Ariat vs Justin: All You Need to Know
You put on your cowboy or cowgirl boots and then ride off into the sunset…
But wait. We have a tiny problem.
What boots are we talking about? Because if you’re torn between those Ariat and Justin beauties…Well, you’re not alone.
Me and Kate reached a very simple conclusion! Both brands give your feet a sturdy, comfortable experience with their cowboy or work boots. However, they also differ a bit from each other too.
Let me first ask you:
Your feet. How wide are they?
While we’re on the topic of sizes, note that usually Ariats run slightly smaller across most of their boots. In contrast, Justin might run a bit larger. This can vary across some models, though, so always check what other buyers have said!
As always, keep the basic rule of thumb in mind:
You choose lace-up work boots for their comfort and cozy wrapping around your feet.
You choose pull-on western boots for those adrenaline-pumping riding moments!
Where are Justin and Ariat boots made?
It’s no secret: a whole lot of American manufacturing has been, sadly, outsourced to Chinese factories. The strategy of cutting costs seems to have reached western boot beauties too…
In Justin’s case, the brand notes that they ‘use the finest global parts’ and handcraft them in their US factories. No doubt that a lot of the ‘global parts’ come from China, but at least the final artisan touch is in one of the four facilities Justin have in the US.
As far as we know, Ariats are fully made in China – but they do run a very rigorous criteria on who exactly they work with. So, it’s not the typical Made in China manufacturing process.
Unfortunately, it gets increasingly harder and harder to find an all-US brand these days…
Maybe Justin value the final artisan touch because of their longer history? They’ve been around for 130+ years. Ariats is still young at ~30 years of history but they sure know how to put some new technology in their working boots.
What about durability and comfort?
Both will last you for quite a while, if you’re worried about that. Keeping that in mind, Justin do run a bit tougher and sturdier which makes them better for tasks like cleaning stalls, for example. They’re built like tanks…well, in the form of boots that is.
On the other hand, Ariat score better in terms of looks. Also, the U Turn technology they use for some of their models is simply amazing. It completely reinvents pull-on boots with a perfect fit, ultra easy to slip into shoe wear designed for high arches and wide feet. Ariats usually also have gel-cushioned footbeds for more comfort.
The Fatbabies are simply gorgeous, especially the Royal Chocolate/Fudge design:
Click on the image above for pricing info
How comfortable and sturdy your boots of choice are doesn’t depend that much on the brand in this case. It’s more about which model of boots you pick for your needs.
For example, Justin’s Gypsy for women is very cozy and gorgeous. With its soft leather, it’s easier to break in and durable enough for general horseback riding. For really crazy riding times though, the Stampede Silver will prove more durable. Just make sure you grab some inserts, as the heel sits rather on the low side.
Same with Ariat. The Fatbaby Heritage is a staple, simply the brand’s most famous shoe wear for women. Obvious to see why: extra cushioning, wear-resistant, daring colors.
However, the shank is composite, not steel and overall they aren’t optimal for riding or stirrups.
If you want to do a lot of riding, you should be looking at the Probaby instead.
I think the Stampede series Justin has for men is the most practical choice. Performance storm welt, steel toes (on some of the models), absolutely resistant to oil, slipping and abrasive surfaces. Just an overall tough boot ready for any working challenge around the barn or ranch or riding.
The square toe model is pretty great and maybe even more durable due to the design too. In terms of cowboy style, the Waxy brown/sawdust is an instant classic.
On the Ariat side, the Workhog western boot is the unprecedented winner.
As I mentioned previously, the U Turn technology works extremely well with wide feet, and makes for easy pull-on experience. The storm welt construction is none other than Goodyear, there’s supplementary toe protection and the Duratred outsole takes care of slipping or oil hazards.
I feel both brands are great with their pull-on shoewear. With work boots…top recommendation lace-up style would be the ever classic Rugged tan Justin with steel toe:
Click on the image above for pricing info
Wrapping things up
As I mentioned, it’s mainly up to how your feet are constructed. In terms of other considerations, it’s not Ariat versus Justin per se, it’s more about shopping around the different styles of work boots or western boots they offer.
Personally, I’m leaning more towards Justin. However, in Kate’s opinion Ariat have more elegant selection of western boots for women!