Horse riding boots, like any other type of shoe, should be chosen carefully and for the purpose that they are intended. Most people would purchase a walking shoe for going on walks, hiking boots for walking in trees or on trails, and running shoes for running, but unfortunately not as many people take the time to think about what type of horse riding boots they need when looking for equestrian supplies. However, choosing a riding boot for the intended purpose will usually made the ride more comfortable. There are several different types of riding boots that should be chosen for the intended purpose or wear.
Field and Dress Boots
Field and dress riding boots are most commonly seen in English riding. These boots are characterised by a long calf and are usually close fitting and go to just below the knee. These riding boots are usually made of leather but can be suede, black, or a variety of natural leather colours including tan, chocolate, and brown. There are two types of these tall boots including those for field and dress. Dress boots are appropriate for showing horses, or participating in judged competitions. Field boots are similar but are designed for everyday wear. Field boots usually have a small amount of lacing at the bottom of the calf and can sometimes feature lacing that runs the full length of the calf. Because most field and dress boots do not feature these laces, many riders choose boots with zippers up the back for ease of wear.
Similar to field boots, hunting boots usually feature two tone styles with the front a different colour from the back. The boots are also normally slightly shorter and fall about two inches below the knees on most people. Usually the top of this boot is brown while the lower portion is black, which creates an effective type of camouflage against the side of the horse. These boots are required for formal hunting such as fox hunting.
Paddock boots are a casual riding boot that is usually worn at home and can include the Jodhpur boot. These boots are very informal and a great deal shorter than other types of riding boots. Usually paddock boots only come to just above the ankle, which is sufficient for protecting the ankles from the stirrups, but not for protecting the legs from tall grass or low branches. Many people wear paddock boots with low chaps for casual riding, because they are comfortable and easy to slip on due to their elastic sides and zip up or lace up foot beds.
Cowboy boots were popularised as a staple part of Western fashion, but can sometimes be used in English and dress riding as well. Once broken in, cowboy boots are an excellent and comfortable alternative to the paddock boot, and can be worn easily in any sort of informal riding. Also known as Western boots, these riding boots come to about mid-calf, feature a pointed toe, and a large heel. They are often loose around the ankle for comfort, which makes them popular with most riders.
Riders who intend to only ride casually should choose a pair of riding boots based either on how they want to look, or for comfort purposes. Those who want to ride both casually and in dress should purchase a pair of dress riding boots which can be kept looking nice, and a pair for everyday wear. Important considerations include that the riding experience might be different in a different height of shoe, so it’s important to adjust to riding in both before switching between two shoes, and that a higher quality shoe is likely to be more comfortable, last longer, and perform better under pressure.
Most riding boots are also made of leather, meaning that they should be broken in. If you’re purchasing equestrian supplies online, make sure that you get the appropriate size, and then give yourself a few days of walking in the shoes to break them in for comfort.
Sally Dimmock can either be found on her computer blogging or on her horse. When purchasing equestrian supplies online, she checks her exact measurements and remembers that for horse tack, the higher quality item is usually a better choice.