Boots To Avoid
Perhaps in an attempt to save money, or just through their own naivety, many new riders reject traditional footwear when they first take up the reins, believing they can get along just fine with trainers or heavy-duty work or hiking boots.
However, these people often find out the hard way that these sorts of makeshift boots can be incredibly damaging and dangerous for riders, as they often lack the sufficient heel grip to stay on the stirrups and don’t promote a prompt and comfy seating position. If a hiking boot, they will also usually display a deep or unique thread that increases the likelihood of your foot getting caught at odd angles in the stirrup.
Types of Riding Boot
Although there are many different types of riding boot, they tend to be broken down into two main sections, the traditional long riding boot and the short boot.
Long Riding Boots
Otherwise known as tall riding boots these are pretty much the standard footwear for riders and are a classic, traditional item used in competitions and designed to provide protection and coverage for most of the lower leg.
Extending up to the knee, there are a few different versions of the long boot to be found on the market, with each one providing slightly varied functionality to help them thrive in more specific riding.
Probably the most popular choice of boot for show jumpers and event horse riding, field boots tend to feature laces to fasten which allows for more movement in the ankle. This helps jumpers easily manoeuvre their feet on the stirrups to quickly change into a jumping position.
A more traditional and formal looking boot, these are more favoured by dressage riders, although they do still get some use in event riding. They are the most commonly worn style of long riding boot and are suitable for every discipline of horse riding. Typically they are leather or synthetic material with a rubber sole.
Short Riding Boots
A more casual option for the experienced or simpler, less uncomfortable choice for very young riders, short riding boots are often the chosen boot of those who ride for fun, not competition.
Unlike long riding boots, they’re also a far more cost-effective option for those on a budget and still provide some great safety features. They’re also a far better general and all-purpose boot because they can be worn around the yard or in your everyday life without looking bizarre or difficult to walk around in!
The most common short riding boots are jodhpurs and paddock boots.
Coming up just above the ankle, jodhpurs are a seriously comfy leather boot, which offers a lot of flexibility and is generally made of leather. They’re a stylish boot with a pointed toe and low heel and look great out and about as well as in the yard, providing great cushioning material and a weatherproof rubber sole. They tend to be paired with gaiters or half chaps to provide more comfort when in the saddle, but with more added motion and easier wear than a long riding boot.
As their name suggests paddock boots aren’t generally used for horse riding despite often being sold as ‘riding’ boots. Instead, they tend to be designed for yard and stable activities and all the work that needs to be done when caring for horses. Designed to be able to withstand the muck and the mire they’re far more durable and comfortable than a standard wellington.
Things To Consider
Believe it or not, no one wears riding boots just because they look nice! Horse riding boots actually offer optimum support for the heel, sole and ankle for your comfort and protection, helping you maintain a good posture and position on your horse.
A safe and secure boot should always be closed-toed, with a small tread and larger heel of an inch to an inch and a half. This elongated heel ensures your foot traps securely into your stirrups and won’t slip and slide during rides.
Your riding boots need to be able to provide the suitable fit and protection for the discipline you’ll be using them for! Showjumping and competition riding naturally puts a lot more pressure and demands on your feet than a slow trot along the countryside!
In general, most manufacturers seem to utilise a combination of rubber sole and leather to construct their boot. However, some models use a synthetic material or specialised fabric and so you’ll need to check what features or hindrances a certain material provides. For example, some may require more maintenance and cleaning, while others may be more prone to wear and tear!
Material is often the most important aspect to ponder over when it comes to surviving the elements too, with many boots offering waterproof or insulating properties based on their linings or outer layers.
If you plan on constantly switching between boots and shoes, it helps to choose something which provides easy-fitting features. The most obvious of these is zip fastening, which will allow you to open up the best part of the boot in order to easily slide your foot in. Pulling tabs at the back of a short riding boot can also help you slide your footwear on and off a lot quicker.
Obviously, the most crucial thing when buying a riding boot is to make sure they’re a good fit.
Looking at the sizings of horse riding boots can be super confusing, but you needn’t panic as this is only because manufacturers differ as to whether they display their size in standard UK shoe sizes from around 1 – 11 or European sizes from around 35 – 45. To avoid confusion, simply consult our size chart below.
|European Size ||UK Size |
|36 ||3.5 |
|37 ||4.5 |
|38 ||5 |
|39 ||6 |
|40 ||6.5 |
|41 ||7.5 |
|42 ||8 |
|43 ||9 |
|44 ||9.5 |
|45 ||10.5 |
Another thing to consider if buying long riding boots is the fit required for your leg. Most long riding boot manufacturers will offer regular or wide fits to provide room and comfort for your calves as well as short or regular lengths so the boots are not too high or short. However, the extra room and length offered differs substantially between manufacturers. It’s therefore wise to always look up a bootmaker’s own size chart so you can better ascertain the perfect fir for you.
When sizing up a children’s boot, it can also be confusing to work out the correct fit as, after a certain point, children’s sizes reach the very lowest threshold of adult sizes. So here’s another handy size chart, because confusingly a child’s size 9 is far smaller than a child’s size 1.
|Child’s European Size ||Child’s UK Size |
|27 ||9 |
|28 ||10 |
|29 ||11 |
|30 ||11.5 |
|31 ||12 |
|32 ||13 |
|33 ||1 |
|34 ||2 |
|35 ||3 |
|36 ||3.5 |
Although the least important aspect of your boots, there’s no need to purchase an ugly pair of jodhpurs just because they’re the absolute safest option out there. Try and strike a balance between some booties that are going to make you feel comfy and confident as well as safe and secure!