How to Select Horse Riding Boots: 9 Tips for Finding Your Ideal Riding Boots
Whether you are a seasoned equestrian or new to the world of horseback riding, you know you require some essential gear to enjoy your time spent with your horse. At the top of the list of essentials is a good pair or two of horse riding boots, and yet it can be challenging to know just how to select riding boots that meet your needs.
Below are 9 reliable tips for identifying the ideal horse riding boots for your use:
Begin with YOUR Type of Riding
If you ask experts about the best way to select riding boots, most will ask if you need paddock or tall boots. The former are boots that are just above the ankle and are meant to be worn with chaps or half chaps and are often described as an everyday boot to spare tall boots from too much wear. They are not meant for show events (with the exception that some children’s events allow them).
Then, there are tall boots that are meant to be worn for field, dress and dressage. They take their name from the taller height designed to aide the rider by offering support and functionality.
Get Specific with Tall Boots
Tall boots are known in three categories – field, dress and dressage. Know your purpose as you shop. Field boots are for the hunting and jumping crowd, dress boots are for formal hunter classes and some jumping and dressage boots will be stiff and offer a lot of support and may feature a zipper.
Think Comfort and Fit
Another expert said that one of the keys in choosing horse riding boots correctly is to think about a snug fit, explaining that boots should “fit as close to the skin as possible without pinching the foot, ankle or calf.” Why? To allow the rider to feel the side of the horse and signal them properly.
Don’t Wear Fashion Boots
While you may find that a pair of taller fashion boots look a lot like riding boots, they are never going to offer the support or the comfort and durability of boots designed for the rigors of riding.
Zipper or Not?
Sliding a zipper up the side of a tall boot makes it easier to take it on or off, but is it advisable? Many will use zippered paddock boots, but when it is tall boots, the zipper is not that common. Instead, boot pulls and jacks are used to take them on and off. However, you can opt for them if you are eager to have the tightest fit.
Always Try Them On
It is important to select riding boots only after you have tried them on. Just as garments vary by manufacturers, so too do the sizes of horse riding boots. You may wear a nine in one brand, but you may be a definite 9.5 in another. Boots not yet broken in, i.e., new boots, will be snug, but never painful to wear, and tall boots should hit below the knee cap.
Always Wear Your Riding Socks
Do you wear specific types of socks when riding? If so, always wear them when trying on any new boots. You won’t select riding boots that wear comfortably if you wear thicker socks when riding, but not when you tried them on.
Any new horse riding boots require some time to break them in properly. With paddock boots, it can take as little as a few days of constant use. With the tall boots, though, it can take a considerable time because you will not wear them as often. Expect a brief period of discomfort during your first rides, but know it will be over within a few days or weeks.
Ask Your Coach
If you are new to riding, or even just replacing worn-out boots, ask your coach or instructor, or fellow riders for suggestions about the right boots.
Bonus: Don't forget to combine your riding boots with your horse riding outfit.
It is tricky to select horse riding boots if it is a new activity or something you have not done for a while. Hopefully, these tips help you make the right decision for your riding needs.