But first let me tell you the story of my cheapo Ariat zip ups that I bought in Middleburg last summer. You know those ones I got for like $190, so I picked them up as schooling boots. Yeah, the zipper on the left boot began to fail above the ankle in February. Not at the calf where the boot is widest (and presumably under the most stress from the zipper's standpoint, I don't know), but just above the ankle. I cleaned the zipper best I could, which helped, but it kept splitting. So I took it to the local cobbler to have him install new zippers. Never again.
I walked in and requested a full-length elastic to be installed with the zipper. But this guy refused, and assured me that his zippers are heavy duty and don't need that elastic crap. They wouldn't split. Elastic would make the boots look bad. He guaranteed his work. Okay. So instead of turning around and walking out because the guy adamantly refused to do what I asked, I (like an idiot) agreed and handed over the boots to have him install new zippers with no elastic. Two weeks later I came back when I was told, and the boots weren't done. Zippers hadn't arrived. I came back a week later as agreed upon, and zippers were not installed, we checked the fit and he told me one more week. I was annoyed, but I preferred double checking the fit (I requested an additional 1/4" in the calf).
I came back a week later and it took exactly 30 seconds for BOTH zippers to fail in the calf and split. I went from having one boot with an issue at the ankle, to two boots that failed at the calf. To add insult to injury, we couldn't get the right zipper back down, so he had to cut that one off. I tried to explain that the boots didn't feel any tighter or different in the calf from before, but now they were splitting where that wasn't the problem before, that the zippers aren't solid, but he insisted that my leg got fat. He stood there and in the company of other customers insisted to me that the only explanation was that my legs were fatter than I originally thought.
I gave up. Told him to replace the zipper on the right boot again, and gave them to a barn friend seeing that the work was already paid for. The guy refused to do what I originally asked, insisted on another course of action that failed miserably, and I wasn't going to sink any more money into some not-great-quality boots. I was pissed and just left without really letting on how upset I was. The boots didn't feel any tighter. And I suppose if the fit in my OTHER TWO PAIRS OF TALL BOOTS had changed, then I would agree with the guy. But they haven't. So I'm not sure what happened, but those zip-up Ariats are gone, and I'm sitting here soaking my Dehners again so I can take them to the barn this afternoon and ride in them for the first time.
So that's my story and I'm sticking to it.