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Best Horse Riding Boots Review: For Trail, Endurance and Long Distance

Which riding boots should you be wearing for equestrian adventures? I share Krystal Kelly’s personal opinions on what has and hasn’t worked for her. Will we finally settle the debate between short or tall boots? Find out in this best horse riding boots review!

Author: Hebe Webber

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So when it comes to riding boots for equestrian adventures, whether you’re out on the trail or your doing endurance rides or you’re going on an equestrian holiday, what boots are the best to wear?

Best Horse Riding Boots: Short or Tall?

Do you go with the little short paddock boots or with the tall waterproof type boots? There’s too many options! Too many opinions! I see this question coming up all the time in our Facebook group. Some people absolutely love the short boots and others swear by the tall boots!

So I’m going to be sharing with you Krystal Kelly’s personal opinions on what she found to be the most comfortable and useful boots. These opinions for our best horse riding boots review are based on her experiences working with horses around the world over the past 10 years.

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Krystal was working as a showjumping rider, trainer and coach in various countries. She then started playing polo and had a lot of experience coaching endurance students. Which means she’s had experience in a variety of disciplines. She’s traveled a lot “been there done that”. And Krystal found that when it comes to being all day on your feet, there are two types of boots that she really enjoyed.

The Short Boots – Best Horse Riding Boots for Arena Work

One was the normal, simple, basic Ariat paddock boots. Krystal has used these boots for many, many years. Always with half-chaps of course (it always drives me crazy when I see people riding without them!). These boots typically lasted her about 5 years and are pretty low maintenance.

In our best horse riding boots review we recommend short boots, when you do a lot of arena work

She would just put a bit of leather conditioner or saddle soap on them every now and then, but not too often. Krystal found these boots were the best when you’re doing a lot of riding in an arena. For example showjumping or dressage or things of that nature.

The Tall Boots – Best Horse Riding Boots for Trail Riding

When she’s out on the trail she rides in her tall boots. Now, when I say ‘tall boots’ I mean like the Dublin tall boots or Ariat tall boots. These are her favorite boots for when she’s coaching or giving riding lessons and for going on adventures.  Krystal also prefers these over the short, half size ‘paddock boots’ for adventures. Because one, they are waterproof (Not completely, I wouldn’t go dancing around in any rivers you come across).

In our best horse riding boots review we recommend tall boots, when you are out and about a lot and dry feet are a priority. They are the best horse riding boots for trail riding.


But they are waterproof enough that if you have any river crossings on your horse, you know your feet aren’t going to get wet. And there is NOTHING worse than having wet feet when you’re in the middle of the wilderness for the next 3 or 4 days on a camping expedition.

Especially when you know it’s going to wet for the next few days and your socks aren’t really going to dry… and you didn’t bring that many pairs anyways. So if having dry feet is important to you on the expeditions you are about to do then I would definitely recommend getting yourself a pair of waterproof tall boots because it can make a big, big difference.

Waterproof Socks?

Now having said that, Krystal has heard some of her British students say that there’s such thing as waterproof socks. I haven’t personally tried them, and neither has Krystal. But the students seem to think that they work a treat! So if you’re going to go with the short half boots, then at least invest in a pair of waterproof socks to keep your feet dry.


The other thing Krystal likes about the tall boots is that they are extremely comfortable to wear. If you’re walking a lot, hiking up and down steep mountains leading a horse, spending 5 or 6 hours in the saddle, it doesn’t really matter what you’re doing. Krystal tells me that these boots are the most comfortable to wear all day.

You could be coaching, or you could fall off and have to walk 5 miles just to catch the horse. But you will have a piece of mind because your feet aren’t going to be killing you at the end of the day. When Krystal purchases these boots, she usually buys a half size or so bigger. Just to be sure that any winter socks are going to fit  but also to have a bit of breathing room. That way your feet so they don’t get too hot or cramped.

Best Horse Riding Boots: The Comparisons

One bad thing about tall boots is travelling. You have to take them on and off for a flight or for airport security. Which is kind of a hassle as they don’t really slip on and off very easily. I mean, if it’s a long flight you could take your feet out of the boots anyway so you can relax a bit.

As for packing them, they are a lot larger and bulkier than the short boots. So they take up a lot of space in your luggage. So for that reason, I could definitely see how having a pair of the short boots makes a lot of sense. Especially if you just want to travel light and you didn’t want to wear your boots on the flight.

In this circumstance, I think the short boots are great. But Krystal informs me that you should definitely be wearing them with a pair of half chaps. There are for example breathable mesh half chaps or suede half chaps. There is a whole variety that you can choose from that is best suited to your needs or riding discipline.

Always break in your gear

Make sure everything fits you properly BEFORE you go. And you brake in your boots! Because you don’t want to be on a mountain somewhere 6 hours from helping with aching feet and blisters all over your toes. Break in your boots before you go on an equestrian journey. Period.

Sure, they might break in quicker on the equestrian journey, but you don’t want to have aching feet. Same goes for the half chaps!

Krystal has informed me that a lot of endurance riders tend to ride in tennis shoes. Which Krystal is super against. She really, really cringes when she sees that. She understands that most people who ride like that have caged stirrups, so there isn’t really a risk of their foot slipping through the stirrup.

Tennis shoes are a big NO

tennis shoes are an absolute no-go. You're better of wearing footwear from our best horse riding boots review


However as a riding coach and a trainer, Krystal seen so many bad accidents happen in her lifetime that she just cannot say to anyone to ride in tennis shoes or trainers. So if you’re worried about the comfort of your feet, we would prefer to recommend you to the short, half boots with a pair of chaps over having a pair of trainers.

Especially as you  don’t know if the country you’re going to has caged stirrups. I mean sure, you could bring your own. But you don’t know the horse or the people or what tack is going to be available to you. Krystal just can’t recommend or find any good reason as to why you would need a pair of tennis shoes on an equestrian adventure.

I know that’s probably going to upset some of the endurance people. But that’s just how Krystal feels and that is her experience. She has never been uncomfortable wearing riding boots all day, she’s pretty used to it. Krystal has done a lot of walking on her feet all day. And riding all day in those different types of boots and she’s never had a problem. So as long as you break in your boots before you go on these long expeditions I think you’ll be fine!

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What Are the Best Horse Riding Boots in Your Opinion?

If there is a riding boot that you love and personally prefer for your adventures, that did not appear in our best horse riding boots review, please leave a comment below and let us know! Happy trails!


If you’d like to read more of Krystal’s ideas, articles and opinions you can read about them in her other articles.

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If you loved this best horse riding boots review, you would love our packing list in which we reveal some of the favorite items of gear loved by the women in our Facebook group.

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