The Ultimate Guide to Long Riding Boots
Put your Best Foot Forward
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 supporting your leg for the correct position.
Having the right footwear for horse riding cannot be understated. Made specifically for riding, boots for men and women are available in a wide range of sizes, prices, and styles. Ill-fitting riding boots can definitely have an effect on your safety and enjoyment whilst riding. It is important to take your time when with decisions when it comes to riding boots.
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:
- 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.
This type of boot comes in different styles, each designed for different uses in the riding discipline:
- field boots
- dress boots
- stirrup friendly country boots
All long riding boots share obvious similarities in length but vary in fit, aesthetics and functionality. Long riding boots can be made from genuine leather, synthetic leather or other synthetic materials (e.g. rubber or PVC). Some styles you will see feature a full-length zip or also elasticated details - creating optimal fit and comfort. The discreetly placed zip makes getting the boots on and off easier making these a 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 - be sure to check size guides!
Our Top Picks
Above are some of our favourites, from a variety of styles, prices, and best brands such as Woof Wear, Ariat, Dublin, and Mountain Horse!
Click the images to view the products!
Short riding boots
Short riding boots are a great option as an informal, inexpensive option for young children and beginner riders of all ages, or as an everyday yard boot.
If you cannot tolerate the tight fit of long riding boots 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.
When choosing a pair of short riding boots, you will discover that there is a vast range of styles! 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 competition in comfort and style.
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.
There are two main differences between these types of footwear:
- 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.
- Paddock boots have a thicker sole and are meant for wearing around the yard.
Whether made of quality leather or synthetic material, Paddock 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 the 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. Or even the perfect option to be paired with some jeans for an equestrian style outfit.
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. 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. The zip and other fastenings are usually well hidden.
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 and then 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 these country boots.
Some of our Favourites...
Looking after your 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.
You can shop our range of footwear care here!
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 is 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.
Click here for a selection.
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:
- Can be dangerous - e.g. lack a distinct heel, unsuitable tread
- Not correct fitting - uncomfortable and can affect your riding
- Can rub on tack
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.
Consequently, 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!