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Where Are Ariat Boots Made? A Deep Dive into Their Origins

Last updated: August 30, 2023

By: Miles HenryFact Checked

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When I slipped on a new pair of Ariat boots recently, my inquisitive grandson posed a question: “Where are Ariat boots made?” Admittedly, I wasn’t sure. So, eager to satisfy both our curiosities, I reached out directly to Ariat for clarity.

Ariat responded, “Hello, Our boots are made in China and Mexico. Some boots that are from our line called Two24 are made in the United States. All the products are designed in Union City, CA. Thanks”, Suzanne Vosburg- Ariat Customer Service – Case CS0094524. So, Ariat boots are made in either China or Mexico, except for a line called Two24.

The iconic cowboy boot is undeniably symbolic of America. Yet, does this mean they should exclusively be made in the USA? The choice of a boot encompasses various factors, and its origin might be an essential consideration for some, while others might focus on design, comfort, or brand loyalty.

Picture of my ariat boots made in China.
Ariat Boots

Ariat Boots: A Brief Overview

Have you ever taken a moment to think about where your boots come from? Let’s dive deep into the story of Ariat, one of the big names in the boot world.

The Birth of Ariat

Back in 1993, two co-workers, Beth Cross and Pam Parker, were having a chat. They realized something was missing in the world of equestrian footwear. While athletes had high-performance footwear, horseback riders were stuck with traditional boots that lacked modern technology and comfort. And so, Ariat was born. Named after the legendary racehorse Secretariat, the company set out to revolutionize riding boots.

Standing Tall in the Market

Fast forward to today, Ariat has established itself as a go-to brand for many. Why? Well, for starters, they’ve always been about blending tradition with innovation. They took the classic design of equestrian boots and infused it with the latest technology.

This means whether you’re riding a horse, working on a ranch, or just hitting the town, you’ve got a boot that’s both stylish and comfortable. But what really sets Ariat apart? Their commitment to quality and innovation. They don’t just make boots; they craft experiences.

They listen to their customers and constantly adapt, ensuring every pair of boots meets the demands of modern life. In a world flooded with footwear options, Ariat’s reputation shines through. They’re not just another boot company; they’re a brand that’s earned respect by staying true to their roots while always looking forward.

So, next time you slip on a pair of Ariat boots, remember the story and the dedication behind every stitch. It’s not just footwear; it’s a legacy.

picture of the tag inside my Ariat boots showing they are made in China,
Tag inside my new Ariats

The Origin of Most Ariat Boots

Ever paused to think about where your boots’ journey started? Let’s uncover the mystery behind the manufacturing homes of Ariat boots: China and Mexico.

From the Crafting Houses of China and Mexico

A significant chunk of Ariat boots spring to life in the bustling factories of China and the skilled workshops of Mexico. These two nations have rich histories in producing top-notch footwear, and Ariat has tapped into their deep wells of expertise.

Why China and Mexico?

  1. Cost Efficiency: Manufacturing can be a pricey affair. By establishing facilities in China and Mexico, Ariat ensures they produce high-quality boots without sky-high price tags. This approach allows the company to pass on savings to the consumers, ensuring that you get great value for your money.
  2. Craftsmanship: It’s not all about the costs. Mexico has a rich tradition of boot-making. The country’s artisans have been crafting leather goods and footwear for generations. Similarly, China’s massive production infrastructure and technological advancements make it a top choice. In both countries, Ariat can rely on skilled hands that know the art of making sturdy and stylish boots.
  3. Supply Chain Efficiency: Being in locations that have well-established manufacturing ecosystems means that materials, machinery, and manpower are readily available. This ensures smoother production cycles and faster turnaround times.
  4. Market Accessibility: China and Mexico are strategically located to cater to both Eastern and Western markets. This geographic advantage allows Ariat to efficiently distribute their boots to a global clientele.

In essence, Ariat’s choice to manufacture in these nations isn’t merely a game of numbers. It’s about blending cost-effectiveness with craftsmanship, ensuring every boot wearer gets the best of both worlds. So, when you lace up or zip up those Ariat boots, you’re stepping into a product born from global collaboration and strategic planning.

The Ariat Design Process: Rooted in Union City, CA

When it comes to Ariat, the heart of its innovation and creativity pulsates from Union City, California. But why does the design process hold so much significance, and how does it meld with the boots crafted oceans away?

The Soul of Ariat: Its Design

Every boot has a story, and for Ariat, that story starts in Union City. Design isn’t just about how a boot looks; it’s about its essence, functionality, and the emotion it evokes. And that’s what the Ariat team in Union City focuses on.

They delve deep into understanding the needs of their customers, whether they’re rodeo athletes, ranch workers, or fashion aficionados. By anchoring their design process in Union City, Ariat ensures that each boot encapsulates the brand’s values and spirit.

Why Union City?

Union City isn’t just another location; it’s home turf for Ariat. It’s where the brand was conceptualized, and it holds the core identity and heritage of the company. Having the design hub here provides a grounding point, ensuring the brand remains true to its roots while embracing global influences.

Marrying Californian Creativity with Global Craftsmanship

Once the designs are conceptualized in Union City, they embark on a journey to China and Mexico. But how does a design born in California take physical shape abroad? Through meticulous communication, technological tools, and collaborative effort.

Ariat ensures that every intricate detail, from the curve of the arch to the placement of a stitch, is communicated clearly to its manufacturing partners. Modern technology, including 3D modeling and virtual prototyping, allows the design team in Union City to virtually “be” in the workshops of China and Mexico.

This seamless integration ensures that boots crafted abroad embody the same spirit and quality as envisioned by the designers. Ariat’s boots are a beautiful dance between Californian innovation and global craftsmanship. Every pair is a testament to the brand’s dedication to design perfection, no matter where in the world they’re made.

picture of a horse in the old west.

The Significance of Cowboy Boots in American Culture

Cowboy boots: rugged, stylish, and quintessentially American. But to truly appreciate them, one must delve deeper into their significance, spanning generations and embodying the spirit of an evolving nation.

The Symbolism of Cowboy Boots

At their core, cowboy boots represent the American frontier – a symbol of resilience, freedom, and the Old West’s undomesticated spirit. To wear them is to don the essence of explorers, settlers, and cowhands who traversed vast landscapes in search of a better life or simply to uphold the demanding duties of ranch life.

Beyond their historical significance, cowboy boots have also emerged as a fashion statement. They’re a testament to individualism. The diverse patterns, intricate stitching, and varying lengths and cuts allow wearers to express themselves, making each pair as unique as the person wearing them.

Historical Relevance and Its Current Status

The cowboy boot’s history is deeply rooted in the mid-1800s, as the need for durable footwear became evident in the cattle drives of the American West. Traditional footwear simply couldn’t withstand the rigors of cowboy life.

Thus, the cowboy boot was born – characterized by high shafts to protect against thorns and rattlesnakes, a pointed toe to easily slide into stirrups, and a defined heel to hold the foot securely in place.

Over the years, as America urbanized and industrialized, the cowboy boot could have easily faded into obscurity. Instead, it evolved. From the cinematic screens of Hollywood to the stages of country music stars, cowboy boots found new life in popular culture.

They became synonymous with the American ethos of rugged individualism, resilience, and unyielding spirit. Today, while fewer people might be herding cattle or riding on horseback, cowboy boots remain ever popular.

They’re a blend of function and fashion, worn proudly by folks from all walks of life. Their continued relevance is not just a nod to their practicality but to their cultural significance, a reminder of a bygone era and the ever-enduring American spirit.

In essence, cowboy boots are more than just footwear. They’re wearable pieces of history, echoing tales of the past while remaining firmly planted in the present. Whether worn for work, style, or a blend of both, they continue to be a cherished part of American culture.

Picture of me wearing cowboy boots with jeans.
Ariat Amos Cowboy Boots

Factors to Consider When Purchasing Boots

Ever stood in a store or scrolled online, overwhelmed by the plethora of boot options? Choosing the right pair can be more complex than it appears. Let’s break down the key factors you should consider to ensure your next boot purchase is spot-on.

1. Quality and Craftsmanship

A boot isn’t just a boot; it’s an investment. When assessing options:

  • Material: Look for genuine materials, especially when considering leather boots. Authentic materials tend to be more durable and age gracefully.
  • Stitching & Details: Examine the seams, patterns, and overall finish. Consistency and neatness can often indicate a well-crafted boot.
  • Comfort: A boot that looks great but is uncomfortable isn’t worth it. Consider the insole quality, arch support, and overall fit.

2. Brand Reputation and Loyalty

While a brand name shouldn’t be the only deciding factor, it can often indicate consistency in quality.

  • Track Record: Established brands, like Ariat, often have a track record of producing reliable and high-quality boots.
  • Customer Reviews: Dive into reviews and feedback. Previous customers can offer valuable insights into fit, comfort, and durability.
  • Brand Values: Aligning with a brand’s ethos can enhance the satisfaction you derive from your purchase. If a brand stands for sustainability, craftsmanship, or any value you hold dear, it can make wearing their boots all the more special.

3. Manufacturing Origin and its Impact on Decision-Making

In our globalized world, the origin of products has become a significant consideration for many consumers.

  • Ethical Manufacturing: Being aware of where and how your boots are made can be crucial. Brands that prioritize ethical manufacturing practices ensure that workers are treated fairly and that production is sustainable.
  • Cultural Authenticity: For products with deep cultural roots, like cowboy boots, the place of manufacture can be a point of authenticity. Some consumers prefer boots made in regions with a rich history of boot-making.
  • Economic Considerations: Sometimes, supporting local or national manufacturing can be a way of bolstering economies closer to home.

Boot purchasing isn’t a mere act of buying footwear. It’s a journey of aligning your needs, values, and aesthetics with the right pair. With these factors in mind, you’ll be well-equipped to make a choice that’ll have you stepping out in confidence.

picture of a cowboy boot in a saddle stirrup, ariat boots, made, country, boots,

Are American-Made Boots Better than Imported Boots?

Yes, American boots are typically made with higher quality craftsmanship and from a better grade of leather than imported boots. American-made cowboy boots are famous for their unparalleled class and durability.

Expect to pay more for U.S.-produced cowboy boots than imports, but American-made boots last longer, fit better, and feel more comfortable. Ariat makes excellent imported boots that strive to match American-made boot standards.

If you want to find out where the boots you’re considering were made, the best way is to check the label inside the boot’s shaft. Sometimes the information is available online from the seller, but not always.

What countries provide leather to make boots?

The most common leather used in bootmaking is cowhide. The United States is the world’s largest exporter of cowhides. Before cowhides can be used to make boots, they must be processed into leather through tanning.

The cowhides the U.S. exports are mainly wet blue leather products and wet salted cattle hides. Wet blue leather hides have gone through the first stage of the tanning process, while wet salted hides are hides preserved in a brine solution.

China is the largest buyer of cowhide and the biggest producer of leather in the world, followed by Italy, Brazil, Korea, and Russia. It’s estimated that China supplies 80 percent of the leather worldwide.

Leather tanning

Leather tanning is the process of preserving animal skin and making it easier to work with, softer, and waterproof. The method used to tan leather is the most critical step in leather production. Tanning leather involves a series of steps, and the procedure applied to tan the leather and the skill of the tanners are instrumental in the quality of leather.

Italians are renowned for their leather processing skill. Processing leather is labor-intensive; it has to be cut, punched, sewn, and glued. Labor for such grueling tasks is expensive in the United States, which is another reason so many boot companies moved to Asia.

But with cheaper labor, quality is often sacrificed. Asian manufacturing plants are designed for high volume and not necessarily high quality.

Conclusion- Where are Ariat Boots Made

Stepping back and reflecting on my own journey with boots, I realize that the stories stitched into the leather are as essential as the style they showcase. Each time I pull on a pair, I’m not just wearing footwear; I’m wearing history, craftsmanship, innovation, and the dreams of countless individuals.

However, the modern world presents us with choices – countless choices. From brands to designs to origins, we’re in a time where our options seem limitless. Yet, with these choices comes the responsibility to be informed and to understand what each decision means, not just for our feet but for our values, our culture, and the world we wish to shape.

To you, I say this: As you embark on your next boot-shopping adventure, take a moment. Dive deeper than the surface, beyond just color and style. Think about the hands that crafted them, the place they were born, and the brand’s story. What resonates with you? What aligns with your values?

Remember, every step you take in those boots carries a story. Make sure it’s a story that matters to you.

What are the best Ariat steel-toe work boots?

Ariat makes a lot of good steel-toe work boots, but my favorite is the Ariat men’s Sierra wide square steel-toe work boots. To read about these boots and some other top Ariat steel toe work boots, check out this article: The 3 Best Ariat Steel Toe Work Boots.
You may also find my review of Ariat Groundbreaker boots helpful: Ariat Groundbreaker Square Toe Work Boots Review

How do you break in a new pair of Ariat boots?

The best way to break in a new pair of Ariat leather boots is to wear them, but if that doesn’t work, hold the boot over a pot of boiling water and let the steam rise into the shaft. The heat and moisture relax the leather. Next, put your feet in the boots and walk around. You can find some more helpful tips here: How to Break In Leather Ariat Cowboy Boots Quickly?

Miles Henry