A good pair of horse-riding boots will keep you confident on your horse and allow you to perform at your peak. But it can be challenging to know which boots to choose. This guide will overview the different types of riding boots and share what to look for to find the right pair for you.
What Makes a Good Riding Boot
Riding boots generally have a heel that’s about an inch high to prevent the rider’s foot from sliding through the stirrup. A sturdy toe protects the rider’s foot, and a smooth or lightly-textured sole helps ensure the rider doesn’t get their foot caught in the stirrup in the case of a fall. Classic riding boots rise high enough up the leg to protect it from the saddle pinching.
A good riding boot should be comfortable, fit you well, and be durable and safe. Riding boots can be a significant investment so it’s important to purchase good-quality boots that will last.
Horseback-Riding Boots for Beginners
There are a lot of choices when it comes to riding boots, including different materials and styles. What boot features you choose are a matter of your riding discipline and your personal preference.
Considerations for Buying Riding Boots
There are five things to consider when selecting a pair of riding boots:
Safety — Safety will always be your number one consideration with purchasing any horseback-riding equipment. Make sure the boots you select are specifically designed for horseback riding so they have the necessary safety features.
Material— You have many choices in boot materials, including leather, synthetic fabrics, and rubber. Consider the climate where you’ll be riding and choose waterproof, water-resistant, insulated, or breathable boots as necessary.
Cost — Cost is a factor with any purchase decision. It’s important to find a pair that will meet your needs within your budget. Fortunately, you’ll find a lot of variety based on materials and features that will allow you to stay within your budget.
Discipline — Like with many pieces of horse-riding equipment, your riding shoes should match the kind of riding you will do. There are some variations in boots due to the demands of each discipline.
Design — Of course you want to look good in the riding boots that you select. Though this shouldn’t be your top priority when making your choice, we’d be remiss to not include design as a factor.
Styles of Riding Boots
There are two main types of boots based on the length of the boot: tall boots and short boots. The traditional boot and equestrian standard for riding is a tall boot. These boots extend up the leg to just below the knee and come in two types: field boots and dress boots. Short boots are used for casual riding.
Tall boots traditionally pull on or may have a full-length zipper in the back to make them easier to get on and off. When measuring for this kind of boot, it’s important to know foot size as well as calf length and circumference at the widest part. Tall boots come in two styles: field boots and dress boots.
Field boots include a laced closure at the front of the ankle to provide greater flexibility, and they also allow for more room when the foot is in the boot. Field boots are typically used by riders in the eventing and jumping disciplines.
Dress boots are more formal than field boots and are used by Fox hunters and dressage riders and have Spanish tops that extend up the outside of the rider’s knee.
Short boots, also called paddock boots or jodhpur boots, are a popular choice for a couple of reasons. They are easy to fit, like other casual shoes, and they are very easy to care for. They are also generally less expensive for riders and offer a more informal look that can be worn around town as well as while pleasure riding. Short-riding boots zip up the side or back. Adult riders typically wear these boots with half chaps paired with breeches to prevent blisters. Short boots are also a favorite boot for children.
9 Best Riding Boots
With the plethora of choices in riding boots, it can be challenging to narrow down your options. Here are seven boots that we recommend based on customer feedback and performance.
The Ariat Ascent boots have an innovative and sporty design and are perfect for all day wear with FLX foam middles and a flexible, breathable, and lightweight knit construction. We love these boots! Check out our full Ariat Ascent boot review.
We are obsessed with the Ovation Sofia field boots! These boots are the perfect first pair of tall boots! They fit and feel like an amazing custom boot and these boots give you that tall long leg look at the best price around! Bonus points because they are available in Ladies and Childrens!
Another highly-rated option is the Ariat Women's Heritage Contour II Field Boot. We love this riding boot for it's ultra-contoured fit through the ankle and the Duratread outsole with rider-tested traction zones. It is designed to fit like a glove with many features for comfort, stability, and safety.
The Ego 7 Orion Field Boot offers the elegant styling and fit of premier Italian boot designer, Tucci. Ego 7 gives you a custom fitted boot feel at a fraction of the price of custom made boots, also available in a dress boot. Be sure to check out our guide on how to fit Ego 7 boots.
Ariat offers a strong contender to the Ego 7 Aries in their Women’s Kinsley Dress Boot. The boot features a contoured fit through the ankle and an elegant high Spanish cut topline. Also available now in a field boot.
The Dublin River boot boasts classic styling and offers all day comfort. These eye-catching boots are made from waterproof and breathable full grain leather. They have a waterproof booty and moisture wicking footbed for comfort.
For women, we recommend the Ariat Heritage IV Zip Paddock Boot for its superior craftsmanship and advanced technology. This boot features a full-grain leather upper and a moisture wicking breathable lining. Also available in the H20 waterproof style.
Crafted in high quality full grain leather, subtle classic styling with contrast stitching. Built on our revolutionary cushioned rubber sole, hard-wearing and long lasting, improves stirrup grip and is exceptionally smart. Fitted with super comfortable coolmax lined footbeds for happy feet all day. Sizes for men and women.
Horse-riding boots can be a significant investment, but they are an important part of your equipment. Once you know what to look for in a boot and the types to choose from, you can select the best boots for your needs and riding discipline.
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