A good pair of horse riding boots are a vital piece of every equestrian’s wardrobe. It’s important to ride in a sturdy boot with a small heel, to protect your feet, enable you to give clear aids, and ensure your foot doesn’t get caught in the stirrup should you fall off. There is a wide range of horse riding boots on the market, and what you choose depends on what discipline you compete in as well as personal preference.
Long (or field) riding boots, which cover the calf, protect more of the leg and look very elegant, although less experienced riders may feel they make the aids less effective. They’re considered acceptable footwear in all competitive disciplines, in black or brown. For adult showing classes, the correct footwear is straight-topped boots with a garter strap. These are also correct for hunting. Traditional men’s hunting boots are black with a tan rim at the top. Some showing judges still frown on competitors wearing higher-cut dressage boots, although they are being increasingly seen.
Short paddock or jodhpur boots allow closer contact between the leg and the horse’s side than long boots; however, some people find that this causes chafing. One solution is to wear half chaps or gaiters, which offer more leg protection and give the appearance of long boots. Short boots are correct for children’s showing classes, or showing smaller breeds, and may be teamed with matching leather gaiters (rather than half-chaps) for most other competitions.
There are also boots on the market designed specifically designed for endurance riding; these are designed with comfort in mind, as they’re worn for long periods. They typically look more like trainers than traditional short riding boots, with a cushioned yet sturdy sole.