In my opinion, this is the Holy Grail of brown riding boots:
Frye Dorado Lug Riding Boot
Why we love them: Just look at them – SO PRETTY and worthy of numerous exclamation points!!!! But let’s break it down a little further.
– Gorgeous dark brown leather that will go with anything – including black (yes, really) – and will just look better as it ages
– Two buckles add some visual interest, but are still simple enough not to overpower any other jewelry and/or accessories you want to wear
– Beautiful stitching adds a little bit of western influence without being an overt cowboy boot
Why we don’t love them: the $468 price tag
And so, it is with a heavy heart and a light wallet that I go off in search of a suitable
replacement substitute (because nothing will EVER replace them)*.
*For purposes of this post I considered “on a budget” to once again be $150 or less. I’ve see knee-high boots that cost less than $100 and they’re not pretty. Trust me.
First up, the Luichiny Women’s Point Tea Riding Boot:
Why we love it: This is a pretty swell approximation of the Frye boot if I do say so myself. (And I obvs do.) This boot is genuine leather and has the same awesome ‘weathered’ look as the Holy Grail boots. Added bonus = inside zipper so that I might actually have a shot at shoving my high arches and wide calves down into this thing.
Next, let’s go in the completely opposite direction with the Jessica Simpson Vanitiya Boot:
Yours for only $139.99
Why we love them: Based on my rules for good riding boots above, I really shouldn’t love these. They’re light, not dark, brown. They’re suede, not leather. And they have a pretty noticeable detail in the form of that leather strap up the side. But for reasons I cannot explain and against all of my better judgment, I kind of have a crush on these boots.
Getting back on track, I give you the Steven by Steve Madden Intyce Boot:
Why we love them: If you’ve had eyeballs anytime in the past few years and have used them to look at women’s feet, you have seen these boots. I myself had a similar pair a few years ago in the cognac color and wore them until they looked so bad it was embarrassing to continue doing so.
What’s so great about them? Well in addition to being reasonably priced, they’re also extremely versatile – the skinny wedge heel makes them easy to dress up or down. So if you don’t mind your feet and calves looking like those of potentially hundreds if not thousands of other women in your community, these are the boots for you.
Next is the SE Boutique Patli Riding Boot:
Why we love them: Like the Holy Grail boots, this pair just simply passes the eyeball test. They’re pretty and they’re affordable. Plus they have that oh-so-handy full zip up the inside for when you just want to be able to put on your boots without a crowbar. Win-win-win.
Next is the Coconuts Becky Riding Boot:
Why we love them: You should be able to recite this with me by now – real leather, dark brown, minimal yet interesting details, inside zipper. Although I wouldn’t blame you if you can’t tell all of that from this teeny picture. (apologies!)
And finally, the obvious knock-off, the Coconuts Walker Riding Boots:
Why we love these: WE DON’T. In fact, these boots make me irrationally angry. They are such an obvs, yet poor attempt to duplicate my beloved Holy Grail boots that Frye should sue. And if they did sue I would offer my legal services for free – I am that mad.
Plus that color is foul.
So now that you know what to look for in a brown riding boot and have some of my humble suggestions, I charge you to go forth and shop! Now is the time to complete your essential boots wardrobe. And, as always, feel free to report back on your finds so we can all live vicariously through each other. Shopping is always better when you can share it with the ones you love. 🙂