Selecting the right horse riding boots is essential for any equestrian rider – I’ve learned the hard way by dumping a truckload of money on an out-of-style pair a few years ago.
So I want to help you avoid falling victim to the same issues by looking at all the hot and unpopular trends.
These discussions will ensure you’re ready to take the equestrian world by storm.
But before I look at the trends, it’s vital to define horse riding boots and the available styles to ensure everything is clear.
- Horse riding boots are designed specifically to be worn during horse riding. You can quickly identify them by their knee-length or taller height, sturdy toes, and pronounced heel.
- These boots come in various styles, like equestrian riding boots, fashion riding boots, tall riding boots, field boots, dress boots, and paddock boots.
- Popular recent trends in the horse riding boot world include patent leather trimming, animal prints, classic brown/black coloring, matching your horse’s coat color, and technical fabric design material.
- Out-of-style trends in the horse riding boot world include bright colors, building an entire equestrian outfit when not riding, and pairing them with cropped pants.
What are Horse Riding Boots?
The purpose of horse riding boots is simple. These boots were designed specifically to be worn during horse riding. Crazy, right?
But aside from this purpose, you can identify them in different ways. The main attribute is their knee-length or right above design.
It’s an essential trait because this height allows the boot to protect you against chafing (1). If you didn’t wear them, your leather saddle would constantly be against your legs.
As you can imagine, this situation ends up being extremely uncomfortable. It can make the entire ride an absolute nightmare.
Another critical component of horse riding boots is sturdy toes. This aspect is crucial to help protect your feet during a riding session.
Likewise, the boot’s pronounced heel offers similar benefits by keeping your feet in the stirrup. Again, it’s another way of keeping you safe during a ride.
These fundamental traits should make it easy to determine what is a horse-riding boot. But sadly, it doesn’t remain simple because there are many different types.
I’ll walk you through all the common ones in the next section to make it easier.
#1 Horse Riding Boot Styles
Most riding boots will fall into six categories in the horse riding world. Here’s a quick overview of them to provide an idea about which ones are best for your situation:
- Equestrian riding Boots: Designed specifically for competitive horse riding. Their entire purpose is to help riders perform in various events. They’ll have soles built for stirrups and cut for your position on the horse.
- Fashion Riding Boots: Not all riding boots are meant only for horse riding. Some are fashioned for walking around town and doing daily activities. They’ll be marketed for such activities and offer features to help support walking.
- Tall Boots: Traditional tall boots are user-friendly with their zipper placement. It allows riders to use a full-length zipper to take them off and on. As someone who’s rather lazy, it’s a design that I adore in riding boots.
- Paddock Boots: These riding boots are more casual and offer several user-friendly attributes, especially for children-size riders. You can expect them to be less expensive, zip up the side/back, and easily fit.
- Dress Boots: Considered a formal type of tall boot, dress boots are often used by dressage riders/formal classes and people who need attire for hunters. The Spanish tops within their design make them ideal for these activities.
- Field Boots: Horse riders who specialize in jumping or eventing disciplines often favor this type of tall boot (2). They have a more flexible design, featuring a sizable amount of foot space to help performance.
Looking for riding boots that combine luxury and style? Check out our article on the most expensive riding boots. If you’re looking for comfort and functionality, don’t miss our guide to the most comfortable paddock boots.
5 Hot Horse Riding Boot Trends
Horse riding boots are one of the more trendy footwear items on today’s market. So let’s not waste any more time and see what’s become the standard for equestrian riding!
#1 Patent Leather Trimming
One massive favorite among horse riders has been boots with patent leather trimming. It’s an easy way to help your footwear stand out without being too bold.
In other words, it produces a balance that gives your riding experience a little edge. So I can see why equestrian riders have gone the patent leather trimming route.
I also enjoy how well the patent leather trimming offsets white shirts. It’s just a solid look when riding around on your horse.
#2 Animal Print
Animal prints have become a new staple of horse riding boots. Honestly, the appeal is much similar to patent leather trimming.
These animal prints provide a way to increase the style of your riding boots without going overboard. It’s an effortless manner of giving your footwear much-needed personality.
My personal favorite is snakeskin details on riding boots. I love the bite; no pun intended, it provides when riding around on my horse.
#3 Classic Black or Brown Leather Coloring
Classic black or brown leather colored boots never go out of style for equestrian riders. It’s a staple for a reason, especially in this world.
It’s rare to see an equestrian rider wearing other colored boots. They’re staples for cross-country riders and dressage riders (along with navy dress boots).
So don’t be afraid to keep it classic with your horse-riding boots. It’s a choice any horse owner, such as trail riders, will never regret when choosing their equestrian footwear.
#4 Pairing The Boots With Your Horse’s Coat
A newer trend with equestrian riders is matching boot color with their horse’s coat. It’s an exciting way to create a bond while perfecting a particular aesthetic.
So if your horse has a black show coat, match them with high-quality black boots. I certainly love how it looks with my horse’s dark coat.
#5 Boots Made from Technical Fabrics
Boots made from technical fabrics have become all the rage among equestrian riders. However, this trend is much more about comfort and practicality than fashion.
After all, these fabrics make boots less restricting and more moisture-wicking. So you feel a lot more comfortable and safe during competitive or pleasure-riding sessions.
Honestly, I don’t think this trend will do anything but increase these next few years. There isn’t a single reason a person would prefer old materials.
I must note the importance of being safe and comfortable on a horse. Proper equipment, “such as strengthened riding boots and safety stirrups,” makes a huge difference in your safety (3).
Check out this video for more ideas:
3 Out of Style Horse Riding Boot Trends
Horse riding boots have a reputation for being very versatile accessories. But there are a few things people should avoid when wearing them.
Here’s a quick look at some out-of-style horse riding boot trends. These discussions will ensure you don’t get caught in inappropriate attire in 2023!
#1 Bright Colors
Bright-colored riding boots seem like they’d be a popular fashion trend. However, the boldness takes away attention from your outfit, especially if you’re going with a casual look.
It’s also a good idea to keep it simple when riding. In other words, stick to the classic brown or black rather than bright/light colors to avoid any issues or unwanted attention.
#2 Creating an All-Equestrian Look (When Not Riding)
If you intend on wearing equestrian-style riding boots in public, don’t overdo the equestrian look. It’ll come off too much like a costume.
Instead, it’s best to pair them with jeans or skirts. You want the boots to subtly grab people’s attention rather than creating an entire equestrian look.
#3 Pairing Them With Cropped Pants
Cropped pants are never a good look with high boots. I’ve seen some people attempt this combination using knee-high riding boots and I don’t see the appeal.
More importantly, it leaves the shin open for chafing issues. So I also can’t imagine this outfit being comfortable.
It seems like a disastrous setup for a casual type of riding or equestrian riding attire. You’d be better off choosing almost any other kind of pants.
You also won’t see this combination around fashion houses. It just serves no purpose, whether for horseback riding or styling.
#1 What Do Equestrian Riders Wear?
Equestrian riders wear black riding boots, a riding jacket, jodhpurs pants, and a helmet. It’s the standard attire for doing competitive equestrian racking.
#2 What is the Difference Between Horse Riding and Equestrian?
An equestrian is an expert rider who often rides more competitively than for pleasure. For instance, you won’t consider horse riding on vacation equestrian riding.
In the end, horse riding boot trends don’t change too quickly. So I fully expect anyone who follows this article’s guidelines to be prepared for the equestrian world.
But if you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the comment section. I’d love to continue this conversation. Thanks for reading!
1. Saddle Sores: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention [Internet]. Healthline. 2021 [cited 2023 Mar 7]. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/health/saddle-sores
2. Introduction to Breeds and Disciplines [Internet]. US Equestrian. Available from: https://www.usef.org/learning-center/introduction-breeds-disciplines
3. Ceroni D, De Rosa V, De Coulon G, Kaelin A. The Importance of Proper Shoe Gear and Safety Stirrups in the Prevention of Equestrian Foot Injuries. The Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery. 2007;46:32–9.
Bryanna is a 23-year-old Florida-based Grade 1 Para-dressage rider based in Florida and she has been riding for 5 years. Horses are her passion and her ultimate goal is to be selected for the US Para-Equestrian Team and represent the US at the Paralympics. She rides at Quantum Leap Farm and Emerald M Therapeutic Riding Center and her equine partners are Shane, an American Paint Horse, and Cappy a Welsh x Thoroughbred. When she is not helping at the barn, riding, or training, she is learning about horses, writing articles about them, and using her social media platforms to raise awareness for therapeutic riding and para-equestrianism, shares her journey, and advocates for greater inclusion of para-equestrian in the media and equestrian sport at large.
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