I only wear Ariat Heritage lace up paddock boots and they last me for years. Always buy lace up. Laces are easier to replace when they go bad than a busted zipper. As children my sisters and I went through zip up boots so fast by busting the zippers, and they would be less than a year old. I will admit, I am not trekking 4 miles a day in them, but I wear them to ride, muck, wash, tromp around the yard. And I sometimes don’t clean them until they are caked in muck/mud and I can’t get it off by brushing. I like the Heritage sport, they are waterproof and run about $90. I bought mine new in May to replace my old ones. They break in fast, are extremely comfortable and really are waterproof (unless you go in deeper than the boot is tall). They are only just now starting to show some scuffs, and they clean and oil up well. Much nicer than buying a synthetic boot as well. I don’t buy new ones until the leather has ripped open and there are holes right where the ball of my foot is. I vote for wearing sneakers to walk to the barn, and throw your boots in your backpack or just keep them at the barn. Then you wear out sneakers instead of your nice riding boots. Keep saving for those tall boots! They sure are nice. I just saved up enough to buy my first pair so I am in the same boat as you, I want to keep them nice.