How to Pick the Right Horse Riding Boots

Choosing a good pair of riding boots is an important investment as they are a key part of your horse riding gear.

Not only should your riding boots be comfortable, they should also meet safety requirements and be made to withstand the wear and tear of every day riding.

Fortunately, as with most riding equipment, a large array of styles of riding boots are available.

Different Types of Riding Boots

Whether you simply want a pair of cheap riding boots that you can wear both around the barn or in the saddle or if you’re looking for a bit of a higher quality boot, you’ll be able to find the perfect riding boot for your needs and price range.

  • short paddock boots

    Women’s Ariat paddock boots—David Blaine (

    Paddock Boots: Paddock boots, sometimes called “short boots,” are designed to either be worn on their own or with a pair of half chaps to re-create the feeling of tall boots. While not acceptable for shows, paddock boots are great for schooling at home and using during your classes and are often durable and comfortable enough to wear all day.

  • Tall boots: TWhile tall boots come in a variety of different styles, they always come up to just below the bend of the knee. When compared to paddock boots, tall boots are often more comfortable when riding, although it depends on the rider’s personal preference. Below are the different styles of tall boots.
      • Dress boots: Dress boots are commonly worn in the disciplines of hunters and dressage, but can be suitable for all english disciplines. That being said, dress boots are often more rigid and offer more stability and less flexibility than other styles of tall boots.
      • Field boots: Field boots are very similar to dress boots, but are designed with laces on the top of the boot. Furthermore, field boots often offer a bit more flexibility making them more comfortable for jumping and riding with shorter stirrups.
      • Rubber boots: While nearly all types of tall boots are made out of leather, there are tall rubber boots that closely resemble leather tall boots, but are rubber and are often inexpensive and easy to maintain.
      • Pull On vs. Zip Up: In recent years, many tall boots are coming with the option of having a zipper in the back. Having a pair of zip up tall boots is often more convenient as you don’t have to worry about pulling your boots on and off. In most cases, zip up boots are slightly more expensive, but look just as nice and traditional as pull ons.


How to Choose the Right Type of Boots

tall riding boots

With so many options available, it may seem hard to decide on which type of boot is best for you.

That being said, as long as you know what you want to use them for and what you’re willing to spend, deciding on the right type of boot for you doesn’t have to be hard.

For example, if you know that you’re not going to want to wear tall boots on a daily basis or on a budget, a pair of paddock boots may be the best solution.

On the other hand, if you are able to spend a bit more and are looking for a pair of boots that look professional and can be worn both at shows and at home, a pair of tall boots would be the best option.

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Caring For Your Boots

Regardless of the type of boot you decide on, taking care of them is an essential part of ensuring that they stay in the best shape possible.

  • Cleaning: One of the easiest ways to care for your boots is to wipe them off with some sort of leather cleaner and or conditioner on a daily basis. Riding boots are typically exposed to high amounts of dirt, grime, and dampness, so daily cleaning is essential. Of course, if you’re unable to clean your boots daily, even a weekly cleaning is better than nothing.
  • Waterproofing: During the winter months, waterproofing your boots can not only help keep your feet dry, but can also ensure that your boots don’t start cracking from water damage.
  • Polish and shine: Finally, if you want to keep your boots looking shiny and new, polishing and or shining them is the way to go. There are plenty of products available for this task and after you do it, your boots are bound to look like new!

Remember, when you know what the daily purpose of your riding boots will be, choosing the correct pair will be easy. In addition, once you have your boot, caring for them is a simple task that can significantly increase their life span.

Watch this video on how to get proper-fitting riding boots:


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Filed in: Gear and Clothing

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2 Responses to "How to Pick the Right Horse Riding Boots"

  1. Martina says:

    I definitely agree that paddock boots are super comfortable and great for lessons and just wearing around the barn. Ariat boots are my favourite – I have a pair that have actually lasted me almost a decade now. Also you mention that rubber boots are relatively inexpensive for a tall boot. My experience with rubber boots has been that they’re super uncomfortable though. I don’t know if they’re the greatest option even at the lower price. I also find that mostly they don’t look that great, what do you think?

  2. Charles W says:

    Rubber boots took the road of capitalism and now you see some of them in the price range of leather boots. Just look at Hunter, their Wellesley boot is $500. What custom leather riding boot would you buy with that? An exquisite one, for sure.

    Hunter is just an example, most wellington makers practice high prices, and it’s up to the buyer to consider it they’re worth it.

    But I’ll always prefer to pay for a hand made boot, if I can afford it, not only for the quality and feel, but also to support traditional bootmakers, a dying breed.

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