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Riding Boots

Getting the Right Riding Boots

Horse riding boots are one of the most important pieces of equipment a rider wears. They need to be sturdy, well-constructed, and comfortable. A good pair of riding boots should last several years, and be resistant to all the elements-so it’s important to shop around and measure carefully to ensure a good fit and satisfaction with the boot.

There are two basic types of riding boots:

  • full length riding boots (often also called Wellingtons) offer the best protection for the rider’s foot, ankle and leg, but can be very restrictive and tend to be uncomfortable in warmer weather; long riding boots made of leather are also quite pricey, making long rubber riding boots a more popular choice.
  • shorter ones that come just over the ankle, called jodhpur or paddock boots, are much less expensive and much more comfortable for the rider. Half chaps or gaiter that cover the lower leg should also be worn in combination, since paddock boots do not protect the rider the same way long riding boots do.

The type and style of boot depends on the rider, and although there is a lot of selection out there, it’s easy to get a great pair of riding boots. First of course, is the decision to buy online or locally. Though online retailers may have the best price, be sure to take into consideration additional shipping and handling charges. As well, for custom made riding boots, it is often best to purchase from a local craftsmen, since close interaction with the vendor is possible.

Next, consider the material of the boots-leather is most common-as that will have the largest role to play in determining the cost. Cowhide is popular, due to its toughness and relatively low price, but there are also more exotic skins like eel, lizard and alligator. Though more expensive, the texture and feel of these kinds of skin is often worth the extra money.

Perhaps the most important thing to consider when buying horse riding boots is their intended use. Jodhpurs, paddock shoes and work boots come just over the ankle, while western boots go all the way up to the knee. For mucking stalls and general work around the ranch, a shorter, comfortable pair of boots is needed, while riding and competition require more protection for the rider’s leg.

Because there are a variety of styles and manufacturers, it is important to measure carefully to ensure a proper fit. Many online dealers provide instructions for doing this, while a local shop will have samples in stock that can be tried on before buying. Because cowboy boots are help snug to the fit by the instep–not by laces of buckles–a proper fit is absolutely essential. Consult both available sizing charts and any additional instructions from the manufacturer to make sure the boot will fit properly.

In addition to this, there are other smaller decisions-heel style, toe type, width-that make horse riding boots completely customizable. Many companies and craftsmen will have additional decorative elements from which to choose as well.

Fit and function are the most important considerations when buying new horse riding boots. Of course the style of riding may determine this-English or Western, for instance-but the preference and needs of the rider also come into play.

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