Ariat Vs. Justin: Which Brand Is Better?

The style of the modern cowboy boot goes even further back than the age of cowboys. In fact, it goes all the way back to 12th Century Mongolia, where most equestrian wear comes from. Boots with a raised heel were easier for riding in. Further design of the cowboy boot is inspired by a combination of Hessian, Wellington, and, of course, vaquero styles. (Vaquero is Spanish for cowboy and is where the term “buckaroo” comes from.)

When the Civil War was over, former soldiers moved out west and took their horses and boots with them. (Grant allowed former Confederates to keep their horses.) In 1870, Charles Hyer modified the boot to have a taller shaft, no laces, a high underslung heel, a pointy toe, and a slick tread-less sole.

The stitching looks ornamental, but it has a purpose. It prevents the boot from folding towards the interior as well as keeps the leather from rubbing inwardly against the cowboy’s leg. The two major cowboy boot manufacturers are Ariat and Justin. How do they stack up?

ariat vs justin

Who Makes Ariat Boots?

Ariat has their boots made in factories in Italy, Mexico, and China as well as the United States. The company was founded in 1993 by Beth Cross and Pam Parker, graduates of Stanford Business School.

They applied athletic shoe technology to English and Western riding boots to make footwear for equestrian athletes. The company was named after Secretariat, the world-renowned racehorse and winner of the 1973 Triple Crown. Their logo is a trifoil made out of three horseshoes.

Are Ariat Boots Made In The USA?

They have some factories in America, but most of them are made overseas. Their HQ is in Union City, California.

Are Ariat Boots Handmade?

Some of the ones made in Mexico and Italy are. Most are factory-made.

Are Ariat Boots Real Leather?

It is genuine cowhide leather. This gives it a tough consistency that lets you walk through just about anything without doing damage to your boots or your feet.

Are Ariat Boots True To Size?

Ariats can run a little on the large side. It is suggested that you order half a size smaller than what your street shoe size is. A boot that fits well needs to fit your heel snugly. A small amount of movement in the heel is to be expected as you walk.

How Do Ariat Boots Fit?

Your heel should lift some as you walk but not too much. You should hear a faint “pop” as you put the boot on to let you know it’s on all the way. There should be a thumb’s width of space between your toes and the end of the boot.

Do Ariat Boots Stretch?

They’re not exactly silly putty but cowhide is somewhat stretchy if you put some effort into it. There are products you can spray on the boots to make them stretchier. There are stretchers and shapers specifically made for boots that work well. It’s a slow but sure method to wear the boots until they get softer and stretchier gradually.

How To Break In Ariat Boots?

The simplest way is just to put them on and go for a walk to break your boots in. You may want to wear two pairs of socks to do this. You can help things along by steaming the interior of the boot.

Some people soak them in lukewarm water but this is not advised because it can dry out the leather and make it fade. A stretcher made specifically for cowboy boots may be a good investment.

Popular Ariat Boots

  • The Heritage Roughstock Western Boot is one of Ariat’s best sellers. If you like the classic cowboy style with supreme durability, this is the boot for you.

Ariat Men's Heritage Roughstock Western Cowboy Boot, Earth/Brown Bomber, 9 D

Ariat Women's Heritage Western R Toe Western Cowboy Boot, Distressed Brown, 8 B US

Ariat Men's Rambler Wide Square Toe Western Cowboy Boot, Wicker, 9.5 M US

Ariat Women's Fatbaby Heritage Dapper Western Cowboy Boot, Royal Chocolate/Fudge, 8.5 M US

Are Ariat Boots Comfortable?

They are known for being very comfortable. Just remember to get the right style and size for your feet in order to get maximum comfort.

Are Ariat Boots Waterproof?

They do make a line of waterproof work boots. Ariat WaterProof Pro boots are made with waterproof premium leathers in order to provide supreme exterior protection. These waterproof work boots feature a durable and impermeable waterproof barrier that is breathable as well for comfortable protection that lasts a long time.

How To Clean Ariat Boots?

First, use a cloth to take away any mud, dirt, or residue. You may also utilize a dry eraser or a brush to get rid of any scuff marks. Should your boots get wet or saturated, you should take out the insole. You should then make use of an absorbent material such as a paper towel to dry the boot completely.

Do not use direct heat as this will lead to cracking. Once your Ariat boots are totally dry, apply a leather conditioner to the boots. Do keep in mind that you will never want to put a polish on distressed or suede western boots as that can drastically change the look and feel.

Do Ariat Boots Have A Warranty?

Ariat guarantees that all of their products to be absent of any defects in materials and workmanship. Their twelve-month warranty is valid from the date that it was bought.

This, however, should not be taken as a guarantee against normal wear and tear. It also does not apply to a product that has been damaged through accident, misuse, modification, unauthorized repair, or failure to follow care instructions.

How Long Do Ariat Boots Last?

It depends on a number of factors but they can last more than ten years.

Can Ariat Boots Be Resoled?

Ariat does offer a renewal option in order to extend the life boots bought from them. They will replace all parts with original Ariat soles, insoles, and laces to restore your boots to their pristine condition. Price varies based on the type of boots that need repair, but it can be between $70 and $150. Allow for three to four weeks for return delivery.

Are Ariat Boots Good?

They are of very good quality. The leather, the EVA midsoles, and everything in between provide the wearer with a balance of both durability and comfort. This is ideal for people who work ten to twelve hour days outside.

Who Makes Justin Boots?

Justin boots have been around a good deal longer than Ariat. Where Ariat was founded by a couple of businesswomen in the ’90s, Justin Boots was established in 1879 by H. J. “Daddy Joe” Justin, a shoemaker who traveled all over Texas providing boots to the cowboys.

With a $35 dollar loan from barber and first customer Frank See, Justin started his boot making business. Today, the business HQ is in Fort Worth, Texas. Justin Brands Inc. is owned by Berkshire Hathaway.

Are Justin Boots Made In The USA?

They are American made. Their factory is located in El Paso, Texas. They pride themselves on being very detail-oriented.

Are Justin Boots Handmade?

They use the same techniques and craftsmanships Justin used more than a century ago. So, yes, they are handmade.

Are Justin Boots Real Leather?

This is one of many details Justin Boots pride themselves on. They use fine, high-quality leathers for their boots. Most of the leather they use is cowhide, but their Justin Black Smooth Ostrich is made of ostrich and goatskin.

Are Justin Boots True To Size?

They can run a bit big. It is suggested that you buy your usual size or one-half size smaller.

How Do Justin Boots Fit?

Justin sees that as a matter of opinion. They do point out that instep; ball and heel are the three main things you need to consider when purchasing boots. Incidentally, it was Justin’s wife Annie Justin who came up with the “fit kit” so cowboys buying their boots through the catalog would know what size they needed.

Do Justin Boots Stretch?

The toe box will not stretch. The rest of the boot may stretch a bit with use. If you get the ostrich hide, don’t be fooled by its softness. It is actually very durable and hardly stretches at all.

How To Break In Justin Boots?

You break in Justins the same way you do Ariat and any other brand of cowboy boots.

Popular Justin Boots

Justin Original Work Men's Stampede Pull On Square Toe, Rugged Tan, 11 D US

Justin Boots Men's Ropers, Black Kipskin, 11 D US

Are Justin Boots Comfortable?

The reliable Justin roper is one of the most comfortable boots there is.

Are Justin Boots Waterproof?

Some of their work boots, such as the Stampede and the Gypsy, are waterproof. If the model has “waterproof” in the title, they likely are waterproof. Otherwise, you might want to do some waterproofing yourself to make sure.

How To Clean Justin Boots?

Start by removing any loose dirt from your boots using a soft bristle brush. Pay special attention to any wrinkles and crevices. Next, using a somewhat damp cloth spread saddle soap or leather cleaner on the leather and rub to get rid of stains.

After a good scrub with the saddle soap or leather cleaner, make sure to wipe off all of the soap using a wet cotton cloth. Do not let the saddle soap or cleaner dry on the leather. Once all the saddle soap or cleaner is taken off, allow the boots to dry completely before putting on conditioner or polish.

Do Justin Boots Have A Warranty?

Justin Boots does have a warrant promising their products to be devoid of defects in workmanship and material for a period of one year from the date of selling. This limited warranty runs to and is only valid for the first buyer.

How Long Do Justin Boots Last?

Cowboy boots can last more than ten years if you get a pair of good quality boots. Remember to use them for the proper purpose and keep them maintained.

Can Justin Boots Be Resoled?

They can if you get them to a skilled enough cobbler.

Are Justin Boots Good?

Justin boots are very well known for their excellent durable construction. They have a tendency to put together simple yet high-quality and durable materials. This produces sturdy boots that are guaranteed to last for many years.


Both Ariat and Justin run a little on the big side. Justin may be a bit more durable. Both are supremely comfortable. Ariat has the composite toe where Justin is often built with electrical hazard protection. Both companies make serviceable boots. See which one is best for you.


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