After much deliberation, I finally ordered the Deniro Ottaviano Aurora boots from SmartPak back in April. Right out of the box, they were a stiffer leather than I was expecting, but they were still gorgeous, and I could tell they were a high quality leather.
I couldn’t quite zip them all the way up over my cotton socks, but with my Tailored Sportsman breeches and a nylon sock, after wearing them around a little and warming the leather, I could zip them basically to the top. Right behind the knee they were the a bit too tight, but on the second wear I was able to get them that last little bit.
I thought about returning the boots, but after reading that this was pretty normal and the boots would stretch quite a bit, I opted to keep them and just try to break them in. On the first ride, I couldn’t actually put my heel down, and I couldn’t feel my horse at all, because the boots were so stiff and tight.
4 rides later, I can put my heel down a little, but I got a nasty blister along the inside of my knee because of the fit and where the boots sit, and I still have to pick a ride where we aren’t doing anything hard to work on break in, since my leg is not very effective in these boots thanks to the restriction and stiffness.
Eiki tall boots run in the $430-460 range for the base models, which are gorgeous even before being customized, and are shipped in about 22-30 days according to their website, which for custom boots is lightning fast.
There weren’t a ton of reviews to be found, though I did find 2 threads on CotH that seemed only to have good things to say about the company and their boots, which is almost unheard of. They’re apparently all the rage in California, and it sounds like they are pretty soft right out of the box but can still take a beating. Unlike some of the custom boot companies out there, it sounds like they’re pretty good about getting the fit right on the first try as well.
After emailing SmartPak and remembering why I love them so much, I’m sending my Deniro’s back for a full refund, and I’m going to order a pair of these lovely boots, or possibly the Oh-Stars. I’m thinking a punched leather toe cap, and maybe a border along the top, with just the edge in punched leather? There seem to be an endless number of customization options, and I can’t wait to make these my own. They even have colored piping options, but I don’t think I’ll get that crazy.
All of the boots come in black, brown, or chocolate, and they even do custom paddock boots starting at $130! Since there are a lot of off the rack paddock boots that cost much more, this seems like a steal to me.
I wanted so badly to love the Deniros I ordered, but I’m so excited about this alternate option.
Have you guys had any experience with this company and its boots?