I haven’t done a review in a while, but welcome to another Review Wednesday! Today I’m going to review the Mountain Horse Sovereign Tall Boots. I bought these when I was first searching for some tall boots to show in, and I managed to get them on a crazy sale so I was very happy about that. I was also very excited because they would come in brown, and I’m a big brown leather fan. But what really drew me to the boots were their classic look and shape with just a touch of uniqueness to them in the two tone leather and strip of patent.
As a quick guide to sizing, like everything else about me, I am in between all shapes and sizes so it makes shopping for things like this off the rack SO FUN. Insert sarcasm haha. But the issues with tall boots for me is the fact that while I have a common sized foot (9), I am not a B width but I’m not a wide width either, and my left calf is also shorter than my right calf, yet my right leg is my shorter leg. So a regular height will fit my right calf, but be painful for my left one since the zippers tend to dig in and pinch. It makes the leather crinkle painfully along my left ankle too, and my left foot is slightly bigger than my right. So I have fun trying to find things that fit. I also build muscle and lose muscle very quickly, so depending on my fitness level, I can fit anywhere from a 15″ to a 16 1/2″ calf. So I need something that can grow and shrink with me, especially if these were not going to be schooling boots but show boots.
Tall boots are one of those things that you have to be picky about, and I’m very picky on my footwear, especially riding footwear. No matter how thick the socks, I used to get the worst bruises on my ankles from breaking in bad tall boots and just bearing with it, but I can’t do that anymore. I have weak ankles, mild circulation problems in my lower legs, and if anything is painful in the backs of my knees I will end up with knee pains for days afterwards. So it’s safe to say that I’ve become extremely picky about fit and comfort.
So, with all those fitting issues, what did I buy? I bought an 8 Wide/Regular. According to RW’s sizing chart for these, I bought a size 8, 15″-15 3/4″ calf, and 18 1/2″ height.
I was wary on many accounts. Other boots I’d tried on with those specs – specifically the calves – would not even zip up. All of them with that height hit the backs of my knees painfully. My feet needed more support, and a bigger foot space. But a lot of reviews I’d read had advised that the foot was a bit long, and to size down. Needing that bigger foot space, I was very wary that the 8 would be too tight.
But low and behold, from the first moment I put them on, they were perfect. I could tell they needed to be broken in for sure, but the leather was nice and supple when I pulled them out of the box. They were that touch too tall, especially on my left leg, but I knew they would drop once broken in. But the biggest relief was that while they needed to drop, they did not hurt the backs of my knees except being mildly uncomfortable. And while I would not recommend this, my first true ride testing them out was at a horse show – 4 or so classes and about 4 or so hours of wear. And except being mildly uncomfortable in their newness even after 4 hours, I knew they were going to be a great boot.
Pros (there really are so many things to love about this boot!):
Foot size: The reviews were right, and sizing down was perfect for me. They were a touch tight when I first got them, but ensuring they have boot trees in them directly after I take them off (especially on a sweaty day) has prevented the leather from shrinking and allowed it to stretch into the perfect fit for my foot. I got the boot trees for my western boots initially since you don’t need them for the shaft – just for the foot, and those worked great with these boots. You just have to zip them up a bit before sticking them in there.
Back of the boot: Both sides of the top of the zipper have a small, thumb sized elastic piece that lets the boot collapse easily against the back of your knee. This was why they didn’t hurt me as much while I was breaking them in. So far, they’ve dropped to the perfect height.
Back of the boot 2: The snap on the back of the boot comes with an extra piece of leather that holds the back of the zipper in place so that it doesn’t fall. This is an excellent feature to me, and while I’ve never had an issue with zippers falling, I think it helps stabilize the zipper. (I could be totally wrong on that account tho lol)
Heel Protector/Cover: After wearing a pair of boots without a heel cover and getting horrid blisters, I am so happy that these have that little strip of leather to protect your heel and your ankle against the zipper. Especially when breaking boots in, they always collapse at the most sensitive parts of my ankles, so that strip of leather inside the zipper really saves my poor ankles. The snap cover on the outside helps protect the zipper if you wear spurs, a very handy feature.
Elastic gusset: I like that the elastic is on the inside of the boot instead of the outside as I’m used to seeing. Not only that, but it’s a full panel gusset, which means that these boots have a lot of stretch. At the time I bought these, I was just over a 15 3/4 measurement, but these actually fit a tad big on my legs at the time. I’ve since worn thicker breeches with knee-high socks, and then they fit a little snugger. Recently, when doing my PT exercises and my calves bulked up to a little over 16″ again, they got a wee bit snug, but only felt that way on the initial zip up. I’m sure I could probably get to my fittest and they’d still fit well around my calves without straining the zipper. And I don’t stretch the calves either. I place the air shaft trees it comes with inside to hold the general shape and to keep them from flopping over in my closet, getting just enough air in them to provide a close fit but nothing close to stretching them. Now that PT is over I’m just a hair below 16″ again, and these still fit so nicely.
Insoles: Despite being thin, these insoles have actually been surprisingly comfortable. They’re still not my favorite, and on cold days or days that my stirrups are too short I’ll get numbness in my feet and toes, but I’ve yet to have very sore feet after wearing them for 2+ hours, which on a thin insole is impressive to me. So for most people this feature is probably a pro – for me they’re 1 tick higher than average on the pro side lol.
Break in time: I only wore these for 2 shows, and occasional rides after that and these broke in so fast. Now that I’m riding in them for lessons, they just continue to get softer and more supple and more broken in – they’re really feeling like old friends at this point. They are just about there in the “perfectly broken in” range, because while I have had them a year, consecutive break in time with 4-5 rides a week would probably take no more than a month or a month and a half I’d think. I’m not a good judge of time, but what I do know is that these just got better and better every ride, and for how long I’ve actually worn them, it is a quick break in time.
Other features: They are advertised to have removable insoles, though I have yet to try taking them out. I definitely like that option since I usually wear out an insole long before the rest of the boot. They’re made of full grain leather and have a YKK zipper. I didn’t think that really mattered until I saw a boot without a YKK zipper, and then I could tell the difference. The YKK’s are certainly thicker and stronger in my opinion. I can’t find it in the description, but I do believe they have a double-lined calf panel on the boots as well which helps prevent premature wear and tear. The Spanish cut is of course very flattering, and I really like the way they make my leg look. There’s just a lot of subtle detail that brings the whole boot together and makes it look great.
Insoles/Foot size: While I did list them as a very slight pro, I do wish the insoles were thicker. My feet are particular (what else is new? lol) and I’ve found that I’ve had the most all-day comfort with Ariat insoles. Along with that, if the foot were a little roomier I could probably fit the insoles in there, but as they are, I think they’re a little too narrow for it. Which does make me sad cause then I’d have the most perfect, close to custom boot I’ve ever had haha. So I do wish the foot was a little roomier to fit in slightly more comfortable (for me) insoles, but that’s just me.
Price: These are expensive for me. Way more than I really wanted to pay for tall boots. And that is definitely a deal breaker for many people – completely understandable. I was super lucky to get these on a crazy sale, so they fit closer to my price point even though they were still over. And while the price is a con, I also see it as a bit of a “you get what you pay for.” And for how well these boots fit me, they’re worth it to me to go over budget.
For care, I don’t do anything special. I do make sure I do the boot and shaft trees, but other than that, as you can tell from all of these photos, they’re dirty. And these photos were taken yesterday during a spare moment at work, after they’d been sitting in my truck for a week, and they haven’t been cleaned since…..ahhhh July or August-ish maybe? I do really need to clean them, but I haven’t babied them. I haven’t completely abused them tho – I do try to remove them before rinsing off horses when it was hot here, but if I can’t, I just take a dry towel and towel off the water as best as I can. So far, they’ve been fine with that treatment and have held up well.
As I’m sure you could tell – yes I would recommend and yes I would buy them again. I actually have plans to take advantage of RW’s Black Friday sale – at least, I’m hoping they have one this year – and buy the black pair so that I now have 2 of them to interchangeably school and show. Whenever I get back into showing that is haha. If there is no Black Friday sale, then a Christmas sale or something since I’m not a hurry. Gotta take advantage of those, right? lol
Hopefully, if anyone is interested in these boots, I provided a good, thorough review that can help you come to a final decision!