Choosing the right horse riding boots is more than just a matter of personal preference. With a broad range of styles and options, finding a shoe that fits requires more than just knowing your size; it can depend on how and when you ride, which will in turn affect how much you’re willing to spend. In this entry of the Waterman’s Country Supplies blog, we’ll be looking at how to find the right horse riding boots, helping you and your horse to enjoy the most comfortable ride possible.
What to Look for in Riding Boots
As with seeking any pair of shoes, comfort, warmth and a good fit are essential when choosing horse riding boots, but there are other exclusive factors that should also be taken into account. Above all is how a boot fits the various safety requirements of horse riding. After all, this is the reason you’re seeking proper footwear, since an ill-suited boot or shoe without the necessary protection or foot support can cause your foot to slip through or become lodged in the stirrups, may result in rubs from stirrup leathers, or it may even lead to injuries from a twisted foot or ankle. To ensure none of these happen, you want a boot which totally covers the ankle, has a smooth but not too slippery sole and features shanks for extra foot stability.
Your preferred boot will also correlate heavily to your preferred equestrian activity. Every equine event requires its own choice of riding boot. Dressage, for example, needs a formal boot with stiffened side panels and long leg position, whilst boots designed for jumping or trail riding will be more flexed in the ankle, allowing for a shorter stirrup. All the various boot designs will be available in a mix of PVC in leather, with the ultimate difference between the two lying in price and need for maintenance – leather is ideal for competing but requires frequent care, whilst synthetic choices are waterproof and easier to keep in a good condition.
The Different Types of Riding Boot
Though there are plenty of nuances and individual differences between the various brands and designs of horse riding boots, most equestrian footwear can be broken down into the following categories:
Field Boots: Preferred for the majority of jumping disciplines, field boots feature a highly flexed ankle and comfortable lacing at the vamp. Used by show jumpers and mounted police patrols alike, field boots such as the Kanyon Beech Leather Ladies Boot are wonderfully fitted for multiple purposes, and feature a special layer of leather on the toe known as a ‘toe cap’.
Dress Boots: Stiff, traditionally black and profoundly formal, these riding boots are naturally worn by dressage riders, but they also have found popularity with show jumpers. Often more forward slanted in their designs, they also sometimes feature a slightly higher outer top (known as a “Spanish Top”).
Paddock/Jodhpur Boots: These short boots sit just above the ankle, and are the most commonly used shoe for pleasure riding, saddle seat style riding and for children learning in the hunt seat style of riding. Any of these boots, such as the Austa Black Leather Jodhput Boot, feature elastic sides and toe-cap that are ideal for everyday use.
For more advice on finding the right horse riding boot and in other areas of equestrian activities, keep an eye on the Waterman's Facebook page, Twitter and Google+.