A Guide to the Best Horse-Riding Boots
Feeling comfortable in the saddle is crucial, so it’s vital you find the best shoes to wear when horseback riding – and this can differ depending on your chosen discipline. The market for equestrian footwear is full of different styles, shapes, and materials, so knowing what boot is best for you can be difficult. To help you find your perfect fit, we’ve created a guide to finding the best riding boots for you.
The Best Tall Riding Boots
Tall riding boots, otherwise known as long riding boots, are your classic riding shoes and the standard competition footwear. These boots end just below your knee, providing support, protection, and style all at once. You’ll find tall riding boots in two main styles: field and dress. Each of these styles differ slightly, so let’s dive into which might be best for you.
Field riding boots are stylish boots characterized by a lace-up closure at the front of the boot. This gives the rider greater flexibility at the ankle and so they’re often a favourite for jumping as they allow for a heels-down foot position. They’re designed with soft leather which offers added flexibility. This not only provides freedom of movement but also allows riders to feel the horse’s barrel easily, making them some of the best boots for show jumping.
From an aesthetic perspective: with a sleek design, field riding boots are flattering on the leg, giving you an elegant look.
These more formal boots can be worn across a range of disciplines, but they are great for dressage because of their more polished look. You’ll find dressage-specific styles that are designed with stiffer materials and a straighter fit through the ankle. You’ll find that most dress boots are made with a higher cut on the outside of the leg, providing a sleek finish and extending up over the side of the knee.
The Best Short Riding Boots
Typically, short riding boots are the more informal option for riding and can be far more budget friendly. This makes them great for growing kids!
There are a whole host of variations when it comes to short riding boots, but let’s take a look at two of the most common styles.
Jodhpur & Paddock Boots
Short paddock boots are the perfect everyday riding shoes. Sitting just above the ankle they provide a great level of support, but the short style ensures good flexibility for daily riding. Designed with low heels they’ll sit in your stirrups perfectly. If you are using them as an everyday riding shoe, look for rubber or composite heels to avoid wet weather and muck leading to rot.
Many people prefer a short boot as they tend to have less pressure on the ankles and so can feel far more comfortable, especially when training. If you have kids looking to get into riding, these are the perfect option.
Paddock or jodhpur boots can also be paired with half chaps to give the illusion of a tall riding boot. They are designed to go over your short riding boot to provide both support and protection in the saddle. A paddock boot and half chap combination can also be worn for competitions, as long as they look sleek and smart
Another ankle-high style, yard boots are your most versatile boot, allowing you to switch between the saddle and the stables easily. Yard boots are, however, as the name suggests most commonly suited to your everyday yard work, designed to keep your feet comfortable and dry no matter the weather conditions.
Other Things to Look for in a Riding Boot
Now we’ve taken a look at some of the most common riding boot styles, and which might be best for you, there are a few other things to think about when looking for your next pair.
Riding boots come in a variety of materials from soft or stiff leather to rubber and canvas. You’ll need to make sure your riding boot is made of high-quality materials to withstand a variety of conditions, but also think about what you’re going to be wearing them for. Stiff leather boots are great for looking your best on competition days, but canvas boots can provide excellent comfort and are easy to maintain for your everyday riding.
Your heel needs to be tall enough to sit nicely in the stirrups, but not too tall that it becomes an inconvenience!
Horse-riding boots can be expensive. As a professional, think of your riding boots as an investment – if you buy a quality pair (and maintain them properly!), they’ll last a long time. As a beginner, paddock boots might be the best equestrian riding boots for you as the basic styles provide comfort and stability without the high price tag.