Let’s dispense with all the preamble, eh? GUESS WHAT CAME???
Some of you may remember that I caved and ordered some Romitelli boots when we were in Ocala a couple months ago. They have a permanent store at WEC, and I guess 3rd time is the charm because I’d been in there twice before to drool over and pet all the boots, but this last trip was when I finally caved and ordered some. To be fair I’ve lost 25lbs this year and none of my other boots fit anymore, so… it was justified. Plus black glitter, need I say more?
While it’s too soon to give a full review (I’ve had them for two days and I’ve ridden in them once, so…) I figured I could at least relay how I felt about my trying/ordering/delivery experience and my initial impressions of the boots. I feel like ordering boots is sort of like ordering saddles – some companies just seem to have a lot more horror stories than others. Luckily this is not one of those stories.
As I said, I bit the bullet and ordered them at the WEC store. I walked in there with an idea of what I wanted, not sure if I’d have to go the custom or semi-custom route, and thought “Ok if the price they give me is under X dollars, I’ll get them”. I like to do that a lot when I shop, as if it leaves it up to fate or something. Just… pretend it makes sense, I know I’m weird. Anyway, I walked in the store and the saleslady (who’s name I wish I could remember but I’m terrible at names) took one look at me and pulled two sizes off the shelf to try. She’s good at her job, both pairs fit, but we agreed that the taller and slimmer pair fit a bit better. Luckily I am a pretty averagely proportioned person, so I wouldn’t have to go the full custom route, I could just order whatever options I wanted in the standard size.
And there were a ridiculous amount of options. Like a whole basket full to the brim of swatches, plus a big binder. It was overwhelming. I went in knowing that I wanted a sparkly black top, though, so it was just a matter of finding the right sparkly black. Which sounds kind of easy but still I was sitting there with like 6 different options after I’d narrowed it down the first time. And then once I’d decided on which sparkly black I liked, I had to decide what shape I wanted the top to be and how big (I went for the standard bow top) and then if I wanted any other detailing (I’m a sucker for a bit of brogue), and then what type of leather (I went for the regular, which is softer), and toe shape (traditional). It was really tempting to be a bit more “creative”, but I wanted these to be show boots that were a little bit fun but still classic enough to where I wouldn’t get tired of them in a couple years and they could still go with any outfit.
When I ordered she said it had been taking the factory in Italy about 5-6 weeks to get them to the US, then add another week or so to get them shipped to me in Texas. In my head I was like “yeah right, so maybe 10-12 weeks”. I don’t have a lot of faith in timelines right now and let’s face it, horse stuff has never been particularly stellar at on-time delivery even when there aren’t supply chain shortages and shipping delays. So I basically just forgot about them for a while, and then after Thanksgiving I got an email from UPS saying I had a package on the way. That was 8 weeks – not bad! Faster than I was prepared for, anyway.
Naturally as soon as I got the shipping notification I started to second guess everything. What if they didn’t fit? I was especially concerned about that part, because normally I wear a 39 but the boots I liked in the store were a 38… the website calls those 7-7.5 and I wear an 8-8.5, all of my boots before have been 39, so what if we had somehow messed that up and my feet didn’t even fit in them? I was just crossing my fingers and hoping they would fit as well as the ones I’d tried on in the store.
Luckily when they arrived and I pulled them out of the box, they were perfect, at least looks-wise. Everything I had envisioned, for sure. They looked a little small and slim to my eye though, so I was nervous. I tried them on with shorts and no socks the first time, and to my complete relief my feet settled right in and I was able to zip them up with only a moderate amount of effort. Tight in the calf, yes, as they’re supposed to be, and needed to drop a bit for sure, but… they fit just like brand new boots should! Maybe even better than the ones I’d tried on in the store.
I wore them yesterday to ride and while they still need to loosen up a teeny bit at the instep, they’re super comfortable already. I can walk around in them and ride in them without a problem. The left calf is still a bit tighter than the right, but I can zip it without too much strain. I think in a few more wears they’ll be absolutely perfect.
As far as my initial impressions when it comes to quality, they remind me most similarly of my Tucci boots. The leather is more rugged than something super thin/soft like Parlanti, and it has more structure than those do so it will likely wear a lot better over time. Clearly they’re still soft enough to break in easily and be comfortable, so I think the leather they chose strikes a good balance. They’ve got all the high end details like a zipper guard at the heel, the little zipper slot at the top to secure the zipper, the elastic gusset, etc. For the price point (under 1k) I’m pretty impressed with them so far. We’ll see how they wear over time.
Once my bank account recovers from all the blows it’s taken lately I definitely want to get a brown pair. Now that I know how well these fit and how easy the process was, I’d happily go back for a repeat experience, plus I’d like to keep these black glittery ones more for lessons/shows/etc, so a brown pair would be perfect for everyday. I couldn’t help but notice that they actually have a brown pair in stock in my size….
I will say that I think being able to go to an actual store with a good/experienced rep and try stuff on and see the options in person makes such a big difference. From measuring myself and looking at the size chart I would not have picked the size I ended up in… what I picked would have fit, sure, but not this well. If you ever find yourself near WEC it’s 100% worth it to go by the store and get fitted in person. Shoot, it’s a cheap/easy flight to Orlando from most places. I’m pretty sure Romitelli does virtual fittings, so that could be an option too. I’m really pleased with my experience with them so far.
It feels great to have some good-fitting and pretty boots again… they make everything better.