Monday, April 3, 2017

Middleburg Contour Elite Field Boot Review

When I went to Colorado in December, an obvious highlight was getting to go to the Dover store. It was exciting to get to be there at all, but I was kind of slightly there on a mission. I really wanted to get some field boots (I've never had any before) and I had heard really good things about the Dover brand of boots, Middleburg. Sadly, in-store they only had their synthetic version, which I wasn't actually interested in. That being said, I was able to try on the synthetic boots to figure out the sizing that I would need for the boots I would actually buy.

Once I got home from Colorado, I immediately hopped on Dover's online store, and found that they had two mid-priced leather boots, the Middleburg Ladies' Contour Field Boot ($260) and the Middleburg Square Toe Field Boot ($300), plus a slightly more expensive boot, the Middleburg Contour Elite Field Boot ($330). Awesomely for me, the most expensive boot, the Contour Elite Field Boot was on a major sale and so was the cheapest of all! So that's the one I bought.
Middleburg Contour Elite Field Boot

I bought these boots on sale and so they only cost $169.99, which is a GREAT deal on field boots. They normally retail for $329.95 which is still a really great price considering the quality of the boot.
Boots in action

The Middleburg Contour Elite Field Boot is made out of a really soft, yet strong leather. The leather is super nice, especially considering the reasonable cost. It definitely rivals all of the other leather boots that I have seen around my barn. The leather is also a tad stretchy in that it really conforms around your leg. These boots have the second skin-like fit that people seek in custom boots. But these aren't custom! They just rock!
Skin-like fit due to stretchy soft leather

Along with their awesome fit, these boots also have some really nice stylistic elements. They have a black patent leather trim around the ankles and the toe of the boot. It's a very subtle, but elegant accent.
Patent leather trim

The boot has a slightly high top, almost a Spanish top, but not quite high enough for me to really feel comfortable calling it that. It has a round toe, which may not be as stylish as the square toes which are becoming more common, but I think that it is still a really nice looking boot.
High top

Its other features are that it has black enamel buttons, a spur heel grip protector, and a double size spur rest. None of these are that exciting to me, but it has them!
Black enamel buttons

By far the best feature of this boot is the inner grip panel. These boots are grippy. So grippy that I can easily ride with no stirrups and my leg does not budge at all. Honestly, they have spoiled me. I can no longer ride in my paddock boots and half chaps because they don't have nearly the same level of grip. Riding in such nice boots has completely improved my riding. Literally everything is easier when my leg is so stable.
Grippy enough to makes jumps of this size easy-peasy
Grippy inner panel

As far as options go, these boots have slightly limited ones. The only color is black (which is pretty standard for field boots). There is only one height option, which definitely would rule out these boots for some people. Luckily the regular height works for me (after breaking them in).
Only color option: black

For foot size, these boots run from size 6.5 to 10 and have half sizes. I wear a size 8 so that is what I ordered and it definitely fits well. It is tight enough that my feet aren't sliding around in them, but loose enough that I can wear thicker socks on cold days and still be able to fit into my shoes.
The back zipper

There are three different calf options; slim, regular, and full (aka wide). I ordered the slim and it is definitely snug. The first couple of times trying to wear them, I had to zip a little and then wait a little before I could zip up any more. That being said, they now have stretched out to the point that I can zip them all in one motion, but they are still snug. I could probably have gotten the regular calf size, but I know that boots do stretch out over time and didn't want to risk having floppy boots.
Slim calf size for me

Part of why I held off on buying tall boots for so long was that I did not want to deal with the pain of breaking them in. Indeed, breaking them in was not entirely fun. I wore them around my house for the first couple of days, just trying to get the boots to stretch out in the calf enough for me to be able to more easily zip them. My first ride in them was not very fun. They totally rubbed one of my ankles raw, so after that ride I cleaned and conditioned the leather. As I conditioned the leather I massaged the ankle area and it made a world of difference as they have never given me rubs since. The more I use them, the more comfortable they are becoming. I've been riding in them for a month now and the only thing that I am waiting on is for them to drop just a tad more as they still are a bit too tall behind my knee.
Need to drop just a tad more to fit better behind the knee

On Dover's website they have a bit of a "warning" about this boot. They are very clear that since the leather is a softer leather, it is not as durable as a traditional leather boot. I am sure that this is true, but that being said, I ride about 5 times a week and have been riding in these boots for a month and they are showing zero wear. It can be that they won't last years and years, but the quality of the boot is really high and so I am expecting them to have a decently long lifespan. Also, I love these boots so much and got such a good deal on them, that even if they only last 2 years, I would still do it again.
I love them!

That being said, I do want to preserve my boots and so I am babying them. I only wear them when riding, I am being meticulous about cleaning and conditioning them when they get wet at all or when they get too dusty. I leave boot forms in them when they are not being worn. And now that they are broken in, I am going to rotate wearing these boots with wearing other boots so that they will not get as worn. They will be my "show" boots, but realistically I don't show enough to only use those for that purpose, so I will continue to school in them, just sparingly.
Boots in use

These boots only have one problem. And it is perhaps the smallest problem to ever exist. The zipper tabs on these boots came with leather tags on them. One of the leather tags ripped off the first time I ever pulled the zipper. They were super flimsy and really thin stips of leather with a minimal amount of stitching holding them together. I cut the other leather tag off of the other zipper and that was the end of that. The zippers still have the regular zipper pulls, so functionality is not at all impaired, but I wanted to give full disclosure!
Able to zip even without the leather tags

Overall, these boots rock. I love them and they are now my babies. I would 100% buy them again, especially if they are on sale, because I am pretty sure there is no better deal for a boot of this quality. Why buy expensive custom boots when you can get such a great boot for a fraction of the price?
Middleburg Contour Elite Field Boot

No comments:

Post a Comment