The Story Behind Riding Boots
Riding boots have changed over time, but not a whole lot. Right now, the heels are lower than they were in earlier times. The heels were put on to keep the boots from sliding around too much--falling out of the stirrups, for example. It offered a gripping method to keep the rider on the horse, and comfortable. Whether you're zipping them up or pulling them on the hard way, riding boots usually have a rounded toe. One exception is the cowboy boot, popular in Western riding and fashion.
Different Types: More to Riding Boots Than Knee-High, Casual Leather
Some would say the most obvious feature of riding boots is the leather. They'd be wrong. Riding boots can come in synthetic leather, for one, but they also come in other materials, as well--even rubber. Not only that, but they're not all knee-high boots. Some actually stop at the ankles.
English Versus Western Boots
The English are such avid equestrians, they have quite an array of boots that fall under the riding boots category. There are field boots, dress boots, hunt boots and paddock boots. The Westerners, on the other hand, tend to wear cowboy boots for show, living up to the image of the rough and tough cowboys of the Old Wild West.
Here's the breakdown on the different types of English boots:
- Field boots are usually black and flexible. They're used primarily in jumping activities, from hunting to show. What gives them their flexibility is the lacing at the top. For an illustration of how to tie your riding boots, view this site.
- Dress boots, too, are usually black, but they're not nearly as flexible. These are worn, as the name suggests, for show, mostly. If you immediately think of tall boots when you hear "riding boots", it's this style you're conjuring up. They're worn in formal riding events and do not have the lacing at the top that the field boots do.
- Hunt Boots are normally black and tan. The boots is black, but the cuff at the top is tan. Women don't usually wear these. Self-explanatory in name, the hunt boots are a type of riding boots used mostly for hunting.
- Paddock Boots are the shortest and most versatile riding boots. They come up only to the ankle and are used for everyday riding. Children sport this type. Paddock boots look very similar to other boots found in fashion today. They're similar in style to military style boots in some cases, as well, due to the color, height and laces.
Decide What You Need
Your first mission when you're looking to buy riding boots, is to figure out what you'd like to do in them. For show, go with your traditional dress boots or even cowboy boots. If you're riding at your leisure, opt for the more comfortable paddock or field boots. And for hardcore foxhunting, go for the hunt boots. It all depends on your preferences and the activity you'll be enjoying.