Best Riding Boots Reviewed & Rated for Performance
Finding the right pair of riding boots can make your time in the saddle comfortable and increase your level of protection. There are numerous styles to choose from, the safest and most stylish of which is the Long Boot. These are made in either rubber or leather and both materials have their advantages. Rubber riding boots can be wiped clean with minimum fuss after a long day out riding and are also a popular choice for work in the stables; however, the most superior and stylish of the two are Long Boots made out of leather. Many long boots have the option of a zipper on the back or on the side. While all of these models are designed to pull onto the leg, having a zipper may prove an advantage, especially if your hands are numb with cold.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 19 hrs of research
Strap for Snug Fit
- Cole Haan Hayes
- Lucchese Emma
- Ariat Heritage Roper
- Clarks Maymie Stellar
- Dublin River
- Roper Metallic Underlay
- Mountain Horse Sovereign
- EquiStar Cadet Flex II
- Dublin Pinnacle
- Ariat Windermere
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Best Riding Boots
1. Cole Haan Hayes
Strap for Snug Fit
Buckle May Snag
Cole Haan has the reputation of being one of America’s top luxury brands. One look at these gorgeous long riding footwear and you can see why. They have a tall, elegant shaft with a simple buckle around the back of the ankle area, with an adjustable fit. Crafted from smooth waterproof leather, these are beautiful in their simplicity.Read more
Pulling on and off boots can be a real chore, especially if you’re tired or your hands are numb with cold after a day out riding. These feature a pull loop at the back of the shoe, making it just that bit easier to get these beauties on and off.
Fine Leather Material
They are made from a soft leather material, which is snug to the fit, but as the boot ages and the leather softens further, it’ll flex and give in all the right places providing you with a customized fit.
Cost and Value
Certainly not the cheapest pair on the list. But with bags of style and elegance which make these a great investment. Look after them and they’ll take care of you for years to come.
2. Lucchese Emma
Leather Lace Ties
Difficult to Clean
This leather and suede riding foot apparel from Lucchese tie at the top of the 15” shafts for a stylish look. They feature a sole that will stand up to mucking and muddy ground, hours on and off your mount, and can cope with almost any terrain, a great combination for the serious equestrian. They also feature Lucchese’s famous comfort.Read more
Leather Composite Lugs
The leather composite lugs on the outsole will provide grip and stability when dealing with the more unpleasant aspects of the horse world – mud, muck and cleaning out those stables and will assure your grip on most other terrains as well. Made for work and style.
Lucchese footwear is renowned for their comfort, and these sure are comfortable. They feature breathable leather and suede boot and shaft and cushioned insoles that will stand up and keep you comfortable through a long day on the ranch.
Cost and Value
They are near the top of the list price-wise and do represent a significant investment. However, they will be among the finest riding footwear you’ve ever owned – equally comfortable in the stables as they are in an urban setting. They will last you a very long time, remain comfortable and stand up to all the work you can give them.
3. Ariat Heritage Roper
Easy to Clean
This is a high-performance riding boot with an outsole designed for the stirrup. It features a stability shank, a roper toe, full grain leather, and a Duratread sole. The lining is leather for breathability and comfort, and the footwear is built in a classic but simple Western style.Read more
No slipping from the stirrups in this foot apparel. It is designed for horseback and more importantly, for working on horseback. The foot apparel is for ranchers and cowboys who spend a lot of time in the saddle and need a reliable, performance riding footwear.
The ATS (Advanced Torque Stability) shank in the sole ensures your feet do not over-flex while you are in the saddle. A stable foot means you can focus on your work and not ensuring the placement of your feet.
Cost and Value
These are in the lower third of the price range relative to this list. While they still represent an investment, they are an incredible work boot for anyone who works around or on horses. They will last and will keep your foot protected, are easy to clean and reliable. Well worth the price.
4. Clarks Maymie Stellar
Clarks is not a brand you’d usually expect to find on a riding boot list. However, with over 100 years of crafting fine dress shoes, Clarks have now put all of their expertise into making this riding footwear that equestrians will come to love.
This foot apparel also comes complete with an inside zipper, so regardless of how cold your hands are after a day of riding, pulling this boot on or off won't be a problem.
For superior comfort, Clarks Maymie Stellar features a midsole that is made from memory foam. This means that your foot is perfectly cushioned and comfortable for all day riding.
This foot apparel has some flourishes that will delight its owner, including a trio of antique style studs and fashionable accent wrap around straps across the upper neck of the shoe.
Cost and Value
Clarks have excelled themselves in crafting a beautiful riding footwear in cognac leather, providing comfort and protection to the rider. If style is your thing, then invest in a pair of Clarks Maymie Stellar riding boots.
5. Dublin River
Dublin River boots is a long equestrian boot packed with features. They’re made from waterproof material and feature an HBR waterproof membrane to 160mm; designed to keep your feet warm, dry and well protected. They come in two different styles of two-tone colors, or if you prefer to keep things uniform there is an all-black variety too.Read more
They have an elastic gusset at the inside upper calf area and also feature a drawstring at the top of the boot so you can be sure of an adjustable, snug fit.
The Dublin River features a unique Rider Comfort System (RCS) this means that moisture on the foot is controlled through it’s advanced lining technology, with a superior cushioning layer for comfort.
Cost and Value
A fully waterproofed footwear, The Dublin River is a choice worth investing in. It’s RCS insole is designed for all-day comfort, meaning riders can be sure of a foot apparel that won't let them down.
6. Roper Metallic Underlay
Easy to Clean
Upper is Glued to the Sole
This lightweight Western riding footwear is made of 100% leather in the upper and a synthetic sole. It has a metallic underlay pattern all through the boot. This boot is more fashion boot than work boot due to the lack of tread but it will perform in the saddle in any event, keeping your feet protected and in the stirrups.Read more
The underlay in the boot is very unique, made of a metallic coated leather. The cutouts are well sewn and will be durable. The duressed style of the leather adds to its fashionable elements. This is a very stylish Western riding footwear that anyone would be proud to have in their collection.
This is a substantial foot apparel but it is also designed to be lightweight, so it will not fatigue your feet. Whether you’re in the saddle or just hanging out, the light weight of the boot and the breathable leather will keep your feet comfortable.
Cost and Value
It is in the lower range of prices and will perform well as a fashion boot. It will also perform in the saddle but due to the underlay and glued on upper, it will neither be easy to clean or durable for stable work. Keep these for time off the ranch.
7. Mountain Horse Sovereign
High Density Outsole
This long riding footwear features a Spanish cut top and lacing across the front of the foot for a customized fit. The leather lining is premium selected for its comfort and durability. The leather uppers are hardwearing, lustrous and full grain. These have a buffed up shine and finish, which will make you the envy of your riding friends.Read more
Heels Down Position
This long riding foot apparel feature MH Prolaze Stretch-Flex notch that makes for an easier heel down position, which will feel considerably softer.
There is a hidden and hardwearing piece of elastic that runs along the inside of the back of the shaft area and provides a superior customized fit for the rider.
Cost and Value
Packed with features, including a ripple zone in the outsole for more responsive grip, these are a pricy shoe which more then justifies its price tag with great looks, top-notch materials, and technology to give any rider an edge against the competition.
8. EquiStar Cadet Flex II
Easy to Clean
For the equestrian kids, EquiStar brings you the Cadet Flex II, a rubber riding foot apparel that can accommodate wider calves, is really easy to clean and is easy for the younger folk to put on and remove again. Rubber is not the most breathable material so be sure your young horse rider wears a good pair of socks to help wick moisture from the feet. On the other hand, they can muck without worry about ruining their footwear in this pair of riders.Read more
Suitable for Wide Calves
There are elastic panels along the back of the shaft, that will adjust to kids with wider calves, leaving them far more comfortable. Also, the elastic panels make it simple for young people to put on and remove the boot and will accommodate whatever pants your child is wearing.
Easy to Clean
Kids have a tendency to get dirty. Add horses to the mix and, well that just spells loads of cleaning. Luckily these can be rinsed down easily with a hose, standing up to whatever your kids throw at them.
Cost and Value
These are the least expensive riding foot apparel in our line-up and they are quite a value given how long they will last, the fit designed to be adaptable to your child’s leg and clothing and the ease with which they are cleaned. Your child will appreciate how easy these are as well
9. Dublin Pinnacle
Not for High Arches
This stylish leather boot is made for riding and all that comes with it. It is waterproof, breathable and has a sole that will stay in the stirrup. It can handle life on the ranch, work in the stable and hours on horseback and keep coming back for more.Read more
Take care of your business rain or shine, muck or mud, with the confidence that comes with waterproof leather footwear. Comfortable and breathable as well, this boot will perform no matter the conditions.
The insole in the Pinnacle is designed for riders. Whether you’re in the stirrups or out, your feet will remain cool, dry and comfortable.
Cost and Value
These shoes are at the lower end of the price range but are still a bit of an investment. The payback for that investment though is a dry and comfortable boot that will perform for hours in the saddle, in the stables, and on the ranch. Wherever you take your mount, it will hold up.
10. Ariat Windermere
Waterproof Textile Lining
Soft Suede Upper
The Ariat Windermere is riding footwear that is both stylish and versatile. Made from full grain leather, it also features a suede upper that is soft to the touch and waterproof. It’s Dura tread rubber sole provides excellent traction and grips the ground well regardless of conditions. It features a stirrup friendly small heel, designed so that a rider’s foot won’t slip whilst engaged with the stirrup.Read more
Four Layer Rebound (4LR) Technology
Ariat has always endeavored to stay one step ahead of the competition with its technology, and this one is no exception. Its four-layer rebound technology is designed to keep the foot stabilized for comfort that lasts all day.
The Ariat Windermere is fashioned from full grain leather and soft suede upper, which if looked after correctly will last the rider for years to come. Both leather and suede is fully waterproof and durable for all seasons.
Cost and Value
The Ariat Windermere is not the cheapest riding foot apparel, but what you do get is a brand with a leading reputation and quality that is hard to beat. Riders trust Ariat, and the Windermere is a fantastic boot, which is why it has made number one on this list.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
There are a number of things one must consider when it comes to choosing a good pair of horse riding boots.
First of all, it must be sturdy with a small heel. This will help to protect your feet if they get stepped on. It should also prevent your foot from slipping through the stirrup, should you be unfortunate enough to fall off your horse. This is why sandals, canvas sneakers, and flip-flops have no place in Equestrian activities, the protection they provide for your feet is simply inadequate. You’ll have to be eagle-eyed too, as some high street brands will market high heeled footwear as riding boots. Check the size of the heel and if you suspect it is too big, leave them on the shelf.
There are different varieties available, which style you choose depends on the discipline in which you would like to compete. It’s well worth researching the dressage required for each discipline before you compete.
The two main types are the full length and ankle boots, which are also known as jodhpur boots.
Long (or Field) Riding Boots
There are two traditional types of Long Boots, these are Dress Boots and Field Boots.
You may also find Hunt or Top Boots in the Long Boot section, as these are like dress boot apparel with the addition of a cuff at the top.
Long (or Jodhpur) Riding Boots
The other popular type is the short paddock or Jodhpur boots. These allow closer contact between the riders legs and the side of the horse. Some riders prefer the long boot for the added protection on the leg as riders may experience chaffing whilst wearing Jodhpurs. One way around this is for riders to wear gaiters, which also give the appearance of long boots.
This type of foot apparel offers to protect your legs and ankles, which you may find useful if you fall off your horse! The lower leg protection also prevents irritation, as the riders can rub up against the horse’s saddle.
Some Long riding footwear comes with a steel toe cap for added protection. Whilst this would keep your toes safe from an unplanned stomp from a horses hoof, they can add considerable extra weight to the foot. Long boots can be made from a variety of materials. The two most popular are leather and rubber.
Both leather and rubber types can be pulled over the leg and onto the foot. Some also have a zip to make this process easier, which can be really useful if you’ve been riding outside all day and your hands are numb from cold.
Leather has always been seen as the most prestigious material for a riding boot. It is also sturdy, hardwearing and waterproof; all the qualities required for outdoor riding. Leather will become supple over time, providing the right amount of give in areas that require added flexibility, in accordance with your riding style. It may take some time to break in your leather boots, so be cautious of the tips you may read online of how to speed up this process. One such tip was to wear them in the bath and then after until dry. I’d rather not wear an expensive pair of boots in the bath to test this theory, and I wouldn’t recommend you try either.
You might, therefore, have to put up with the rub until the leather eases up and softens. If the blisters get too severe, try applying plasters on the affected areas. You may experience a lot of pain in the process of breaking your footwear in, but in the long run, it’ll be worth the agony when you have a fully customized pair of long riding boots.
Caring for your leather riding footwear will prolong their life and keep them looking good.
There are four steps in this process: clean, condition, polish and weatherproof.
However, wearing rubber can come with its advantages. During bad weather, you may not want to damage your prized leather foot apparel, so rubber styles are perfect for these occasions. If they get muddy, they can be easily be wiped clean and provide excellent protection against all of the elements. They’re also great to wear when cleaning the stables. Many riders will make a quick change to rubber footwear to avoid damaging their more expensive leather types.
If you’re just getting into horse riding and equestrian sports, then rubber riding footwear might be your best option. They share many of the same qualities as leather riding boots, but without the huge price tag. It will give you something to look toward if you decide that equestrian activity is for you.
A lot goes into determining the comfort of a boot. Things like materials and overall fit will play an important role in comfort. Let's take a look at these factors in a little more detail, shall we?
When we look at materials in the context of comfort, we look more at the interior and soles of a shoe. While the upper does play a part, the interior and soles have a larger role in this, as those are what will be constantly touching your feet when wearing them. Some shoes will use leather for the interior as well as the upper, and others may use a fabric lining. Fabric linings make the shoe slightly more breathable, while a leather interior further reinforces water resistance.
Leather or not, soles are one of the most important parts of a shoe. The insole is making direct contact with your foot, the midsole provides support and shock absorption, and the outsole is making direct contact with the ground. A good insole will keep your feet cool and well-cushioned, and Ortholite is a very common insole material. Most midsoles will be made with EVA foam, which provides good shock absorption and longevity. Outsoles are typically made of rubber, which can be made to be waterproof, non-marking, or even slip-resistant.
Most of us know our shoe size, and for most adults, it isn't something that will change drastically over time. Personally, I've been a size 8.5 for at least ten years, and I wear the same shoe size as my mother. However, size only tells you so much about a shoe, and won't be an exact determination of fit. What will be an exact determination of fit is putting them on and ensuring that they're comfortable. It's best to have about a half inch of room between your big toe and the front of the shoe, as this will allow your feet wiggle room as you walk and move. Wiggle your toes around a bit to ensure that there is enough room. Two different products can be the same size, but fit very differently because of the shape of the shoe. Let your comfort be your guide, and read customer reviews before purchasing so you can get an idea of the real-world experiences that others have had with them. Some leather shoes will fit very well but feel a little tight at first, though not unbearably so. Leather takes longer to break in than textiles, and some leather shoes take longer than others. Be patient with this process.
Leather is one of the most durable textiles there is, and in ancient times was even used as battle armor. Researchers are still finding leather artifacts; one example is a shoe found by archaeologists in Armenia that was found to be over 5,000 years old- older than Stonehenge!
Of course, 5,000-year-old leather is a rarity. That being said, you can get a lot of durability and longevity out of high-quality leathers. They offer natural water protection that textiles such as canvas don’t Have, and a solid leather shoe will resist cracking and wear with the right amount of care. We've explained in the FAQ section below how to keep your leather shoes in good condition.
Not all leathers are created equal. Some shoes will be made out of multiple cuts of leather, which can impact durability and cause them to Not have a uniform look. This can be seen in discoloration, or even one shoe being a completely different color than the other. When it comes to durable leather, you want something that is thick and uniform in color. This ensures that the shoes were made out of the same cut.
Of course, the upper isn’t the only part of a shoe. Durability also depends on the soles. A leather of exceptional quality doesn’t mean much when paired with a sole that is lacking in quality. The outsole of a shoe is usually the first part to show signs of wear and tear, so it’s important to take good care of your shoes so they can be passed down to future generations.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Just started out with riding? Make sure that when you're training or learning, that you get plenty of water, and time to stretch after riding. While on a horse, riding may have you using muscles your body isn't used to using in such a way, and could take a little time to build up strength and muscle memory.
While many folks enjoy riding as a leisurely activity, for the more competitive, there are plenty of sports where riding horses is involved. Polo, equestrian show jumping and vaulting, and horse racing are only a few of the sports you can look into.
Other Factors to Consider
Leather lends itself well to equestrian activity and if well maintained, leather footwear can last for years. They may take some time to break in and this can be a painful process; although, once the leather softens, you’ll find it has bend and flex in all the right places. This will customize the footwear to your particular riding style.
Frequently Asked Questions
A good pair of riders footwear is an essential part of any equestrian’s inventory. There are a number of very fine brands on the market, most of which are covered on the top ten listed above. Ariat is probably the most known and respected brand. Their footwear is designed to keep the rider comfortable and protected during long days on horseback. There are also some unexpected choices available too, such as Clarks Maymie Stellar riding boot. Clark brings their experience of crafting excellent shoes and have made a boot which sit’s amongst some of the best riding footwear to have emerged in recent years.
A good pair of riding foot apparel will keep your feet and legs warm, have excellent waterproofing, and be safe whilst in the saddle. There are many different types of insulation, from modern linings such as neoprene and Thermolite, to traditional types of insulation, such as wool and cotton. It’s really down to you as the rider to decide which is the most comfortable. All long riding boots can be pulled off the foot, but if you think you’ll be riding on particularly cold days, choosing a winter riding boot that has a zipper running down the side could be useful, especially if your hands are numb with cold. Choosing the best pair of winter riding boots really is down to preference, but I would recommend you look at Ariat’s Bromont Pro H2O for an excellent boot, from a brand you can rely on.
A good trail boot is designed to keep you comfortable for hours in the saddle. They are also a great choice of footwear for when you’re in the barn mucking out and carrying out other chores. They’re rugged, and much shorter than traditional long boots, offering feet and ankle protection only. Although trail foot apparel isn’t reviewed in this article, it’s a popular question to ask, and therefore I will do my best to answer! There are certain things you should look for when selecting such footwear. Pay attention to the manufacturer’s information on the outsole. You’ll need rubber which is highly resistant to manure and acidic waste. The Ariat Terrain leather footwear has a rubber outsole that lasts up to four times longer than traditional outsoles and so comes highly recommended.
There are some standard features to look out for when selecting a great cowboy boot. Make sure that the foot apparel has a pointed toe. This isn’t a fashion thing, it’s so that a riders foot can easily slide into a stirrup. In order for the foot to sit securely in the stirrup, this footwear generally has a higher heel, designed so that a riders foot doesn’t slip through the stirrup on long rides. They will also have a tall shaft, this will keep feet and legs protected from thorns, prickly bushes, and barbwire. The vast majority of cowboy footwear is made from leather, this is in order to keep feet protected when they bump against the stirrups, and prevent legs from irritation as they rub against the stirrup straps. In case you were wondering what the straps at the top were, these help to pull the boot on the foot more easily, but they are also designed to be loose enough that if a rider falls from his horse with his foot still in the stirrup, it will slide off the foot easily.
There are a number of brands which sell great cowboy and cowgirl boots. Have a look at Ariat Legend or Heritage range to start.
There are a number of brands claiming to be the most popular and to be fair to their claim, most of these brands do make riding foot apparel which has excellent features. It would, therefore, be down to personal preference as to which pair is the best for you and your riding style. If you are looking for a good place to start, check out the range by Ariat. They are hard to beat because of the superior technology and performance that come with every pair.
If you’re purchasing a new pair of long riding foot apparel, don’t be put off if you find them really uncomfortable at first. This is normal, and they will need to be broken in. Expect to get rubs and blisters around the back of your knees and ankles! But fear not, over time they will start to soften and loosen, in all the places where there is pressure. Because of this, you will eventually experience a customized fit, with flex and give in all the right places. You’ll go through this process with all of your leather tall foot apparel and it can be a pain (literally) but stick with it, and it’ll pay off in due course.
- How to care for your leather riding boots, online article, May 12, 2010 ,
- How to choose the right long riding boots, online article, May 17, 2017 ,
- All About The Types Of Leather Use In Shoes – Type, Thickness, And Grains, ,
- Leather Shoes & How To Repair Them, ,