Why Do Horse Riders Wear Long Boots?

There’s no arguing that every piece of equestrian gear is essential when riding a horse. With each item you wear, you are able to dramatically increase your and your horse’s comfort and safety levels.

For instance, a pair of long boots not only keep your feet safe but also helps you gain better control of the horse you’re riding. There are several reasons why horse riders wear long boots. We’ll discuss each one today in the hopes of convincing you to purchase a good-quality pair that meets your needs.

Horse Riders and Long Boots

The relationship between horse riders and their pair of horse-riding boots goes way back. In the case of long-boots wearers, their affinity for their equestrian footwear stems from how it addresses the following:


Like any outdoor activity, horse riding is prone to weather changes. As such, this calls on riders to don a pair of quality long boots. The skies won’t always be clear, and days won’t always be sunny.

On some days, riders will have to rely on their boots to face the rain, mud, and chilly air. The great thing about equestrian long boots is that they address all kinds of weather needs, so they have a rider’s back either way.

The majority of horse-riding boots have water-resistant qualities and varying levels of insulation. Wearing a pair of boots for a specific environment keeps your feet dry and comfortable. It also helps regulate lower-body temperature, which, in turn, enables you to manage your horse better.


Another reason to opt for a pair of riding boots when doing any form of equestrian is their riding-specific design. In particular, the boots’ soles have prominent heels that prevent the feet from skidding through the stirrups.

Ideally, the sole should be on the thin side since anything too broad limits dexterity and reduces your feel of the activity. In addition, soles should be level instead of cleated. This way, your feet are practically against the stirrups, allowing for a more controlled grip.

Most long boots come in leather, which is usually the higher quality and more expensive pairs. Alternatively, riders can go for more affordable boots made with rubber and simulated leather. These cheaper alternatives might not necessarily give you the equestrian feel, but they do the job of protecting you nonetheless.


Durability ties into boot construction but deserves its own section for more emphasis. The fact is, horse riding sets you up for an incident or three.

Let’s face it; you don’t become an advanced-level rider without falling off your steed or mare at least a few times. The extent of these incidents’ impact depends on the quality of your gear, including the durability of your boots.

With a good pair of long riding boots, your legs and ankles won’t get strained, and your calf receives the protection it needs during long rides. These boots also help prevent serious lower-body injuries in case you fall off your horse.


If you are looking to compete officially one of these days, you will need to abide by the rules that govern riding events. Competitors are required to don the appropriate pair of riding boots for events like dressage and show jumping. These competition requirements are as much for safety as they are for aesthetics.

Each event typically has guidelines that determine the style of boots allowed for competition. Picking from the different kinds of horse-riding boots can be overwhelming, especially if you’re new to the activity. You might also be unaware of the style that suits your form of equestrian best.

Choosing the pair of boots that addresses your specific riding style is crucial to unleashing the pair’s full potential, safety- and comfort-wise.

Horse Riding Boots for the Different Riding Styles

You have the following categories of long boots to choose from for horse riding. Make sure to pick wisely.

  • Field boots

This is a pair that’s excellent for general riding and jumping. It’s distinguished by the unique lacing at its ankle, which provides more flexibility.

  • Dress boots

These are laceless boots stylishly designed and often come in black. They are typically worn in horse shows.

  • Hunt boots

These boots are made for hunting. Their distinctive feature is the tan cuff at the shaft’s top.

  • Paddock boots

These are ankle boots with short laces. They are designed for kid riders but can also be worn by adults for daily pleasure riding.

  • Western riding boots

Most know them as cowboy boots. They usually have higher heels, shorter shafts, and are more loosely fitting. Most of them are laceless and can be pulled on quite easily.

Horse Riders and Long Boots

Choosing the Right Pair of Boots

Long riding boots are an essential piece of gear for equestrian activities for many reasons. However, it’s imperative to choose one in a style that meets your specific type of horse riding. In doing so, you’d get the most out of a pair’s safety, comfort, and aesthetic benefits. Learn the different types of long boots available and see which one addresses your riding needs best.

Should you consider some aspects when picking your riding boots? If so, which are the most important?

Horse riding is a fantastic hobby to have and wearing the proper boots can improve the experience. When you haven’t been horse riding for that long and look for your very first pair of boots, we recommend you pay attention to the following aspects.


We recommend you buy riding boots with closed toes. No matter your riding style, the boots have to feature a small tread and 1-in to 1 ½ in high. It will reduce the risk of the boot slicing through the stirrups and get stuck. Never put your life at risk and get the proper equipment for horse riding.


Many materials are used for riding boots, with leather and rubber as the most common. You don’t need to be an expert to know that leather boots sit at the higher end in pricing. Should you give them the special care they need, leather boots can last for over a decade. If leather boots sound appealing to you, look for high-quality leather and good design. Such models are worth every single penny, especially if you see it as long-time investment.

For horse riding in the colder seasons, we suggest you get waterproof and insulated boots. Rubber boots are trendy amongst budget-oriented riders, but they have some downsides. They will heat up, hold the moisture inside and can get tricky to get off. If you don’t have a problem with this, you should get a pair of rubber boots, especially for the wet weather.


Most horse riders don’t need much time to learn about the various styles of horse riding. Some boots work best for a specific horse riding style. Every discipline will require particular demands on footwear.


Always look at your riding boots as an investment in the long run, especially if you know you will horse ride for many years. With some maintenance and proper care, high-quality riding boots can last for many years and be willing to open your wallet big.


Style is probably the least important aspect to consider when picking your riding boots. It doesn’t mean that you should settle with boots that you don’t like. Why ride in boots that you don’t like when you can find a model that you truly like?

What do riding boots need to offer?

Whether you want long or short riding boots, you should opt for boots that tick the following boxes:

  • Offer support for foot and leg for riding
  • the heel shouldn’t allow the foot to slip through the stirrup
  • Good quality material to reduce the risk of bruising and injuring
  • A thick sole for outdoor uses and comfortable wear
  • Ankle protection for riding and walking

Dress boots or field boots? Which of the two types works better for you?

There are several types of boots for horse riding, but only two of them are long boots. Details come down below.

Dress boots

Dressage riders and ridden showing competitors opt for dress boots because they’re elegant and highly polished. Equestrians who produce and bring on horses on the flatwork also prefer dress boots.

Dress boots represent the most traditional long boots and attract users with their sleek profile and elegant appearance. The narrow fit and soft-touch material are also crucial when choosing dress boots over field models. Different manufacturers use different materials of various qualities for the dress boots. Commonly, the material is relatively firm to help the leg stay straight and provide efficient support.

Most of the time, the high-end models come with a zip application, whereas the more affordable ones come with a pull-on application. Ideally, the dress boots should be durable and have flexible rubber soles for comfort and the best grip. High-quality materials will have incredible resistance to wear and tear from the friction of the stirrups. The adjustable fit comes from features like full-length rear zip and a full-length stretch panel along with the zip.

Field Boots

Experienced riders who prefer jumping (cross-country, hunting, or show) typically use field boots. These boots are made with a low lace fastening which ensures breathability and freedom. Such models are easy to customize for the perfect fit.

The field boots are commonly made from high-quality soft leather to ensure freedom of movement when in the jumping position. A contoured fit through the ankle, elasticated laces to the front, and a full-length back zip system are characteristics of high-quality field boots. A high Spanish cut topline and a moisture-wicking sock liner will ensure a dry and comfortable wear each time.

How should the long-riding boots fit you?

We recommend you spend some time before buying your long-riding boots, especially if you’re willing to make a splurge. Therefore, knowing your measurements is essential for getting the best fit.

Take a cloth tape measure, a pen, and a piece of paper to write down your measurements. Ask someone to give you a hand for effortless and accurate measurement.  Since the socks and riding breeches will impact how the riding boots feel, we recommend you wear them.

Following the steps will help you get the accurate measurements:

  • Sit down on a chair and place your feet flat on the floor. Seek to have a 90-degree angle for your knees.
  • Have the person helping you measure the calf around. Make sure they measure at the widest point to find out the correct width you need.
  • Ask the person helping you measure from the back of your knee to the floor to identify the height.
  • Brands provide clients with a boot-size guide, so you only need to compare your height and width measurements to the brand’s size guide.
  • As for shoe size, there are no differences between regular show sizes and long boots.


What do you do if there are no boots available with your foot size?

Sometimes, you won’t find the perfect match for your width and height. Here are some suggestions to try:

  • Go up to the next size
  • Go up to the next height
  • Go up to the next calf width

Frequently Asked Questions

Riding boots are different from regular boots. In which way?

Riding boots have a particular heel structure, as the heel has to have a specific shape and provide support. On the other hand, regular boots may have a little or a large heel, but none will offer the support one needs when horse riding.

Is it ok to wear riding boots in the snow?

If you plan on spending the day walking through snow to catch horses in fields, opt for tall riding boots. Good quality models will keep your whole leg dry and won’t let snow get inside. Look for boots that are waterproof, breathable and able to wick moisture to keep your feet dry and warm all day long.

Some people ride without boots. Is that safe or comfortable?

Many things matter for comfortable and safe horse riding and adequate footwear is one, right along the helmet. For centuries, people have been riding horses without using tall riding boots. However, you should put on footwear with at least a 1-in heel. Boots with closed and protected toes and a good grip are ideal for horse riding.

The riding boots are higher on the outside. Why is that?

The outside of the boot is higher than the inside and this a design that professionals call the Spanish cut. Thanks to this design, the boot fits closely to the leg through the ankle, calf, and top—the leg looks more elegant this way. At the same time, the design will let the rider have a flexed ankle and shorter jumping leg position.

There are short and long riding boots. Which type is better?

Professionals believe that long-riding boots provide better protection than short boots. They also reduce the risk of chafing and pinching from stirrup leathers.

Robert Dwayne

Robert Dwayne

To say that I am an outdoors enthusiast is probably an understatement. I am hyper passionate about everything outdoors: hiking, survival, hunting. On this website I am sharing my stories and experiences, and I hope you'll find inspiration to take up your own adventures!