Choosing shoes for horse riding is an important decision because good quality riding shoes are critical to comfort and safety. In short, selecting the wrong pair of shoes for riding will hold you back in the saddle.
What Suitable Shoes for Horse Riding?
You need to keep your feet firmly lodged in the stirrups, so a pair of shoes with 1 inch to 1 1/2-inch heels will help prevent your feet from accidentally slipping out. A quality pair of horse-riding shoes will also provide decent protection against getting stepped on.
Your choice in riding shoes can also depend a great deal on your favorite riding discipline. This means that the average pair of shoes you will have in your closet is probably not suitable for out in the field.
Traditional Long Riding Boots
Long riding boots are highly desirable because they provide a lot of protection against being stepped on - which happens all too often. They also stop chafing and rubbing on your lower legs.
Dress boots - These are what you will use when you gain sufficient skills for entering competitions. They are typically a little more rigid than other types. While this feature might make it sound like they are less comfortable, it does provide extra stability.
Field Boots - These have laces on the top, while dress boots are smooth. If you are doing a lot of jumping, then field boots offer more flexibility than dress boots.
Short Riding Boots
Many riders prefer short riding boots because of the price and because they are easier to put on and take off. You will also appreciate a short horse-riding boot more in the warmer months. In general, short riding boots are worn by beginners and children before they invest in the more traditional tall riding boots.
Jodhpur Boots - These are short ankle boots with elastic sides, so they are easy to put on and take off. They are an excellent choice if you are having trouble finding the right pair of long riding boots because you don't have to worry about your calf size.
One thing to keep in mind is that short riding boots are often not allowed in competition horse riding events.
Western Horse-Riding Boots
A western riding boot has an inch and a half tall heel, making them more comfortable for walking while also providing stability in the stirrup. They are available in tall versions with smooth holds and two-inch heels for extra security in the stirrups. Tall cowboy riding boots also feature a narrower front to make it easier to slip the boot into the stirrups without any trouble.
Short cowboy riding boots have a heel that is one and a half to two inches and are the preferred option for warm weather riding for those who would like a shorter boot but enjoy the cowboy style.