Early Christmas present - Packer boots!
Bought myself an early Christmas present this year (I am Santa Claus, you know). Bought a set of Packer boots for the big trip. Even though the trip isn't until 2015, figured I should start getting stuff and breaking it in! It is a pair of Hathorn Explorers, made by White. Good, tough boots, 1-3/4" riding heel, decent spur shelf, good welt and shank, light traction Vibram rubber sole. The ones I got have the round work-boot type toe. I figured the extra room would be good to help keep toes warm on cold days. Now that I've been wearing them, I might have chosen the riding toe, which is a bit narrower, because I am going to have to buy wider stirrups now. I have to work a bit to get my toes in the stirrups, and I'm sure I'd have trouble with an emergency dismount (voluntary or not). I'm going to give a pair of Ox-bow stirrups a try.
The one complaint I have about them is that they have a two-piece tongue and the seam crosses the bridge of my left foot right on top of the bone, it also coincides with where the boot lace comes through an eye, making a painful spot. I minimized it with some creative lacing. I expect it will break in and become more comfortable eventually. I'm sure that's just a factor of this particular left boot and my particular left foot. No two feet and no two boots are exactly the same. My right boot feels fine. It's the left that is the problem.
They ran $229. My dad has a pair of Double H boots that he likes. I prefer mine. They have a better shank, a little taller heel, and I think the leather is heavier.