It started as a quick browse for a new pair of work boots.
But I was taken aback when I saw the Ariat Midtown Rambler.
This square-toe slip on boot has a rock and roll vibe that I couldn’t pass up.
So yes, I did get my pair of work boots. But I also picked up the Midtown Rambler for when the work’s all done and it’s time for play. Keep reading for my full thoughts.
Ariat Midtown Rambler Overview
The Ariat Midtown Rambler is different from the brand’s popular Rambler work boot. The Midtown Rambler is a pull on ankle boot—similar to a Chelsea boot, but with a lot more attitude.
There are two color options: Stone and Earth, both featuring distressed leather.
I picked mine up in Stone—I have plenty of beat up brown boots laying around to last me a lifetime.
As with any Chelsea-style pull on boot, there are two elastic panels at the side and a pull tab on the back that make it easy to get these boots on and off.
Things to Consider Before Buying the Ariat Midtown Rambler
The Midtown Rambler only comes in distressed leather options. If you’re looking for a shiny new boot, you may want to look elsewhere.
Also, this boot is very stylized. The sharp angles at the ball of the foot are quite pronounced, and the square toe adds about an inch and a half of length to your foot compared to regular sneakers or boots.
So the Midtown Rambler is definitely more of a cowboy fashion statement, which I wasn’t expecting. Let’s get into the details a little more and I can show you what I mean.
Ariat Midtown Rambler Review
As I opened my Ariat box, I was surprised to see just how distressed these boots really are. While it’s difficult to tell by the pictures online, the leather is an interesting, roughed up texture.
If you’ve ever worn a slimmer pair of Chelsea boots, know that these are a bit chunkier. There are some steep angles at the ball of the foot, and the square toe is pronounced.
Because the toe box is squared off, the Midtown Rambler adds about an inch and a half extra length so your toes don’t get crammed.
Some folks will like this, others might be surprised. But it’s definitely part of the western style.
Leather Quality and Care
Ariat doesn’t show any information about the leather on their website, and with its roughed-out texture, I’m not entirely sure what to make of it.
I also picked up the Ariat WorkHog in my order, and I love how creamy the full grain leather is on that work boot. But the Midtown Rambler is a bit of an enigma for me.
Ariat gave these an apt name. These waterproof work boots are tough. Combine that with Ariat's ATS comfort system, and suddenly working on your feet for 10-12 hours straight is much easier.
I can’t imagine that Ariat is using top quality leather and distressing it, and based on the feel, my guess is that the upper is genuine leather.
As for care, other than a pair of cedar shoe trees, there isn’t much you can or should do with this boot. Part of its appeal is its beat up rugged style, so conditioning the boot would only take away from the look.
Ariat uses their proprietary Duratread sole for the Midtown Rambler. The rubber seems solid and durable, which is good because it looks like this sole is primarily cemented to the upper.
That means there’s little chance of ever resoling this boot, especially given the shape of the boot, which is unique to Ariat.
The brand has gone the extra step to make the sole look distressed, which I think is unnecessary. It doesn’t take long for me to beat up a pair of boots, and I think a more classic rubber sole would’ve been a nice contrast with the roughed-up leather.
Fit and Sizing
The Midtown Rambler fits true to size—I wear a 10.5 in sneakers and ordered the same size for these boots. I’m happy with how they feel: not too tight on the instep or sides and with very minimal heel slip.
It’s important to note here that because the toe box is squared, the Midtown Rambler is a bit longer than your standard boot. If you were to compare this boot to some of the others in your collection, you’d probably find that the Rambler is a solid inch and a half longer.
I don’t mind this as it helps lengthen my foot and there’s that old adage about big feet—anything I can use to my advantage. But in my research I did see a few people make complaints about this feature.
If you have wider feet, Ariat offers the EE wide fit in addition to the standard D width.
There’s virtually no break-in period with these boots. The ATS Max insole is very comfortable and with the leather as distressed as it is, I didn’t experience any rubbing or soreness throughout the day.
The same was true for my Ariat WorkHog boots, so I’d venture to say that any Ariat boot is ready to roll right away.
What do Other Reviewers Say?
Most reviewers on the Ariat site are happy with their purchase. Some recurring gripes are that the Midtown Rambler doesn’t come in black (yet).
A few folks weren’t aware that this boot isn’t waterproof. Like most leather boots, it’s ok if these get a little wet, but if you’re standing in a rainstorm, your feet will get wet.
Ariat Midtown Rambler Alternatives
The Ariat Wexford is a little more classy, a little less bodacious. You don’t get the sharp angles at the ball of the foot and you don’t have the same distressed leather.
If I were to go back, I’d probably get the Wexford for a few reasons. The toe is square, but not as sharply as the Midtown Rambler. The leather is higher quality and is easy to care for. The Wexford is weatherproof, which makes it a solid boot for the winter months. And most importantly for me (when I’m spending over $150), the sole can be redone after it wears out.
For my money, the Wexford from Ariat is better quality and well-worth the small jump in price. On the other hand, it doesn’t have the same edgy style that the Midtown Rambler does. So if you’re looking for a rock and roll boot, the Wexford just won’t cut it like the Midtown Rambler.
Wolverine BLVD Pull On
You lose the square toe with the Wolverine BLVD Pull On, but you keep the western boot style. The BLVD Pull On is made with hand-burnished full grain leather and is Goodyear welted, which is the gold standard for bootmakers.
Again, like the Ariat Wexford, this Wolverine boots doesn’t have the same rock and roll attitude as the Midtown Rambler, but something tells me you’ve got enough of that already.
Moral Code Lawry
The Moral Code Lawry is a more classic English chelsea boot style made with full grain leather and a Goodyear welt. I’ve added this to my list of alternatives because Moral Code has some interesting color options like brown suede and an icy blue.
Full grain leather complimented with a Goodyear welt: the Moral Code Lawry is a steal at well under $200. It's the slightly chunkier English style boot that pairs very well with jeans.
My Thoughts Overall On the Ariat Midtown Rambler
What I Like
The sharp angles at the ball of the foot and the toe cap make for a masculine and rugged looking boot with plenty of attitude.
Ariat’s proprietary ATS Max insole makes for a seriously comfortable boot.
The heel is heavy and has a solid angle to it so it’s a good option for riding in stirrups.
What I Don’t Like
I don’t have trouble beating my boots up, so the pre-distressed look was too much for my taste.
The sole is stylized with the same distressing and it can’t be resoled after it wears out.
Who is the Midtown Rambler for?
The Midtown Rambler is a solid boot for anyone who wants to bring a rock-and-roll edge to their wardrobe. The square toe and sharp angles are one of a kind.
The Ariat Midtown Rambler is all about style. You have to love the sharp square toe and distressed leather look, because that’s the main event. Oh, the ATS Max insole is very comfortable, too.
But if those hard angles and beat up leather aren’t must-haves for you, I think there are better investments out there.
I’m a fan of Ariat—their WorkHog is an excellent and affordable work boot. I recommend the brand, but in this case, I would choose the Ariat Wexford over the Midtown Rambler.
I’ll beat up any boot that gets on my foot, so I don’t need help getting it distressed. For me, the waterproofing on the Wexford, plus the ability to easily care for the leather and resole the boot make it worth the extra money. And frankly, I’m not crazy about the Midtown Rambler style.
If you’re dead-set on getting the Midtown Rambler already, I assume it’s because the style speaks to you. If that’s the case, buy it. It’s one of the most comfortable and supportive boots I’ve worn, and it fits well throughout.
So if the Midtown Rambler is whispering in your ear, go with it. And if you want something a little more classic with a better build, check out Ariat’s Wexford boot.