Investing in the right pair of riding boots for your needs will mean years of comfort in the saddle. But how do you decide which ones to buy?
There are two styles of long leather riding boots – field boots and dress boots.
Field boots have lacing at the ankle for comfort and fit, which makes them more flexible and suitable for all kinds of riding and jumping.
Dress boots are traditional boots popular for dressage, showing and hunting.
Both types are available as a pull-on style or with a concealed zip to make them easier to put on and take off.
Fit is key
There’s nothing worse than wearing boots that rub and are uncomfortable to ride in, so finding a pair that fit well is key. As well as your foot size, you’ll need to take two other measurements:
Your calf at the widest point.
The length of your lower leg from the back of your knee to the floor.
Take both measurements when you’re sitting down, with your knee bent and your foot flat on the floor. This will determine the width and height of boots that are likely to fit you best.
When you’re measuring or trying on new boots, wear your breeches and socks so you get a realistic idea of how the boots fit. Remember to try on both boots, as we rarely have equal-sized feet and calves.
Also, bear in mind that, with wear, most boots will droop slightly, so make sure you don’t choose boots that are too short. Field boots are often made from a softer leather and can drop between one and two inches.
Breaking in your boots
Before you ride in your new boots, they’ll need breaking in. This can be a little uncomfortable as the backs of your knees and ankles will be susceptible to rubbing and blisters until the leather softens, drops and conforms to the shape of your legs.
The best way to break in your boots is to wear them around the house for short periods of time. Applying leather conditioner to the ankle area of the boots can help to soften the leather a little.
Walking up and down stairs works well, or standing on the edge of a step and flexing your ankles up and down.
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