Shoes are the most visible and judged by the viewers part of the eider’s ensemble while riding. For these reasons the shoes should be elegant and matched to the rest of the outfit. There are strict rules for picking riding footgear. They allow two types of shoes for riding – riding boots and jodhpurs.
Riding boots with long uppers
Riding boots are almost historical shoes. They were used in e.g. Polish cavalry. These shoes are usually made of leather and almost knee-long uppers. It is important for these shoes to be made of the highest quality materials and to fit the rider’s leg perfectly. Good riding boots are expensive, then. They can cost from 175 to almost 700 Euros. But you should not try to save money while buying a pair of classic riding boots. Properly maintained, they will serve you for years.
Riding boots have to be bought in stationary stores so that you could make sure they perfectly fit your legs. For these shoes, not only your foot length matters, but also the girth of the ankle, calf, and the length of the leg from the ground to the knee. You should try the shoes on in riding pants – breeches. You need to know if they go together.
You should buy a pair of riding boots that is slightly too long (they will shorten of about 1 centimeter with time) and a bit too tight (they will widen too), as they have to fit the leg really tight, this is when they look best.
After buying a new pair, you should thoroughly impregnate them with shoe polish and wear them in so they would not squeeze you during the first ride. After every ride you should wipe the shoes with a sponge, brush, or a slightly damp cloth. Then, you should leave them to dry at room temperature. Do not dry riding boots near a heater or other hot spots. This might lead to rupturing and overdrying. You should polish the shoes diligently at least twice a week. It is best to do it when you do not plan on riding the next day. The shoes will then have time to absorb the polish and will not dirty the horse.
Many people fill their riding boots with paper when they are not used so that they would not lose their original shape. It is best to use shoe trees for that. They might be made of wood.
Jodhpurs with chaps
Jodhpurs are cheaper than classic riding boots. The main difference is their upper height. In jodhpurs it only reaches the ankle. This type of shoes looks like ankle boots. One could also say that jodhpurs were very popular in the 60s and 70s and then known as rolingstones and beatles. Of course as riding shoes, they need to meet certain restrictions. For instance, they should have a thin tab and cannot have thick laces or fastenings on the front which would make it difficult to put the foot in a stirrup. They should have rubbers, closures, or zippers on the sides so that the rider could attach chaps. Chaps are used with jodhpurs and they are made of soft leather or other materials and they serve as protectors of the rider’s calves. They replace the classic riding boot’s long upper and protect the calves from chafing.
Jodhpurs should be cleaned of mud and dirt every day with a damp towel. Every other day, you should impregnate them with leather grease that would make the shoes more elastic. You can use shoe polish. Jodhpurs, just like riding boots, should be left to dry at room temperature, making sure to keep them away from sources of heat such as radiators. After they dry, it would be good to put a leather care product on them.