Technical stirrups — what’s on the market?

  • Horse & Hound is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy. Learn more
  • Technical stirrups are a must-have tack accessory and can make a real difference to your time in the saddle. Whether you’re hoping to improve your performance or increase your comfort in the saddle, there’s a pair of technical stirrups out there for you – and while you’re at it, it’s worth checking out the best stirrup leathers, too.

    Long gone are the days where everyone used traditional stirrup irons – now the range of technical stirrups on the market is vast and when searching for a new pair there are myriad styles, colours and materials to choose from. Technological advances over recent years have influenced the shape and safety features of many stirrups while comfort levels also vary. So which are the best technical stirrups for you?

    If you’re specifically looking for safety stirrups, check out this selection of the safest stirrups.

    Best technical stirrups

    Sprenger Flexcite Grip stirrups review

    Sprenger Flexcite Grip stirrups

    Colours: 1 | Weight: 650g each | Legal BD: Yes | Legal BS: Yes | Legal BE: Yes | RRP: £191.70 | Review: 9/10, H&H Approved |

    The Flexcite Grip stirrups feature a bow shape to help provide perfect balance to set your leg in the correct position whatever your discipline. They are designed to be shock absorbing and gentle to ligaments and joints, while the grip supports the release of the foot in case of an emergency. The extra-wide foot pad has a stainless steel grip inlay for a non-slip, secure hold and has an airtight, water-protected stainless steel joint.

    Read H&H’s independent Sprenger Flexcite Grip stirrups review.

    In the UK? View now at amazon.co.uk or viovet.co.uk
    In the US? View now at amazon.com

    Flex On Green Composite technical stirrups

    Flex-On Green Composite stirrups

    Colours: 10 frame and 17 elastomer options | Weight: 400g each | Legal BD: Yes | Legal BS: Yes | Legal BE: Yes | RRP: £189.95 |

    These stirrups use elastomer shock absorbers to cushion and reduce the shockwaves from horse’s movement. They have an off-set leather slot that helps achieve the optimum leg position, while the generous footbed gives a wide area of support and the inclined angle encourage the heel to stay down. The ‘Green’ refers to the environmentally sourced polyamide that covers the sprung steel frame. They are also available in a junior size (for riders under 40kg).

    Another pair of Flex-On stirrups scored 9/10 as part of our independent testing scheme and they were awarded H&H Approved status – read the full review.

    In the UK? View at amazon.co.uk or rideawaystore.com

    Jin Air stirrups review

    Jin Air stirrups

    Colours: 16 | Weight: 430g each | Legal BD: Yes | Legal BS: Yes | Legal BE: Yes | RRP: £218 | Review: 9/10, H&H Approved |

    These stirrups have an anatomical footbed that provides a high level of comfort, grip and stability, while also helping prevent you losing your stirrups. The smart-release mechanism with flexible arch allows your foot to exit in all directions should you fall before automatically returning to its original position.

    Read H&H’s independent Jin Air stirrups review.

    In the UK? View now at amazon.co.uk
    In the US? View now at amazon.com

    Equipe safety stirrups review

    Equipe safety stirrups

    Colours: 12 combinations | Weight: 455g each | Legal BD: Yes | Legal BS: Yes | Legal BE: Yes | RRP: £315 | Review: 8/10 |

    These stirrups feature a mobile silicone gullet that allows for a simple release in case of a fall. No tools are required to restore the stirrup. The simple release system has no springs, hooks, magnets or other elements that could break or get stuck, while the lower section of the silicone gullet works to prevent the stirrup from loosening under conditions of normal use. The black tread has a special scratch-proof treatment.

    Read H&H’s independent Equipe safety stirrups review.

    In the UK? View now at rideawaystore.com

    Acavallo technical stirrups

    Acavallo Opera stirrups

    Colours: 1 | Weight: 303g | Legal BD: Yes | Legal BS: Yes | Legal BE: Yes | RRP: £89.95 |

    The way these Acavallo stirrups are suspended allows these lightweight stirrups to hang with optimal balance, angle and flexibility. The laser-cut stainless steel foot plate is supported by twin moulded side sections. Each side of the stirrup works independently, which spreads the load and helps to absorb shock.

    The Opera stirrup is a completely new concept in riding because of its special patented loop construction, which allows the stirrup to adhere to the saddle flap, avoiding friction between the leg and the stirrup, for a more correct, comfortable and secure ride. The large stirrup pad in stainless steel gives riders better grip and relieves tension in the hips, knees, ankles and calves. These technical stirrups are available in two-tone and bright colours.

    In the UK? View now at amazon.co.uk or equus.co.uk
    In the US? View now at amazon.com

    Compositi stirrups

    Compositi Reflex Stirrups

    Colours: 9 | Weight: 420g each | Legal BD: Yes | Legal BS: Yes | Legal BE: Yes | RRP: £31.50 |

    With glass-fibre reinforcement, the swivel soles of the Compositi Reflex stirrups from Shires are positioned on a shock-absorbent layer to relieve tension from your joints. The slender profile has been designed for quick and easy foot release in an emergency. They have a high resistance to shocks and damp, even at low temperatures.

    In the UK? View now at amazon.co.uk or rideawaystore.com
    In the US? View now at amazon.com

    Tech Stirrups Venice Dressage technical stirrups

    Tech Stirrups Venice Dressage Plus

    Colours: 2 | Weight: 570g each | Legal BD: Yes | Legal BS: Yes | Legal BE: Yes | RRP: £345 |

    These Tech Stirrups are manufactured with high-quality metal and have a very wide opening at the safety mechanism, which releases your foot in case of fall and returns to the closed position automatically. These stirrups are equipped with four shock-absorbing inserts that allow the stirrup to follow the natural movement of the foot. The grip was specifically designed for dressage riders – it has a 3° inclination that helps posture. The pad and the shock-absorbing inserts can be replaced.

    In the US? View now at amazon.com or statelinetack.com

    BR technical stirrups

    BR AeroTech stirrups

    Colours: 2 | Weight: 445g each | Legal BD: Yes | Legal BS: Yes | Legal BE: Yes | RRP: £88.95 |

    These synthetic stirrups from BR feature a wide stainless steel tread with coarse pattern. This laser-engraved pattern is designed to provide support and relieves tension in hips, knees, ankles and calves. They have an offset opening, which makes it easy to get your foot in the stirrup. This unique patented system allows the stirrup leather to lie flat and untwisted against the saddle, thereby avoiding friction between the riders leg and the stirrup leather. It also helps to keep your foot in the correct position – as a result, this provides more stability and improves leg position. A steel pin has been inserted in the lower part of the stirrup to help secure a stable stirrup position if your foot accidentally slides off the stirrup – this helps you regain your stirrup quickly. Both the stirrup and tread are wear-resistant and easy to clean. The outer side can be decorated with a flag sticker.

    In the UK? View now at amazon.co.uk

    Equiline dressage stirrups

    Equiline Lorenzini dressage stirrups

    Colours: 17 | Weight: 530g each | Legal BD: Yes | Legal BS: Yes | Legal BE: Yes | RRP: £197.90 |

    These Equiline stirrups are designed to limit possible traumas in the event of a fall by allowing easy foot release. The shape provides resistance to torsion (twisting), which aids prompt balance recovery. You can choose between titanium and rubber treads and from a wide range of colours.

    In the UK? View now at amazon.co.uk

    freejump technical stirrups

    FreeJump Soft’Up Pro+ stirrups

    Colours: 8 | Weight: 490g each | Legal BD: Yes | Legal BS: Yes | Legal BE: Yes | RRP: £249 |

    The Freejump Soft’Up Pro Plus stirrups are designed with both safety and comfort in mind. The inner branch is fixed, while the outer open branch can bend open to easily release your foot in the event of a fall. They also offer a high degree of shock absorption – the stirrups flex at the lower inside bend of the stirrups, which absorbs shock travelling into riders ankles, knees and hips in addition to the shock travelling across the horses back. The tread is 27% larger than the Soft’Up Classic stirrups – this extra size combined with the raised metal studs across each footplate provides extra grip and stability. The angle and position of the stirrup eye is such that if you should lose your stirrup, it will naturally stay at the correct angle, making it easier to regain.

    In the UK? View now at amazon.co.uk, naylors.com or rideawaystore.com

    LeMieux technical stirrups

    LeMieux Vector Control Stirrup

    Colours: 2 | Weight: 372g each | Legal BD: Yes | Legal BS: Yes | Legal BE: Yes | RRP: £159.95 |

    The LeMieux Vector Control stirrups are described as technically advanced and lightweight, while retaining a classic style. They are made from aviation grade aluminium that offers an impressive strength to weight ratio, which makes them lighter than most stirrups on the market while not compromising on stability. The ergonomic footplate of the Control Stirrup is set at 0° with a cross-track grip surface with embedded hardened steel pins to provide maximum foot security. The footplate is supported by a twin balance arch system that distributes the weight evenly across the base of the stirrup frame.  The apex of the frame is recessed and off-set, encouraging a 45º outward orientation, which makes it easier to regain a lost stirrup.

    The integrated spring-loaded safety arm has a two-stage release system, preventing unintentional opening. It locks into the base of the main frame meaning that when under maximum pressure, such as landing over a fence, your weight is spread evenly across the stirrup, preventing the outside dropping and flexing. However, when pressure is put onto the arm of the stirrup – if you fall – the arm releases your foot.

    In the UK? View now at amazon.co.uk or elandlodge.com

    Equitaly technical stirrups

    Equitaly Plus Force

    Colours: 10 | Weight: 431g each | Legal BD: Yes | Legal BS: Yes | Legal BE: Yes | RRP: £170 |

    The arch is designed to help you find your stirrup if you lose it – with just a slight kick on the side, the stirrup rotates around to the right angle for your foot. The Force system of these Equitaly stirrups is designed to ensure the highest grip, while still providing a mobility for the foot. The size and position of the teeth ensure a steady grip even in challenging conditions, such as wet and mud.

    In the UK? View now at ebay.co.uk

    Ophena S magnetic safety stirrups review

    Ophena S magnetic safety stirrups

    Colours: 3 | Weight: 650g each | Legal BD: No | Legal BS: Yes | Legal BE: No | RRP: £295 | Review: 8/10 |

    The Ophena S magnetic safety stirrups have a unique open design and magnetic system to prevent you getting caught in the stirrup with no room for error. They are designed to help improve your control, leg position and confidence. These stirrups include a pair of magnetic insoles that create a magnetic connection between the stirrups and your boots, which provides you with better grip and control no matter the conditions.

    The Smart Attach technology allows you to attach the stirrups without completely removing the leathers by threading the leather through the double arm, which saves you time and preserves your leathers. They can still be run up and attached at the top of the saddle when not in use.

    Read H&H’s independent Ophena stirrups review.

    Stubben Maxigrip black technical stirrups

    Stübben Maxi Grip stirrups

    Colours: 2 | Weight: 350g each | Legal BD: Yes | Legal BS: Yes | Legal BE: Yes | RRP: £189.50 |

    The design of these technical stirrups from Stübben focuses on functionality and stability. The stirrup is milled from a 12.9mm high-quality aluminum alloy. These stirrups are lightweight but strong and offer good hold due to sharp-edged pyramid profile on the sloping footplate.

    What stirrups are dressage legal?

    British Dressage permits stirrups of any colour that are used in a conventional way. You can’t have Velcro straps that attach the girth to the stirrup iron without special dispensation. Using mechanical or magnetic means to attach your boots to the stirrups is also not permitted without dispensation. All the stirrups in this guide are BD legal with the exception of the Ophena S magnetic stirrups.

    What size stirrups do I need?

    Not all stirrups come in a range of sizes, but where they do you should choose a pair that are one inch wider than the width of your boot at the ball of your foot. This gives you half an inch of space each side once your foot is in place.

    You might also like:

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits. 

    You may like...