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Ariat Boots Where are they Made and Does the Country Matter?

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When I was trying on a new pair of Ariat boots, my always curious grandson asked, what country are Ariats boots made in? I didn’t know where Ariats made their boots, so I sent an email to Ariat requesting their production facilities locations.

Ariat boots are made outside of the United States in either China or Mexico, except for a line called Two24. Here is the email I received from Ariat.

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

Cowboy boots are an American symbol, so should they be made in the United States? A lot goes into choosing boots, and where they are made may or may not be a consideration for you.

Ariat boots are made in more than one country.

Most boot companies make some of their boot lines outside of the United States, including traditional brands like Tony Lama and Justin. However, Ariat may be the only major boot maker to produce the majority of their boots overseas.

picture of me wearing my Ariat Amos cowboy boots,
My newest Ariats

Outsourcing cowboy boots have such a negative connotation to some people that they refuse to buy them. But undoubtedly, boot manufacturers accounted for the loss of sales in their decision to send their boot-making process overseas.

Deciding to outsource the construction of your product overseas is a big risk and the decision isn’t made lightly. To be competitive in today’s global economy, boot manufacturers outsource production.

Outsourcing to overseas markets saves high labor costs. Not only are salaries and hourly wages cheaper, but also payroll taxes and employee benefits.

Besides labor costs, most countries have fewer regulations regarding labor practices, material inspections, waste disposal, and other areas that lower the cost to produce goods.

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

Of course, the goal of all businesses is to make money, and the boot industry is no different. The business plan is to increase profits by lowering production costs and increasing sales.

Outsourcing may increase profits, but it takes money out of the American economy and often leads to inferior products. Every year fewer boots are produced in the U.S. However, there are smaller brands that pride themselves on making cowboy boots in the United States.

The National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association of America, Inc. (NCBFAA), provides a lot of good information about the effects of outsourcing in this article: Outsourcing Overseas and its Effect on the US. Economy

You can also click here for additional resources on the benefits and risks of outsourcing.

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 the 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.

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

What countries provide leather to make boots?

The most common leather used in boot making 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 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.

Interesting Facts About the Ariat Boot Company

The company was founded by two women, Beth Cross and Pam Parker, both graduates of Stanford Graduate School of Business. Upon Ms. Cross’s graduation, she worked with athletic shoe companies such as Reebok and Avia.

picture of Ariat, workhog cowboy boots,
My Ariat Work Boots

In 1990 Beth Cross left her position and, along with Pam Parker, started the planning to open a new and innovative boot company. In 1993 their hard work paid off, and they launched Ariat boot company—their first boots combined processes and materials used to make athletic shoes with horseback riding boots.

Since the introduction of their first boots, they have taken the industry by storm, leading in innovative boot design and technology.  With the success of their boots, the company expanded into outdoor apparel and accessories for equestrian sports and other outdoor activities.

But they didn’t forget their roots, designing and constructing the best horseback riding boots. They are the official supplier of footwear to numerous equestrian organizations that ranges from the Federation Equestrian International to the Pro Bull Riding Association.

Although they’re headquartered in California, most of the manufacturing occurs in Asia. The material used to make their leather boots also comes from foreign markets, but so are the material for most other boot companies.

  • The great racehorse Secretariat inspired the name Ariat.

Ariat Men’s Heritage Roper Western Cowboy Boot

This roper is a versatile cowboy boot you can use for working around the barn, riding your horse, or wearing to town. They’re not the perfect horseback riding boot but are sufficient. I like leather soles for riding.

What we like about these boots:

  • They are made from 100 percent quality leather
  • Their inch and half heel is comfortable
  • The sole is sturdy with grip
  • !0 shafts; for those of us who live in warm climates, we like short shaft boots because they are cooler than high rising cowboy boots.

Customer reviews of the Heritage Roper’s Cowboy Boots

Over 1,200 Amazon customers have provided reviews for these Ariat Ropers and rated them 4.4 out of 5 stars, which is pretty impressive. Here is a link to the reviews so you can read for yourself what those customers said:

Ariat Men’s Heritage Roper Western Cowboy Boot: customer reviews

ARIAT Men’s Rambler Wide Square Toe Western Cowboy Boot

The Rambler is a fantastic-looking boot. They are made with minimal swatches of leather, so there are fewer seams. The leather is soft and extremely comfortable.

picture of Ariat rambler cowboy boots,

What we like about the Rambler Square Toe Boots:

  • They’re made from 100 percent high-quality leather
  • The shaft opening is large, which allows you to slip your foot in easily
  • Simple styling
  • Square Toe gives ample room in the toe box

Customer reviews of the Rambler Square Toe Boots:

These boots averaged 4.5 out of 5 stars from over 2,000 Amazon customers. Here is a link to their reviews:

Ariat Men’s Groundbreaker Wide Square Toe Workboot

These are Ariat’s premier work boot and can be ordered with or without steel toe protection. They are designed to protect your feet and keep you standing even when walking in slippery substances.

picture of Ariat groundbreaker cowboy boots,

What we like about the Groundbreaker workboots:

  • They’re extremely comfortable
  • Non-slip soles
  • Square-toe, not only do they look good, the toe box is roomy

Customer reviews

Amazon customers love these workboots, they rated them 4.5 out of 5 stars. Here is the link so you can read what over 1,300 customers like about the Ariat Groundbreaker workboots.

Ariat Women’s Fatbaby Western Boot

Ariat hit a home run with these reasonably priced women’s cowboy boots. They are fashionable, functional, and comfortable. If you have high insteps, wide feet, or maybe not used to wearing cowboy boots, then these boots are for you.

picture of Ariat Fatbaby cowboy boots,

What we like about the Fatbaby boots:

  • Great price
  • Great style
  • Extremly comfortable

Customer reviews of the Fatbaby boots

Over 5,500 customers have taken time from their day to review the Fatbaby boots. This is a testament to how much they appreciate the fit, design, and comfort of these boots. Here is a link to their reviews so you can read why they like the boots so much:

Ariat Fatbaby boots: customer reviews

Ariat Women’s Unbridled Roper Western Cowboy Boot

The Unbridled boots are another excellently designed pair of cowboy boots for women from Ariat. They are simple yet elegant you can wear with a wide choice of outfits. They are also suitable boots to wear when horseback riding.

What we like about the Unbridled Cowboy boots:

picture of Ariat women's unbridled roper western cowboy boots,
  • They’re made from 100 percent high-quality leather
  • The toe box has plenty of room
  • Simple design with detailed embroidery on the shaft
  • Comfortable boots you can wear all night dancing

Customer reviews of the Ariat Unbridled Cowboy boots:

These boots have only been reviewed by over 400 customers but have earned a solid rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars. Here is a link to Amazon customer reviews of the Ariat Unbridled Cowboy boots:

Ariat Women’s Round Up Wide Square Toe Western Cowboy Boot

The Ariat Round Up boots are designed in the classical western style with a square toe. They’re very attractive and are great for wearing out to dinner or dancing. They also make good riding boots.

picture of Arait women's round up western cowboy boots,

What we like about the Ariat Round Up Cowboy boots:

  • Classical styling
  • Versatility
  • Comfort

Customer reviews of the Ariat Round Up Cowboy boots:

Amazon customers awarded the Ariat Round-Up Cowboy boots 4.6 out of 5 stars. Here is a link to their reviews:

What is the best Ariat steel toe work boots?

Ariat makes a lot of good steel toe work boots, but my favorite are 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?