It’s the post you’ve all been waiting for! Or maybe not. In an effort to make the process very transparent, I’m including basic pricing in here as well, since that was one of several details I had trouble finding prior to ordering. Way back several months ago, I mentioned that I was on the hunt for tall boots. I tried a pair of Deniros that just weren’t a good fit, and then I discovered Eiki. I couldn’t find any U.S. retailers when I was researching the brand (I’ve since found that they can be ordered from Equ Lifestyle if you’re in Cali), and I had trouble finding reviews. Most of what I found was feedback on the Chronicle from people who loved them or measured incorrectly so that their boots didn’t fit well, but there wasn’t much in the way of an actual review or media out there.
I hemmed and hawed, and finally I emailed the company to ask about the differences between the two boots I was considering. Within a couple of hours I received a response (The answer: The Oh-Star and Voltaire boot differ only in the stitching details and are otherwise identical) and I decided to pull the trigger.
The base price on most of the boots is $425, and then you pay a little extra for some of the extra special features like a stretch panel along the back of the boot, a cuff along the top, and baby calf leather. This is when you’ll choose the leather color (they have 2-3 brown options, depending on the boot style!) and toe type of the boot as well. Your shipping costs are added to your total before checking out, so you don’t have to worry about surprises here.
All-in-all my total came out to about $540 for a full elastic back ($15 extra), a square toe, and punched leather along the toe cap seam and the top of the boot, and for shipping from Mexico (~$100). That’s less than I paid for the Deniros–on sale.
Once I placed my order, within 24 hours I received an email with an excel sheet and instructions for filling out my measurements and customization. This is the one point in the process where I wish I’d asked more questions: does the foot run small? big? true? How tall will the tallest point on the boot be? What benefit does the leather sole provide? Etc. Adriana at Eiki is very friendly and helpful, so I would absolutely encourage you to ask any questions you have at this point to make sure you get exactly what you want.
The answer to foot size is that they run true, if not maybe even just a little big. If you’re going with the full elastic panel, I would keep your measurements around your calf snug, but if you’re just doing leather, keep them pretty exact, and the boots will hug your calf perfectly. The square toe option is “Fine Last” and they can literally do anything you can come up with as far as customization. Anywhere there is stitching they can do colored piping or punched leather, and I wish I’d put punched leather on pretty much every seam on my boots, because the way they do it is soo pretty.
I didn’t have a special boot fitter to do the measurements for me, so I just had J help me. We did most of the measurements 2-3 times to ensure we were being as accurate as possible, and they have you measure every 3 cm down your calf to ensure a really perfect fit. There is a super helpful video sent with the sheet to help show where exactly to measure, and it was easy for J and I to get the measurements knocked out in about 30 minutes.
About a week after I sent in my measurements, I received a mock-up of my boot to approve, I sent my confirmation, and then 3-4 weeks after that I received my boots in the mail via FedEx. A word of caution here: review the mock-up carefully. On my ordering sheet, I accidentally changed the toe type and I didn’t notice the error on the mock-up. I did select a square toe when placing the order, but since the more recent size sheet had the classic toe checked, that’s what they made, which is fair.
They were packaged very securely, with rolls and rolls of tape around the box. When I pulled the boots out of the box, I was instantly impressed with the quality. The leather was soft, but still felt thick enough to be durable. Unfortunately, the foot was just too big, and as I mentioned above, they didn’t have the square toe I wanted.
I emailed Adriana, and I was told to send them back, and they’d fix both at no additional cost, and take a cm off the ankles as well since they were making the other adjustments as well. The caveat here, and one of the biggest complaints I’ve seen, is that you do have to pay for shipping back to the company. Had I been smarter, I’d have done a lot price shopping, but I assumed that since they were sent to me via FedEx, that Fedex was the best option to send them back.
As it turns out, FedEx is the devil. When I showed up to ship them, I was told the only option on Saturdays is to use Express Shipping, which was $175. I wasn’t sure I’d have time to come back on a weekday, and I was warned that sometimes Economy shipping ends up being more (????) so I paid the money and cried in my car a little then went on my merry way. I was slightly consoled by the fact that my boots would be there on Tuesday and if all went well, they’d be back in my hands within about 2 weeks. A week later, I got a call from international shipping asking for a phone number–which I did provide when dropping them off–for the recipient. Slightly annoyed, I gave the number and assumed everything would move forward.
I was wrong. After more than a month of trying to contact FedEx about the continued clearance delay, I filed a claim. Suddenly FedEx was much easier to get in contact with. In the mean time, Eiki had already offered to create a new pair of boots for me since FedEx was not allowing them to pick up the boots. They sent me a new mock up to confirm everything and pushed the new boots through production as quickly as possible. A+ customer service right there.
FedEx on the other hand, told me that after they waited three days and they hadn’t been picked up, even though the status still said clearance delay, they had put them in their “Abandoned Warehouse” and Eiki could pay a fee to get them out, or I could pay for return shipping. So the short version is that FedEx has literally been holding my boots hostage and is demanding a ransom to get them back. Once I finally get them back I’ve got someone lined up to buy them off of me so at least the story has a moderately happy ending.
I finally got the new pair of boots two weeks ago, right about 4 weeks after they told me they were going to start the process to re-do them, and they’re perfect. I thought at first that the foot might still be a bit big, but as they’re breaking in they’re fitting just right. I was able to ride in them the day I got them, and they’re breaking in beautifully with not a single blister or rub so far. Once they’ve had time to break in fully, I’ll give a full report on the boots themselves.
So to summarize, ask lost of questions during the ordering process. About sizing, customization options, and get creative! If after all of that there’s a problem when you get your boots don’t ship them back with FedEx. Despite the FedEx snaffu, I would absolutely order from this company again. One other thing I’d like to note is that the swagger tab piece has changed slightly. That probably doesn’t matter much to most of you, but I’m all about a fancy swagger tab. My new boots have a circle instead of the rectangle pictured on their site (which I’m totally cool with!), but otherwise everything is the same.