Riding boots are designed to give the rider comfort while on the horse. Since much of the control of the animal is done using the feet, choosing the right footwear is very important. Wearing the wrong shoes could, in the worst cases, contribute to a fall.
Riding boots are built for specifically for riding horses. They offer protection when horses don't look where they put their hooves, and reinforced toecaps can even prevent broken bones. They also keep the feet warm and clean, which can be particularly important during the winter. Don't make the mistake of trying to ride in trainers or walking boots. The deep tread may catch on the stirrups, while trainers don't have the heel needed to give hold. But with so many types and sizes, how does one start to make a choice?
What to Look for in Riding Boots
As well as general comfort and warmth, and proper waterproofing, riders should be looking at the following factors when selecting their footwear.
Horse riding boots need to be safe from the moment someone starts riding. To ensure that the foot can't twist, check that the ankle is totally covered for extra protection. As an additional safety feature, the sole of the boots should be smooth but not too slippery, so that the feet do not become lodged in the stirrups or slide out of them.
For riders who take their pursuit seriously, different boots may be needed for different equine events, from jumping to dressage competitions, while another type may be required just for being around the stable yard. Deciding what tasks the boots will be used for is an important consideration.
Riders need to take the measurement from the bottom of their foot from the heel to the tip of their biggest toes. Calf size is also needed - this is the circumference of the calf at its widest point - as is the measurement from the heel to the top of a high cut boot. Since different brands often have different sizes, so use an online sizing chart in order to choose a size that will give a comfortable fit.
Jodhpur boots are designed to be worn with jodhpurs, and end just above the ankle. Typically, they are elasticated so they can be pulled on and off easily. For riders who prefer to wear breeches sometimes, knee-length boots covering the whole calf suit these as well as jodhpurs. They stop just below the knee for easy flexing of the leg.
Paddock boots have rubber soles and robust leather uppers for sturdy durability. The are also very versatile. Equally, they have a lugged sole to suit varied terrain. However, the calf only has limited protection in a paddock boot.
Horse riding boots are usually made from PVC or leather. For competing, leather is a good idea, but it needs frequent maintenance. Synthetic equivalents will give total waterproofing and are also easy to care for.
Remember that boots are worn for long periods of time, and when the rider is working hard physically. Break them in before riding in them - and don't compromise on fit. Riding boots can be found through online retailers such as eBay.