Whilst riding a horse, it is essential to wear the correct equestrian equipment, as each piece is designed to dramatically increase safety levels for both horse and rider. In the case of riding boots, they also help to increase your control over the horse, making them a particularly crucial piece of equipment.
To start with, there's the more obvious reason for wearing boots, and this happens to be the same reason you would usually wear boots for any activity - the weather. If you ride throughout the year, it will inevitably involve rain, mud and some pretty cold weather at points. Most riding boots have some sort of built-in waterproofing, and varying levels of insulation. Wearing riding boots designed specifically for the current weather conditions will keep your feet dry and regulate their temperature, in turn giving you better sensitivity and therefore allowing better control over your horse.
The sole unit is an important aspect of all riding boots. Usually constructed with a more pronounced and prominent heel, riding boots should have a heel height of roughly 1" to prevent the foot from slipping through the stirrup. A reasonably thin sole is preferable, as anything too chunky will restrict your dexterity and reduce your ability to feel what you are doing. The sole must also be flat/smooth rather than cleated, in order to make close contact with the stirrup, ensuring good, adjustable grip. The large majority of horse riding boots are made from genuine leather, however, there are cheaper alternatives available to suit every budget, including simulated leather and rubber.
The most important thing to consider when thinking about the construction of these boots is whether they are durable enough to take a knock or to be accidentally stood on by a misplaced hoof! A long riding boot should also provide you with firm, but comfortable, ankle and lower leg support to prevent strains, and inside calf protection to reduce the impact of rubbing. It's also worth noting that for competitive riding events, like dressage and show jumping, suitable riding boots are a legal requirement for all competitors, for the safety reasons set out above.
The style of boots appropriate for such events will be determined by the guidelines set out for each discipline. If you are new to horse riding then you may not be aware of quite how many different types of horse riding boot there are. You may also not be aware of how different styles of boots are more appropriate than others for specific types of riding. It is important to use the correct ones and to be confident in fitting riding boots. There's nothing worse than a blister!
Types of horse riding boots:
Field boots -
These are a type of English riding boot that reach up almost to the knee. They are distinguished from other boots by the lacing at the ankle, which offers the rider more flexibility at the instep and ankle. This added flexibility means that these boots are more comfortable when jumping and general riding. An interesting fact about these boots is that they are the style that are used by the mounted police.
Dress boots -
Dress boots are tall equestrian boots that have no lacing. This makes them stiffer than field boots. Sometimes they are equipped with a zipper, but usually the owner would simply pull them on. They are often worn in horse shows as they are pretty stylish. Black is often considered to be the formal colour, however, you are able to get brown dress boots too.
Hunt or top boots -
Hunt boots are, as their name suggests, typically worn for hunting. They look like a typical tall dress boot and are usually black. They also come with a contrasting tan cuff at the top of the shaft.
Jodhpur boots -
Jodhpur or Chelsea boots are a short ankle boot that is usually easy to slip on. The modern styles usually utilise elastic insets to help them slip on and off with ease, although a few variations feature zippers or buckles. Due to the fact that they are nice and short, these boots are often confused with paddock boots.
Paddock boots -
These are short laced ankle boots. They are typically worn by children when riding. They are also worn by adults for everyday pleasure riding and are the dictated footwear for saddle-seat style riding.
Western riding boots -
Western riding boots are often known as cowboy boots. They differ from all of the English riding boots above in a number of ways. For a start, the heel is generally higher up and the shaft tends to be shorter, meaning they fit more loosely. Most of them tend not to feature laces, however, they almost always pull on relatively easily. These boots are also designed to accommodate spurs, which are not used in English riding.
Making the right decision
Once you know which different types of boots are available to you, you will also want to consider a number of other factors before deciding which ones to opt for. In fact, you might sometimes opt for a couple of pairs depending on how many different styles of riding you are into. If you are into hunting or jumping competitions, or even working in a riding school or doing dressage, then you would usually require a tall boot with a smooth sole. However, hybrid boots with a patterned soul are perfect for the winter and are also great for performing stable jobs whilst riding alternately. Jodhpur boots are also handy as you are able to add and remove the half-chaps depending on what duties you are doing or if you are out hacking. With the controversies surrounding which boots are suited for which events, competition and showing boots tend to be harder to select. Though the traditional dress boot equipped with a straight cut can almost always be chosen even though they aren’t always as economical as other options. You will also want to take size into consideration. If your boot doesn’t fit perfectly then the entire purpose of the boot has been thrown out of the window - not literally. These types of footwear should be close fitting, however, they should also allow you to easily move your toes and also provide support to your heel. You will also want to be able to communicate with your horse’s flank using your calves.
Three pairs of riding boots on Equine Superstore
Here at Equine Superstore, we offer a wide and varied range of riding boots from a number of brands. We thought we would show you three cracking pairs that are available at a range of prices. Remember, depending on your style of riding, these boots might not be suitable for you. So you may want to browse all of the boots that we have on offer, and you can do this by clicking here.
The Toggi Equestrian Ladies Riding Boot are nice and tall offering you plenty of protection. They are perfect as a first boot, they are a very neat, comfortable and feature performance lining and stimulated top band.
Middle of the road
The Just Togs Chatham Pro Boots are perfect for riding and have a luxurious oiled leather finish. They are extremely stylish and comfortable to wear. Featuring a flattering high top shaping nicely round the back of the leg for maximum freedom of movement. Rear zip with elasticated insert for a close and comfortable fit.
The Women's Heritage Contour II Field Zip Boots by Aritat are beautifully crafted riding boots, constructed in premium full grain leather with a full leather lining and a moisture wicking sock lining for all day comfort. Ideal for all disciplines, these boots feature Ariat's 4LR technology, consisting of a comfort insole, lightweight shank for stability and a Duratread outsole with traction zones designed specifically for riding.