Horse Riding Boots

The Ultimate Guide to Horse Riding Boots

Horse riding boots are an important piece of equestrian attire. Whether you enjoy hacking out, schooling, doing yard work, or competing , good quality, comfortable riding boots  contribute to your safety and comfort as well as making it easier for you to maintain the correct leg position when you ride.

Having the right footwear for horse riding cannot be understated. Made specifically for riding horses, boots for men and women are available in a wide range of prices, styles and quality. Ill-fitting riding boots effect your comfort, safety and enjoyment while riding. It is important to take your time to make the right choice for you.

How to choose equestrian riding boots

Choosing the perfect boot can be complicated. The equestrian market is filled with riding boots of all shapes, sizes, styles and materials. How do you know you’re investing in the right ones?

Let’s have a look at the different options on offer and the activities they are best for, so you can make an informed choice.

Types of horse riding boots

There are two main styles of boots to choose from in the UK:

  • traditional long riding boots
  • short riding boots

Each boot style is expertly designed and engineered to complement different riding styles and equestrian activities.

Long riding boots

Sometimes referred to as ‘tall’ riding boots, they are the traditional style of English riding footwear as well as being the standard equestrian footwear for all genders and ages of horse riders.

Long riding boots extend up the rider’s leg to just below the knee preventing the rider’s legs from being pinched by the stirrup leathers on the saddle and helping grip the saddle. This type of boot comes in three different styles, each designed for use in a specific English riding discipline:

  • field boots
  • dress boots

All long riding boots share obvious similarities in length but vary in fit, aesthetics and functionality. Regardless of style, black is the most popular colour – especially for competition. For non-competitive and casual riders, brown boots are a tasteful alternative.

Long riding boots can be made from genuine leather, synthetic leather or other synthetic materials (e.g. rubber or PVC) and will either be the traditional ‘pull on’ style or have a full-length zip at the back. The discreetly placed zip makes getting the boots on and off easier making it the preferred option for many riders.

When you’re choosing your long boots, remember to make a note of your foot size as well as your calf length and circumference at the widest part, to ensure you buy the ones that will fit you best.

Field boot

This style of tall leather boot features a lace-up closure at the front of the ankle. The lacing gives greater flexibility for the rider’s ankle. Field riding boots are favoured by riders in jumping disciplines such as

  • show jumping
  • eventing

The extra comfort provided by the lace-up closure makes a difference when riding with the shorter stirrup length required for the jumping position. The lace closure allows for more room when the foot is in the boot. People with a higher instep etc.  The lace also allows the boot be more comfortable instantly as you can flex your ankle when in the stirrup

Field boots are available in leather and synthetic leather, and in either black or brown (with black being the standard for competition).

Dress boot

A formal and stylish boot favoured by dressage riders and competitive show jumpers alike. In fact, the style is quite popular and you will see riders of other disciplines wearing them, too.

Dress boots are traditionally black in colour and made from leather, although rubber and synthetic dress boots (e.g. Harry Hall Start Child’s Riding Boot) are available for riders on a tighter budget.

Generally, dress boots have a higher cut on the outside of the rider’s leg which extends over the outside of the knee. This shape is called a Spanish Cut.

Short riding boots

Short riding boots offer an informal, inexpensive option for young children and beginner riders of all ages. 

If you cannot tolerate the tight fit of long riding boots a short jodhpur boot and gaiter or a paddock boot is your best option. And, it is an excellent option if you have difficulty finding a long boot that fits your foot and calf size perfectly.

If you will be competing in events or horse shows, check that short boots are acceptable in the class or event you will be entering and that the short boots and gaiters you choose meet the entry rules.

When choosing a pair of short riding boots, you will discover that there is a vast range of them available on the market. Many of the leading manufacturers have their own variations of features and styles including steel toe caps, elasticized panels and/or zips and waterproof materials. Some features make short riding boots suitable for general purpose wear so you can go from the yard to the school to the competition in comfort and style.

Depending on the manufacturer as well as the features and quality of material (e.g. leather or synthetic) you choose, this type of riding footwear can be affordable for all budgets.

Jodhpur Boots and Paddock Boots

Jodhpur boots and paddock boots are both short riding boots that, at first glance, appear to be quite similar as they both come up just above the ankle - providing support and flexibility - and have a distinct, low heel.

Wearing either of these short boots, you can go easily from yard to town while looking and feeling good.

There are two main differences between these types of footwear:

 

  1. Jodhpur boots are generally made of finer leather and are more likely to be used only for riding. As the name suggests, they are designed to be worn with jodhpurs.
  2. Paddock boots have a thicker sole and are meant for wearing around the yard.

 

Traditionally, jodhpur boots are pull on and usually feature elastics inserts that make it easy to slip them on and off.  Many styles now feature a zip in the front giving you more options for a comfortable fit and stylish look.

Whether made of quality leather or synthetic material, jodhpur boots are designed to stand up to everyday wear around the yard. The resin or rubber soles have a slip resistant tread giving excellent grip even on mucky or muddy ground. Most also have an impact and pressure absorbing insole to protect and cushion your feet whether you are walking or riding.

Jodhpur boots are recommended for small children and are a suitable choice for anyone taking occasional riding lessons or just starting out in horse riding.

Jodhpur boots and gaiters

Gaiters give a more stylish and elegant appearance than jodhpur boots on their own. Many adult riders find wearing short boots with gaiters or half chaps a great alternative to long boots – especially if they have sizing difficulties – without sacrificing comfort and leg protection. Also, they have more flexibility and comfort in their ankles and calves during long periods in the saddle.

The difference between gaiters and chaps

Before deciding between gaiters or chaps, it is important to understand the difference between them – particularly if you will be riding competitively. While gaiters may be allowed in some competitions, half chaps are not usually permitted.

Half chaps generally have a more casual appearance than gaiters and come in a variety of colours. They have a relatively basic shape and can be made of different materials including suede, suede alternatives and synthetic machine washable materials as well as leather. Half chaps may have features on the outside of the leg and/or near the back including broad elasticized panels, visible raised pads and a visible hook and loop fastener or zip and press stud closing.

Gaiters are generally made from either black or brown leather and are more similar to the look and fit of long leather riding boots than half chaps because they are shaped to fit the contours of the lower leg. Some gaiters even have the unique Spanish cut style found in long boots to elongate the line of the rider’s leg. The zip and other fastenings are well hidden.

Mucker boots and horse riding wellies

Mucker boots and horse riding wellies have become fashionable footwear for horse riders and non horse riders alike. They are a practical solution for keeping your feet warm and dry – while looking good - in wet and cold weather.

Specifically designed to be worn while in the yard or when working around horses, these hard wearing boots are the ideal footwear for when you are mucking out, tidying the yard, grooming or turning out horses.

Mucker boots are designed to provide maximum comfort and protection no matter what the weather making them a vital piece of footwear for around the yard. Made from lightweight yet extremely durable, sturdy and water resistant synthetic materials, these rugged boots easily stand up to the toughest outdoor jobs. Mucker boots have a well-padded sole and often feature a protective toe, they are also waterproof and can be easily cleaned.

Horse riding wellies are fashionable, lightweight boots made from durable rubber which makes them long lasting and very protective from the elements. Available in a variety of classic or trendy colours as well as printed with cheerful patterns, you will stand out for all the right reasons whether you wear them for shopping in rainy city streets, walking the dog along muddy country lanes, gardening or doing chores at the yard.

Both mucker boots and horse riding wellingtons are sometimes worn for riding. But be aware that you do need to take care when riding with this type of footwear. A heavy tread can become caught on the stirrup causing the foot to become wedged or stuck in the stirrup with serious implications if you are unseated. If you want to ride in these types of boots, check that the tread pattern is offset so that it does not go all the way across the sole. You may also need a larger stirrup particularly for mucker boots to fit without becoming jammed.

Country riding boots

Whether you are a horse rider, horse owner or simply someone who enjoys spending time outdoors, country boots are a modern and stylish, year round addition to your wardrobe. Designed for everyday comfort and support while walking rather than riding, these popular tall boots are made from waterproof, full-grain leather often with a suede upper, and include details like brass buckles or front lacing. Wherever you go, you will feel and look fantastic in country boots.

How to clean your horse riding boots

Investing in a pair of riding boots can be rather expensive, but they will last for years as long as they are properly maintained and cared for regularly.

Synthetic riding boots can simply be rinsed with water and mild detergent. Leather riding boots require more care and need to be regularly cleaned and conditioned using suitable leather products.

Store all of your riding boots in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. Long boots need to be kept standing upright by placing boot shapers inside the calves.

For long periods of storage, thoroughly clean your boots, condition leather, insert boot shapers into long boots and place them in a dust bag or box.

If you require any more help on choosing the right riding boot for you needs one of our expertly trained members of staff will be more than happy to assist. For online queries please contact our customer service team on 01234 567890.

Boot type Hacking Competing Yard Work Entry Level Premium
Tall boot Yes Yes No Super boot 100 Super boot 3000
Short boot Yes Yes Yes Mini Miami Anklertastic Boot
Paddock boots Yes No Yes Manure Magic Waterproof Wonder
Half-chaps Yes No Yes Acme Expando Acme Eastwood
Gaiters Yes Yes Yes Game-on Gaiters Glorious Legwear
Wellies Yes No No Wobbly Wellies Wonder Wellies
Trainers No No No    
Hiking boots No No No    

Horse riding boots for beginners

Whether you are new to horse riding and still deciding whether you’re ‘going through a phase’ or ‘hooked and in it for the long haul’, or you are shopping for a growing young rider, there are a selection of entry-level boots on the market to consider.

Inexpensive riding boots made from leather or synthetic materials are the perfect starting point for new riders as well as for occasional or growing riders. One thing that is for certain, you’ll want to feel secure and comfortable in the saddle on your first few rides. Being distracted because you’re concentrating on your balance, or feeling at the mercy of your horse rather than being in control of it, will cause you to miss out on the enjoyment that horse riding brings.

Avoid the rookie mistake of making do with regular outdoor footwear

Resist the temptation to reach for your trusty trainers, wellies or hiking boots. They really are not suitable because they

  • lack a distinct heel
  • have too much tread

Without a heel, you risk your foot sliding too far into the stirrup which negatively affects your leg position and stability in the saddle. You will find yourself struggling to get and maintain a secure riding position.

The deep tread on boots and shoes designed for other outdoor activities is excellent for giving you traction in the mud, but terrible in a stirrup. There’s a tendency for the stirrup to catch on the sole making it difficult to adjust your foot’s position in the stirrup when needed.

Finally, opting for smooth footwear with no grip whatsoever can pose a real danger when horse riding. Imagine the chaos that would happen if your foot simply slipped through the stirrup, becoming stuck and startling the horse at the same time. This is clearly not the way to enjoy your riding time!

Get a good pair of boots and you will have much more fun.

Still Not Sure? Just Ask – We’re Here To Help 

If you require any more help on choosing the right equestrian attire for your needs, one of our expertly trained members of staff will be more than happy to assist. For online enquiries, please contact our customer service team on 01702 597833

 

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