Half Chaps Measurements: 6 Easy Ways to Do it

How to measure for half chaps? How should half chaps fit?

Don’t worry if you don’t know how to measure half chaps, it’s easy!

You just need a few items and it won’t take longer than five minutes to do.

Just follow these 6 easy steps I’ve put together and before you know it you’ll be cursing those snug zippers!

Happily of course!

Related: What are Half Chaps Used for?

How to Measure Half Chaps

Half chaps need to fit correctly, making it essential to measure your legs to find the right size.

Each brand will have its own half chap sizing. You will discover that you won’t be able to wear chaps from some brands because of this.

a girl wearing half chaps for horse riding but how to measure half chaps properly?

You will see everything on size charts from tall calf height, regular calf height, wide, slim, and various combinations of each of these.

So, before you even start looking, get those legs measured!

#1 Gather Your Supplies

You will need a few supplies to measure for half chaps, but most people will have these on hand.

You will need a soft measuring tape, like those that a tailor uses. These often come in sewing kits but you can buy them separately as well.

To get a good result, I suggest you have someone help you. Your helper can take the measurements and write them down, ensuring you can stay seated in the correct position.

Finally, you will need a hard, straight-back chair to sit in, so that your thighs are level. Avoid sitting on a couch or another type of soft seat. The best kind of seat is a kitchen chair.

#2 Wear Your Breeches and Riding Socks

In order to get an accurate measurement, you will need to put on the breeches or other riding pants that you usually wear.

You also need to put on your ridings socks, since these are knee-high and will add thickness to your leg.

Also, I advise that you wear your paddock boots as well, as the boot heel will affect the height. You still measure from the floor with your riding boots on.

#3 Sit in the Chair

Now that you’re ready sit in the chair. Make sure that your feet are flat on the floor and there is a 90-degree angle at your knee.

Check to see that your lower leg is straight from the knee to the floor and that your thighs are even.

#4 Measure Leg Height

First, measure the height of your lower leg. Do this by placing one end of the cloth tape measure level with the floor at the back of your heel.

Run the tape up the back of your leg right up to the spot where your knee is bent. Ensure you keep the tape straight.

#5 Measure Your Calves

Take the cloth measuring tape and wrap it around the widest part of your calf. Keep it snug but not so tight that it pushes your muscle in.

Always take the calf measurement for both calves, as there is usually a difference.

I find this is a mistake that many people make. They measure just one leg only to find their new half chaps don’t fit correctly because one leg is wider than the other.

#6 Find a Brand That Matches Your Half Chap Size

Now that you are armed with your measurements, you can start a search for your half chaps. All good brands will have a size chart, which can sometimes be confusing.

Take your time to compare that chart with your measurements to find the brand and size that is perfect for you.

Check this video for more tips:

Things to Remember When Measuring Half Chaps

There are a few things to keep in mind when you are planning your new pair of half chaps.

Most half chaps are made with leather, which means they will mold to your leg and stretch as they break in.

close-up shot half chaps but what is purpose of chaps?

New leather half chaps will and should be tight. It is sometimes pretty hard to get them on.

I always find that having someone else help you put them on the first few times is really helpful. When putting them on at the beginning, try sitting down and stretching your leg out straight.

Don’t worry if your new half chaps seem too tall when you start wearing them. Just like tall riding boots, horseback riding chaps will drop as they mold to your leg.

The goal is that they drop to just the right spot at the back of your knee.

When taking half-chaps measurements, don’t take the drop or stretching into consideration, as you will end up with a too-big pair.

If you discover you have two different calf sizes, decide if you can get away with using the smaller measurement.

Remember the chaps will stretch, and most also have an elastic panel that will compensate for the different leg shapes.

Related: How to Wear Chaps Properly?

How to Care for Half Chaps

It is easy to care for your new chaps. Premium leather chaps will need extra care but are still easy to keep in good condition.

You can use saddle soap to clean your chaps and also use a leather conditioner. It’s not necessary to get specific products for this, just use the same products you use for your horse tack.

half chaps measurement


Trying to find the right pair of chaps will always bring up some questions. I’ve been there myself and spent hours trying to a pair that will fit me. To save you some time, I’ve answered a few of the most common questions here.

Do chaps run small?

Not necessarily. Like any item of clothing, sizing is very brand-dependent. Once you understand how to size half chaps, you will have not a problem finding a match for your legs.

How long should riding chaps be?

Half chaps should come right up to the knee. They should reach the bend in your knee. If they sit lower than ¼ from your knee, they are too short.

Should I get half chaps or tall boots?

Getting half chaps or tall boots is a personal preference. However, my advice is to get half chaps for everyday riding. They are cheaper and most people find them more comfortable. Half chaps are the most popular choice for schooling amongst more equestrians.

How tight should chaps fit?

How tight should chaps fit

Asking how tight should chaps fit is an excellent question! At all times they should fit snuggly but not so tight that they pinch or hurt your legs. However, they should be very tight at first, so expect some discomfort for the first few rides in them.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, that’s cleared up any panic you’re going through after looking at half chap size charts and getting totally confused! Believe me, I know how you feel. Some of those charts get pretty complicated.


  • “How to Fit Half Chaps – Measuring for the Best Half Chap Fit | Ariat.” 2020. Ariat International. Ariat International. 2020. https://www.ariat.com/al/how-to-fit-half-chaps.
  • “How to Measure for Your Half Chaps.” 2021. Doversaddlery.com. 2021. https://www.doversaddlery.com/how-to-measure-for-your-half-chaps/a/1600/.
men on horse wearing proper size half chaps

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Siun L
Siun L

Siun is an all-around animal lover, with a passion for horses. She grew up in the United States, competing in the hunters, equitation, and jumpers. Now living in Ireland, she competes with her own showjumping horses. She is experienced in the care and training of horses, as well as teaching riding lessons. She loves to combine her love for horses with her work. When not working, Siun will be found at the stables, rain or shine.
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