Riding boot

Riding boot

Riding boots are boots made to be used for horseback riding. The classic boot comes high enough up the leg to prevent the leathers of the saddle from pinching the leg of the rider, has a sturdy toe to protect the rider's foot when on the ground, and has a distinct heel to prevent the foot from sliding through the stirrup. The sole is smooth or lightly textured to avoid being caught on the tread of the stirrup in the event of a fall.

The modern riding boot is relatively low-heeled, with a heel of less than one inch, though historically a higher heel was common, as it has always been critically important for riding boots to prevent the foot from slipping through the stirrup. Today, only some styles of cowboy boot retain a higher heel than other modern riding boots.

English Boots

There are a number of different styles of riding boots, intended for different styles of riding, from horse shows, to pleasure riding. Tall boots, which end just below the knee of the rider, include field, dress, and hunt boots. These are standard show apparel, worn by all competitors in the hunter/jumper and dressage disciplines. A lower, paddock boot that stops just above the ankle, is worn by children, some show competitors in the UK, Australia, and by those that show Saddle seat.

Field boots: have lacing at the ankle, which allows for some give so the rider is more comfortable riding with the highly flexed ankle that develops from the shorter stirrup length required for work over fences. Therefore, field boots are preferred in all jumping disciplines, including Hunt seat equitation, show jumping, fox hunting, and both jumping phases in eventing. They are also worn by police officers riding motorcycles or on mounted patrols, and by some police agencies as part of their "Class A" uniform or with ceremonial mounted units. The majority of field boots are black, although brown-colored boots may also be purchased.Price, Steven D. (ed.) "The Whole Horse Catalog: Revised and Updated" New York:Fireside 1998 ISBN 0-684-83995-4 p. 209-211]

Dress boots: do not have lacing at the ankle, and are generally stiffer. They are worn by dressage riders, eventers in the dressage phase, and at formal fox hunts. They are also worn by riders of show jumpers. Dress boots are traditionally black in color. A recent fad is dress boots for dressage that are cut to go extra high on the outside of the knee. Hunt boots: like the dress boot, except it has a "cuff" at the top. The boot is usually black, with a tan cuff (traditional for male riders). It is appropriate for fox hunting.

Paddock boots, also known as Jodhpur boots, are short boots that come just above the ankle, used most often for pleasure riding and everyday use. They are also required for Saddle seat style ridingCrabtree, Helen K. "Saddle Seat Equitation: The Definitive Guide" Revised Edition New York:Doubleday 1982 ISBN0-385-17217-6 p. 92] and are frequently worn by children when showing in hunt seat disciplines because they are less costly for rapidly-growing children than are tall boots. They are sometimes combined with half chaps, also known as chapettes, for added protection or to give the visual impression of a tall boot. The lace-up style is primarily seen in hunt seat riding, whereas the elastic-sided Chelsea boot design is seen in both hunt seat and saddle seat disciplines. The elastic side boot is also commonly used in Australia as a riding boot and dress boot. They are part of the required attire in Australian Stock Horse turnout competitions and for Pony Club riding. Heavier versions, such as Blundstone boots, are made for general work and gardening but are not suitable for riding owing to their heavy, deep grooved soles.

Field boots (and many paddock boots) have an extra layer of leather on the toe, called a toe cap. All styles have somewhat tapered, round toes. Current styles include zip-on boots, with a zipper running down the back of the calf of a tall boot or the front of a paddock boot, making them easier to put on and remove without aid of boot hooks or a boot jack.

Brown high boots (field or dress) were somewhat more common before World War II, when the English riding habit lost popularity outside of formal and/or horse show events. The U.S. Army, whose officers had worn high brown boots until the 1930s, abandoned the practice in wartime. For a time, some show sanctioning organizations did not allow brown boots, considering them to be casual attire, although the rule has relaxed somewhat.

Western Boots

For western riding and showing, western riders wear cowboy boots, with either the high "cowboy" or "riding" heel; the intermediate, somewhat lower "walking" heel; or the low, "roper" style heel that is similar to that of English boots. The uppers may vary in height. The lowest is the "roper" style that stops just a bit above the ankle, about an inch or so higher than the English paddock boot. The most classic length is the mid-calf height that keeps the fenders of a western saddle from chafing the ankle and calf of the rider. The tallest cowboy boots are seldom seen outside of fashion venues, but have an upper that reaches nearly to the knee, is usually extensively decorated, but in the modern day is seldom used for actual horseback riding. For pleasure riding, lace-up boots, similar to English paddock boots, have become popular in recent years, though the classic pull-on boot still is common. Cowboy boots are traditionally made of smooth cowhide, though occasionally a boot style may be of a suede or "roughout" look. However, the uppers of more expensive varieties may be made of leather obtained from somewhat exotic creatures, including alligator, ostrich and snakeskin.


Traditionally, English riding boots are made of smooth leather, usually cowhide, or occasionally pigskin, and most show boots remain thus due to the classic look. However, synthetic leather, vinyl and other materials are becoming more common. Quality of leather varies, with softer, finer-quality increasing the value of the boot. For formal wear, patent leather is occasionally seen, particularly in jodhpur boots designed for Saddle seat horse show classes held after 6:00 pm, when formal attire may be worn in certain types of competition.

For casual riding, riders often wear well-worn show boots, but also may take advantage of new boot designs modeled after the athletic shoe or hiking boot that have been created, using space age synthetics and breathable materials to create what essentially is a "tennis shoe with a heel."


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • riding boot — noun a boot without laces that is worn for riding horses; part of a riding habit (Freq. 2) • Hypernyms: ↑boot • Hyponyms: ↑jodhpur, ↑jodhpur boot, ↑jodhpur shoe • Part Holonyms: ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • riding boot — a knee high boot of black or brown leather, without fastenings, forming part of a riding habit. [1850 55] * * * …   Universalium

  • riding boot — /ˈraɪdɪŋ but/ (say ruyding booht) noun a close fitting leather boot, worn as part of a riding habit …  

  • boot — boot1 [bo͞ot] n. [ME & OFr bote] 1. a) a protective covering of leather, rubber, cloth, etc., for the foot and part or all of the leg [riding boot] b) an overshoe c) a man s shoe reaching at least to the ankle 2. a boot shaped instrum …   English World dictionary

  • Boot — A boot is a type of shoe that covers at least the foot and the ankle and sometimes extends up to the knee or even the hip. Most have a heel that is clearly distinguishable from the rest of the sole, even if the two are made of one piece.… …   Wikipedia

  • boot — I (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) n. footwear, shoe; Hessian boot; blucher, hip or jack boot; seven league boot; brogan, buskin, chukka. See clothing. v. t., slang, kick out, dismiss, give the boot. See ejection. to boot II (Roget s IV)… …   English dictionary for students

  • riding habit — noun attire that is typically worn by a horseback rider (especially a woman s attire) • Syn: ↑habit • Hypernyms: ↑attire, ↑garb, ↑dress • Part Meronyms: ↑jodhpurs, ↑jodhpur breeches, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • Boot — Boot, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Booted}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Booting}.] 1. To put boots on, esp. for riding. [1913 Webster] Coated and booted for it. B. Jonson. [1913 Webster] 2. To punish by kicking with a booted foot. [U. S.] [1913 Webster] [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • boot — boot1 [ but ] noun count *** 1. ) a type of shoe that covers all of your foot and part of your leg. You often wear boots to protect your feet and legs, for example from snow or rain: walking/hiking/riding/ski boots: a new pair of ski boots… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • boot — [[t]bu͟ːt[/t]] ♦♦♦ boots, booting, booted 1) N COUNT Boots are shoes that cover your whole foot and the lower part of your leg. → See also wellington He sat in a kitchen chair, reached down and pulled off his boots... He was wearing riding pants …   English dictionary

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