chaps at home, but I was showing this year for the first time in several years, and was distraught to realize I couldn't fit into my boots.

    I considered buying new boots, but I am very tall with wide calfs, and I'd have to get something custom made again, which I simply didn't have the budget for.

    After some careful brainstorming and measuring, I determined that if I could just put zippers into the custom boots I already had, I think they'd still fit. I found Pisano & Son's website online and gave them a call. The guy told me the zipper would add about an inch of overall room in the calf, plus I'd no longer have the problem of trying to slide the tapered part over the widest part of my calf.

    I was really, REALLY reluctant to let somebody cut into my custom boots which have been so dear to me for over ten years. And I was going on complete speculation that my boots would fit properly after being "Frankensteined." But I felt like this was the best of a very limited choice.

    I could not be happier with the work. It was $90 for the whole thing including shipping (what a price!), the work was really well done. The boots' structure remains strong and the lines remain graceful. The zippers (up the back, though you have the option of putting them on the inside of the leg) were covered with fitted leather flaps so you can't even see them, and they are strong. So far this year, they've held up to a lot of riding and showing, and I could not be happier.

    Best part, of course: they fit like a dream.

    Two thumbs up for Pisano from me!

  10. This shop is the best!!!! I live right near it & have taken my street shoes to him for years. I have NEVER been unhappy w/the work. He is gradually doing more work w/regard to riding boot repairs & from what I have seen the work is EXCELLENT! I was just over there & he had racks of boots that were sent in for repair a sure sign that his work is excellent). He receives boots vias mail from all over the country and maybe the world. He ships back to all 50 states I believe. Check him out! Pricing on the website or you can call or email if you need something special and/or fast.

    108 W. MARKET ST.
    WEST CHESTER, PA 19382
    Joe Pisano 610-436-4883

    Tell him Bernadette sent you!


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