One of the biggest conundrums in the studio when buying black competition boots, is to gloss or not to gloss? What are the options and how do you decide what's best?
There are only three real choices of course - matte leather, possibly the most practical as you can polish out any minor scuffs and scratches and at competition time (importantly), hand them over to a loved one to polish like crazy on your behalf. No one is quite as precious if they're matte although don't mistake that for not watching (like a hawk) whilst said ‘precious boots’ are polished and let’s not forget that originally boots were ‘glossed’ by hand by those in the military who created the patent look with a dollop of spit and hours of polish (literally) so rest assured with a lot of effort you can create the perfect shine.
The next choice is pre-polished leather, which we refer to (not surprisingly) as 'polished' is marginally more practical than high gloss BUT this cannot be polished (however crazy) into anything more than the medium shine that it is. Great for those feeling that high gloss is a step to far and don't want to draw too much attention to themselves.
And finally, our high gloss is a superior gloss leather that won't crack but it will crease (at the ankle for example). No real maintenance required (you couldn't polish shinier!) but it is high maintenance. Rider beware here because unless you have the pleasure of having someone strap you into your boots before flinging you onto the saddle, you really don't want to do too much other than ride in these beauties. If you do scratch them be prepared to reach for the black nail varnish and try to blend.
It is worth bearing in mind that the workshop are not happy to add gloss to the foot of any model other than the Bia (due to how it is constructed) unless the client accepts that we will not add any warranty for the leather on the foot as the foot is going to be particularly prone to damage from minor scuffs, scratches and full on hoof marks.
Ultimately, it’s personal choice and the super glossy is, by far, the most coveted, stroked and admired in the studio but only the fearless or those who will not be deterred at all and have an entourage (consisting usually of Dad) are quite brave enough for the full on high gloss. It is undoubtedly beautiful but you have been warned - gloss is delicate and riding isn’t so it really is a case of being sensible.
A few tips worth considering:
- If you really want gloss and nothing else will do, order reinforced boots for the very best finish (see blog Reinforced or not reinforced).
- If you want the lowest maintenance, opt for matte leather and add gloss accents.
- If want a sheen but not the high maintenance gloss, opt for polished - the happy medium.