One of the most exhilarating experiences is riding away on the back of a horse. However, without the proper riding gear, it can turn out to be a very painful experience. A good pair of horseback riding shoes are an essential part of your riding equipment as your feet need to stay steady and safe in the stirrups. Shoes for horseback riding come in a wide range of styles and sizes to suit all levels of riders.
No matter what kind of riding you’re engaged in, you want to be sure that your feet are well-protected. The most practical pair of shoes for horse riding is a solid pair of closed shoes. Not everyone who goes riding needs to invest in riding boots, especially if it’s only going to be a one-off thing. Shoes that have a sturdy heel will also do well for a casual rider looking for shoes for horseback riding.
How To Choose The Best Shoes For Horseback Riding
If you’re a regular rider then it’s a good idea to invest in high-quality horseback riding shoes. A few extra dollars may pinch but they’ll be worth it in the long run. No matter what kind of rider you are, there are certain features that you need to look out for in a good pair of shoes for horseback riding.
Shoes for horse riding come in a wide range of styles but the two main styles are tall boots or short boots. As suggestive of the name, tall boots extend up the leg to just below the knee. They are further divided into two main styles – field boots or dress boots. Field boots are distinguishable from the soft leather and laced closure at the front of the ankle. This adds to the flexibility of these horseback riding shoes which also makes them quite comfortable. Dress or dressage boots on the other hand are crafted from a stiffer leather that provides plenty of support. These shoes for horseback riding are more formal and quite stylish too.
The short boots which are called paddock boots or jodhpur boots are more popular because they’re easier to wear. They generally have a more informal look and can be used as regular shoes too. Most of these shoes for horse riding come with a side or front zipper. This style is also preferred by children. Riders sometimes pair these boots with half chaps, equestrian gaiters that extend from the ankles to just below the knee.
While traditionally, horseback riding shoes were constructed from smooth, high-quality leather, these days you’re spoilt for choice with the materials that are available. Whether they’re made from leather, synthetic, or rubber, shoes for horseback riding are generally waterproof and insulated. While leather is the most durable and popular material, you’ll find some of the synthetic materials to be of high quality too. Choose the material according to the conditions that you’ll be riding in.
It goes without saying that shoes for horse-riding need to be comfortable. As with any sport that you play, whether it’s the best tennis shoes for men or the best waterproof shoes for golf, the shoes that you put on your feet should fit well. If you’re going to wear full-length boots make sure they’re not tight on the calves or ankles. There’s nothing worse than having to endure a pair of tight or loose shoes when you’re out for a ride. Shoes that come with additional cushioning are great too.
Are Boots Necessary For Horseback Riding?
While riding boots are a preferred choice by many regular riders, they’re not always necessary. Any sturdy pair of shoes with a heel, hard toe, and traction will work well as horseback riding shoes. That’s one reason why many equestrian brands also make terrain boots that can also be used for riding. Muck boots can also be used as riding boots if you’re hard-pressed for something to wear. However, make sure that they’re not too clunky.
What Footwear Should You Avoid When Horse Riding?
Shoes that can slip through the stirrup such as flip-flops, sandals, sneakers, and heels should be avoided at all costs. Alternatively, clunky hiking boots can get stuck in a stirrup and also lead to an accident. It’s best to stick to shoes that are specifically meant for horseback riding to avoid any unpleasant situations.
Dublin Ladies Pinnacle Boots II
The Dublin Ladies Pinnacle Boots are not just for horseback riding but can be worn throughout the day. These tough, durable boots are crafted from rich, waterproof leather with a breathable exterior. The treated russet leather comes with a fully waterproof lining. What makes this pair one of the highly ranked shoes for horseback riding is Dublin’s Rider Comfort System (RCS). Providing unsurpassed riding comfort, the shoes have incredible arch support and impact absorption. With the high-density foam heel support and EVA molded cup, you can be sure that your feet won’t get too stressed.
In addition to this, the non-microbial materials ensure your feet stay free from unpleasant odors. The adjustable side laces combined with a hook and loop closure provide a secure fit. As far as traction goes, the durable Tough Tech rubber soles will stand up well to wet terrain.
- Rider Comfort System ensures comfort
- Feels a little wide around the calves
EQUISTAR Women’s Zip Paddock Boot
Offering comfort and flexibility, the EQUISTAR Women’s Zip Paddock Boots are a good affordable pair of shoes for horseback riding. Made from synthetic durable leather combined with a durable outsole, these shoes are big on comfort and durability. The long-lasting EquiStar Sole System adds to the comfort of wearing these shoes.
With the front YKK metal zipper, getting these shoes on or off your feet is easy. The five inch shaft with wide side elastic goring helps in adjusting the fit of these shoes. These shoes are great as a starter boot. You can also easily fit chaps over them if you prefer something longer while riding.
- Comfortable and flexible
- Long-lasting EquiStar Sole System for added comfort
- Easy to wear
- Zipper doesn’t move freely
TuffRider Children’s Starter Front Zip Paddock Boots
If you’re on the lookout for a good pair of horseback riding shoes for kids, the TuffRider Children’s Paddock Boots is a good choice. These shoes are great for both newbies and experienced young riders. They have a punched toe cap for a classic show ring look. Other notable features of these synthetic leather boots are the elastic side gussets and the front zipper. The front zipper makes these easy to put on or take off.
In addition to these features, the boots have been vigorously tested for all kinds of terrain and weather conditions. So you can enjoy your ride in the snow, rain or sun. The PVC outsole is also suited to various weather conditions while the traction line on the outsole keeps the feet steady in the stirrup.
- Affordable, good quality boots
- Good for newbies and experienced riders
- Punched toe cap for a classic look
- Elastic side gussets
- Front zipper
- Sizing could be an issue
Roper Women’s Horseshoe Kiltie Western Boot
For riders who prefer rugged horseback riding shoes that can double as good hiking shoes for women will love the Roper Women’s Horseshoe Kiltie Western Boot. These boots have a nice little spur shelf and are extremely comfortable too. They work well on the saddle or for walking around.
Featuring a flexible sole and a forged steel shank, these shoes provide good support and stability. Though they lack a steel toe, the rounded reinforced toes provide good protection. You’ll find good padding around the ankle area which makes the boots ideal for the winter. These shoes are also extremely durable so you can be sure they’ll go the distance.
- Doubles up as hiking boots
- Extremely comfortable with good padding around the ankle
- Forged steel shank
- Can feel a little stiff at first
Tommy Hilfiger Women’s Shyenne Equestrian Boot
Stylish and comfortable, the Tommy Hilfiger Women’s Shyenne Equestrian Boot is popular with women as shoes for horse riding or regular boots too. However, the calf on these boots is a bit wide so if you’ve got smaller calves you may find them a bit loose. Besides this small issue, the boot does well in most other areas. The hidden zipper goes all the way down to the insole which makes it easy to put on. Additionally, the gusset at the top helps in adjusting the fit.
The synthetic leather also has a good feel and look with a good grip on the bottom for riding. You can choose from three colors, black, brown, or a two-tone boot.
- Stylish and comfortable
- The hidden zipper opens up wide for easy wearing
- Gusset at the top for adjusting the fit
- Available in three colors
- Calf may feel a bit wide with someone with smaller calves
bebe Girls Western Cowboy Boot
Another pair of horseback riding shoes that hits the big notes for little kids is the bebe Girls Western Cowboy Boot. These stylish looking boots come with a comfortable and soft one-inch heel, making them ideal for riding. They’re also comfortable enough to be worn all day.
What stands out about these cute pair of riding boots is the fun topstitching combined with an almond toe design. You can be sure your little girl will love these stylish all-weather boots. They’re sure to warm her feet in the winter and also be comfortable enough in summer. The slip-on design also makes these easy to wear. When it comes down to cleaning these shoes, all you’ll need is a damp rag to spot clean them.
- Stylish and comfortable
- Fun topstitching
- Easy to slip on
- All-weather boots
- Spot clean with a damp rag
- Not very durable
ARIAT Waterproof Hiking Arian Terrain Boot
Like we mentioned earlier, a sturdy pair of shoes with a good heel and outsole can make a great pair of shoes for horseback riding. The ARIAT Waterproof Terrain Boot is one such pair that doubles up as an excellent waterproof hiking shoe for women. Featuring ATS technology, these boots offer all-day comfort. They’re sturdy enough to withstand the wear and tear of the trail or the stirrups.
Made from oiled, full-grain leather, these shoes are designed for the worst weather conditions. The waterproof PRO on the outside and the moisture-wicking lining on the inside ensure your feet stay dry and comfortable. The Duratread outsole combined with the lightweight EVA insole will keep you sure-footed and comfortable.
- Dual function
- Comfortable and durable
- Waterproof PRO exterior
- Moisture-wicking lining
- Duratread outsole
- Four-layer footbed cushioning
- A little bulky if you’re considering packing them for traveling
- Sizing could be an issue
Ariat Fatbaby Western Boot
Cowboy boots like the Ariat Fatbaby Western Boot are extremely popular horseback riding shoes for those who ride western or like to sport the cowboy look. These western boots feature 4LR technology to enhance support and cushioning. They’re stylish and durable enough for wearing around town too.
Sporting a unique style, these all-purpose boots have a durable outsole that enhances the longevity. They’re big on comfort too so you won’t have to worry too much about stressed feet with these on. Ariat is a renowned brand for its excellent horseback riding shoes and these shoes are a testament to the brand’s commitment to quality. You’re spoilt for choice too with the wide range of colors and styles to choose from. The bold colors and four-row stitching make these shoes stand out.
- 4LR technology for enhanced comfort
- Stylish and durable
- Available in a wide range of bold colors
- Support and cushioning
- They’re easy to break in
- The arch is higher than average and the boot is also a little slimmer
TuffRider Ladies Starter Front Zip Paddock Boots
Another pair of TuffRider horseback riding shoes to make our list is the TuffRider Ladies Starter Front Zip Paddock Boots. Though not as hardy as the Ariat shoes, these paddock boots deliver the goods. The great thing is they’re more affordable too so for someone starting out, these are a good alternative.
Similar to the children’s starter boots, these also come with spur rests and punched toe caps. The zipper on the front and elastic side gussets make them easy to wear. In addition to this, the synthetic leather on the exterior combined with the rubber outsole makes these water-resistant. Cleaning these boots is easy too. All you have to do is wipe them with a damp cloth.
- Affordable and good for beginners
- Front zipper and elastic side gussets
- Easy to clean
- Not very durable
Roper Men’s Cross Rider
Combining the traditional western style with flexibility, the Roper Men’s Cross Rider is an excellent multifunctional pair of shoes. You won’t have to switch shoes if you need to go from working in a barn to riding. Whether you’re riding or engaged in ranch work, these shoes provide comfort and stability. The soft support insole combined with the comfort footbed will keep these shoes on your feet for a long time.
Made from 100% leather, these durable shoes also feature a breathable leather lining. The synthetic sole is flexible while the removable leather kiltie adds flair to these shoes. However, if you’re looking for shoes for the winter, these may not hold up that well as they’re not waterproof.
- 100% leather
- Comfortable soft support insole
- Flexible synthetic sole
- Removable leather kiltie
- Not waterproof so won’t do well in wet conditions
Frye Women’s Melissa Button Back Zip Boot
With a wide range of colors to choose from and top-quality construction, the Frye Women’s Melissa Button Back Zip Boots will have you reaching for your purse. Big on comfort, with the cushioned leather insole and rubber heel, these boots come with a pull-on feature that makes them easier to wear. Back zip and asymmetric topline combined with a dual button embellished pull-on strap add to the ease of putting these shoes on or taking them off.
As far as comfort goes, the cushioned leather insole and smooth leather lining, push these riding shoes a few notches up in comfort. Additionally, the durable leather outsole with a rubber heel insert provides excellent traction. These horseback riding shoes also ramp up extra points in the style factor with the antiqued leather and classic riding shape. The Frye Company boasts of being the oldest continuously operated shoe company in the United States. It’s no surprise then that their shoes are top quality.
- Antiqued leather and classic riding shape
- Dual button embellished pull-on straps
- Padded leather footbed
- Leather lining
- Wide range of colors
- The zipper at the back may be a bit difficult to manage at the bottom near the ankle
Blundstone Thermal Series
Anyone familiar with the Blundstone brand will know just how good their shoes are. It’s no wonder then that the Blundstone Thermal Series sits right at the top of the listing of men’s equestrian sport boots on Amazon. No matter what kind of activity you’re engaged in on a farm or ranch, whether it’s riding or working, these boots will go the distance.
Crafted from 100% leather the boots are durable and waterproof so you won’t have to worry about water getting into them. Unlike the previous versions of these shoes which were only water-resistant, the Thinsulate lining makes these waterproof. The rubber outsole also provides an excellent grip. For warmth and comfort you’ll find a removable shearling footbed and PU midsole. Getting these shoes on or off is a breeze too with the elastic gore panel and loops.
- 100% waterproof leather
- Rubber outsole provides excellent grip
- Removable shearling footbed
- PU midsole
- Easy to wear with elastic gore panel and loops
- Couldn’t find much to fault about these shoes
Ariat Men’s Heritage Roper Western Boots
Boots from the ARIAT brand are designed to withstand the athletic demands of rodeo and ranching. Each pair is crafted for the ultimate in comfort and performance like the Men’s Heritage Roper Western Boots. Featuring rich, finely stitched full-grain leather, these boots are a clear standout among horseback riding shoes.
With the signature ATS technology, these boots provide comfort and stability throughout the day. The Duratread outsole provides optimum wear resistance and flexibility. They’re also barnyard acid-resistant. You’ll be the cynosure of all eyes when you stride out with these good-looking shoes on your feet. The three-row collar stitch pattern and hand finish push them up in the rankings of stylish shoes for horseback riding.
- Stylish with finely stitched full-grain leather
- Duratread, flexible, barnyard acid resistant outsole
- ATS technology enhances the comfort
- Moisture-wicking footbed
- Good range of color choices
- Sizing could be an issue