How to Fit Horse Riding Boots

If the shoe fits, that won’t guarantee your boots will. Properly fitting boots are essential for riding, to ensure you have comfort, protection, and stability for your feet. It’s not just a matter of buying the same size as you’d get for everyday shoes; there’s a little more you need to know to get it right.

Keep in mind that the European standards for clothing sizes are different from those in North America, so take into account where the manufacturer is located, and adjust if necessary. Also, some manufacturers may state that their sizes run large or small, so it’s always best to research in advance, and follow their sizing guides where available.

  • field boots
  • paddock boots
  • dressage boots

Size also depends on the type of boot you’ll be wearing. For tall boots, you’ll need to know your calf size as well as your foot size, and determine the proper boot height. Field boots should come up to the middle of the kneecap to allow for some dropping as they are broken in over time. They will have laces at the front of the ankle to allow for flexing. By contrast, dressage boots do not have laces, are stiffer, and will not drop, so they should come to just under your kneecap. Paddock boots will provide support at the ankle and are worn with half-chaps to provide the look of tall boots. They’re good for casual and trail riding, but at the competition level, they can only be worn by children.

Determining Sizes

measuring for boots diagram

To determine sizes, sit with your knees at a 90-degree angle, while wearing the same type of apparel you’ll be wearing while riding, whether chaps, breeches, socks, or tights. Use a measuring tape to measure your calf around its widest part. Then, measure from the floor to the back of your knee to determine your boot height.

Fitting Tips

As with any footwear, you should try on boots while wearing the leggings that will be worn under them. The boots should be snug around your calves, but not to the point of cutting off circulation. Still, they should not pull on or off without effort. If the boots have zippers, make sure they go all the way up and down, and that your foot passes easily over them.

Because of the height you’ll require, it may be possible that the boots may larger around the foot. In that case, you can use a cushion or padded footbed to fill up the space so the ball of your foot will be comfortable in a stirrup.

boot fit diagram

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  • Published:
  • Updated: 5/30/2018: 10:22:48 AM ET