The reviewer of these boots struggled to find any downside to them
The self-service made-to-measure Cavallo long horse riding boots service is pretty comprehensive. Using a chart and instructions, I measured my legs myself at home, over breeches and socks. Worried I might not have done it correctly, I measured a few times.
The form calls for many different measurements; seven in total. These include not only the standard calf height and width, but also measurements around the ankle, just under the knee, round the lower calf and a full foot drawing (which you do on the back of the form so no extra paper required – very eco friendly) to make sure the foot size you’ve given is accurate.
So I sent off the form.
Six weeks later the boots arrived. They are supplied with heel raisers; small wedges that sit under your heel to lift your leg in the boot. This is because the current fashion (which I totally subscribe to) is to have the boots come up as high as possible, both at the back of the knee and with the bow shape on the outside over the top of it.
The first impressions of the boots are that they are very well made, with smooth lines. And they fit like a glove.
The leather is quite stiff on the outside, but not as much as some other makes I’ve worn.
The starkest difference to other long leather boots I’ve had is the footbed. They are actually comfortable, with squishy soles. I’m so used to thin leather soles that this was a bit of a revelation. I didn’t even realise how uncomfortable my old boots had been until I wore these ones.
The downside was that I couldn’t really walk in the boots as they didn’t have much give at the ankle and were so tall I could barely bend my legs (going to the loo in them was an absolute no-no), but then these are riding boots, not hiking boots.
Once on the horse the soles offer a level of grip I am also not used to and I realised that I’ve been scrunching up my toes in my leather-soled boots, probably to keep my feet anchored in the stirrups. It was only when I stopped doing it, wearing these Cavallos, that I realised I’d been doing it at all.
When riding, they offer the delicate balance between sensitivity and feeling on the inside, where the leather is butter-soft, but with that sharp, stiff dressage look on the outside.
They required no breaking in and were immediately comfortable to ride in. I didn’t have to wear them around the house until the pain subsided and I do know of a number of riders who’ve had to do this with some makes.
The bow on the outside at the top is extraordinarily high. It did initially dig in a little (at what felt like about four inches above my knee!) but once the boots were worn in, it no longer caused any problems. And I love how the bow looks when mounted; it appears to lengthen even my stubby little legs.
The subtle Cavallo branding at the top of the boot shaft is sculpted into the detailing at the top of the leg. It helps emphasise how high the bow is, which I like.
I’m used to — and prefer — boots with zips at the front on the inside, and these work very well. Who needs to fiddle around with boot pulls on dressage boots, eh? These are easy to do up, don’t try to undo themselves while you’re riding and do not catch or snag when being done up. Other boots I’ve had have been fiddly to zip up, catching on the little leather skirt inside that’s supposed to shield your leg from the zip.
And I did give these boots a fairly hard time during the test, including getting them very muddy one day while out galloping in wet conditions. I was careful to give them a proper clean afterwards and was pleased to find that any residual grit didn’t affect the zip’s smooth glide.
In the eight months I’ve tested them, these boots haven’t dropped at all and I’ve had to continue to use the heel raisers. I don’t actually mind that though. It probably indicates that after years and years of use they would only drop minimally, which is ideal as nobody likes the saggy wrinkled look — especially not in a pair of competition boots.
However, it does mean that each time you put them on you have to shove your hand in to make sure the heel raiser is in the right place. But that’s not a big drama.
And, for the real divas out there, you can even order them with crystal tops. Sign me up!
Our reviewer loved these boots which are fashionable and functional