No Riding Boots- Help!

I’ve ridden in the past with low, calf-height leather boots that I am 1) not a hundred percent sure were riding quality and 2) they were very uncomfy! Fast forward a few years and I have my first riding lesson on Friday. I’ll just be going over the basics and have a helmet, but I lack footwear. There’s no way for me to go out and get some boots, so I will either have to resort to tennis shoes, or one of two rain boots.

I’m hesitant to wear the tennis shoes because of the lack of heel and my teacher has already suggested I choose other shoes. The problem with the Hunter boots I have is that they are bright red and shiny (I’m worried it could frighten the horse I’m riding) and have deep grooves in the sole. I worry that I if I fall I may get stuck in the stirrup because they are a bit wide.

Now, the other pair I have are from Joules and they’re low, ankle-height, and very neutral looking. The heel is nice, and there aren’t super deep grooves. My sister rides Western and has boots with the same bottom design, if you know what I mean. The problem with them is that they are very low and I worry about chafing. I am going to wear pants, of course, but I don’t own breeches. I am considering asking my instructor for half-chaps as that’s what many of the girls at the barn wear.

I understand I’m very unprepared- this lesson was a spur-of-the-moment decision and an effort to get back in the saddle before the fall. I will be wearing jeans and whatever shoes I decide on, but I’d love some input from the community! Thank you everyone.

If you can borrow half chaps, do it. :slight_smile: And I wouldn’t recommend jeans, as the seams can be very uncomfortable. Even a pair of fitted yoga-type pants would probably be better. Good luck, and enjoy.

Oh, and the horse won’t care about the color of your footwear!

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You can get starter-level paddock boots on Riding Warehouse for <$50 and have them by Friday. ex:


So, you think the ankle boots with half chaps is my best bet? And yeah I have a pair of Nike athletic leggings- would those be okay?


Yes! Sometimes when I’ve been stuck in traffic and I don’t have much time to ride, I will ride in my ponte work pants! Yoga or workout pants are pretty similar to Kerrits brand attire so you will be just fine!

I second the recommendation for paddock boots and half chaps to get you started - and definitely try to get those for the lesson.

Have fun!

I returned to riding wearing flat anle height lace up leather winter boots that had that slight heel of half inch or so and looked exactly like paddock boots. I believe the coach leant me half chaps for the first few months. Or maybe I rode with no half chaps just a heavy sock under? Even now I will skip half chaps if the weather is hot and ride in paddick boots.

You could probably find similar in a thrift store if you are on a tight budget.

I first learned to ride in purple rubber rain boots (that had a short heel). The horses didn’t care. I don’t think they would care about red boots either. Though getting stuck in the stirrup would be more of a concern.

If you can’t find half chaps that fit, you could use ankle boots and polos over your calves, if you’re worried about chafing (or thick knee high socks?). I have done polos (over jeans) when I broke the zips on one half chap and didn’t have breeches and tall boots with me. Might be more slippery than half chaps or boots. I personally didn’t have an issue riding in jeans, except for wearing through the saddle seat (after like years), and they were for me less slippery than leggings; have not tried other types of non-riding pant.

Have had some success finding stuff for not full price at consignment tack sales. I’m not sure how common they are these days. One consignment/tack store near me closed a few years ago.

If you have a good pair of knee-high socks, wear those, too. They will help protect your legs from rubbing. But only if they are good enough to stay up!

Ok so I have decided on wearing the short boots. Dover is having a sale- do you think it’s worth it to get a pair of paddock boots? I don’t know how many lessons I will have but the boots are super cheap and I don’t know why not.

Paddock boots you won’t outgrow so yes definitely worth it.

Do you have any cowgirl boots? The leather would be much better than the rubber.

Unfortunately no. I’m concerned about the Wellies but I ordered the paddock boots (it was too good of a deal not to buy them!) so at worse I’ll only have them for one lesson.

I wear paddock boots everywhere so even if you only ride with them once, they’ll still be useful to you. My daughter wears hers as her only shoes.

I don’t know any place that allows riding in sneakers, it’s just not safe.

Jeans. Much less slippery than yoga or athletic pants.

Very thick knee high socks under jeans. Like soccer socks.

Paddock boots are very versatile and stylish so even if you don’t continue riding you can wear them as casual attire.

Have fun!

When I got back into riding in 2009 I bought a pair of equip comfort paddock boots for $60. I still wear them. They are worn but I use them for schooling before a show when my tall boots are already polished up. I wouldn’t ride in hunter boots and definately not running shoes for safety reasons.

you can also get super cheap suede type half chaps. Or what I’ve done when I’ve forgotten half chaps is wrapped polo wraps around my calf. However only because I was wearing super thin boot socks. If you have a tick pair of socks or thicker fabric leggings your legs shouldn’t rub.

$20 for half chaps. They won’t be the best, but better than nothing for your next lessons!