Soft vs rubber bell boots

This is probably a dumb question but are all the new “soft” type bell boots suitable for cross country? Will the fabric collect stickers? There are so many of the soft style now I can hardly find small rubber bells for my petite mare’s feet.

Also don’t get me started on every rubber bell being covered in fleece. I guess most of the country isn’t blanketed in burrs.


I have no experience with the fabric bell boots, but a quick google search for - gum rubber bell boots - resulted in lots of options with no fleece.

1 Like

The Schneider’s double lock rubber ones are good and not too expensive. I’ve had 15 horses in turn in them every day since the summer and only one has ripped.

Also used the neoprene Horze ones for my “soft” option. Used them XC and in turn out and nothing sticks to them. They don’t hold up as well though.

I’m a fan of the Davis vinyl boots: the vinyl is TOUGH but shiny smooth, they come in lots more sizes and colors than other brands, and are burr-proof.

I also like the Professional’s Choice Spartan II for a more streamlined look in competition - it has a neoprene lining under a vinyl shell so might be burr proof too.

1 Like

I don’t know about XC or burrs, but my favorites are the Dover house brand rubber pull-ons. They are the stretchiest pull-ons I’ve tried, the only ones I dont have to wrestle on. My horse gets turned out in them, wears them almost 24/7 with no rubs (he’s thin skinned and has gotten rubs from heavier velcro boots) and they tend to last over 6 months, not bad for the price.

1 Like

I use the Professional Choice or SmartPak soft bell boots for turnout- I find they work better for the heel grabbers. I don’t find them to attract burs.

BUT I don’t love them for XC schooling- they get heavy/soggy in the water and tend to come off when you are schooling the water element repeatedly.

Regarding the Davis vinyl, I find the rubber to be too stiff and have had horses get rubs or irritation from them.

1 Like

This is my experience too.

I agree with the above poster who likes the pull on rubber bell boots.

I use Eskadron soft ones with fur…they hold up surprisingly well! Don’t retain water, are light and durable.

I was always told not to use pull ons because the horse can step on them and trip and fall if that happens because they don’t rip.

They don’t rip?
Who thinks they do not rip?

No one told my bell boots that they do not rip.


I’ve had a few riders tell me this happened to them. One in particular is Mark Todd, who writes about it his biography. Lost the World Champs over it.

Maybe your boots are not as quality, or worn out when they rip. I can’t attest to what happens with your tack.

I didn’t mean they never rip, obviously nothing is indestructible but didn’t think I needed a disclaimer.

Out of curiosity - because I don’t picture the difference. What makes a pull on un-rippable, and something else rippable?

Is it the velcro fails? I can see that if it is single locking, but some of the bell boots (davis) are double locking and I don’t think that would fail unless the stitching is bad?

Or is it because people use longer pull ons - easier to step on but protects the heels of the shoe better? Or the rubber of some pullons are super thick and that won’t rip and other types aren’t as thick?

I am just trying to figure out the best type of bell boots to use on XC if that is a concern? What sets apart the safe vs un-safe bell boots for XC? I’ve never had a issue, but I hadn’t thought about it and I may want to change to something safer.

I’ve had really good luck with Arma bell boots - they are softer rubber, don’t rub my TB, and see to last a while.
They do eventually end up ripping along the Velcro, but I’ll take that over shoes anyday.

1 Like

Honestly I think its the material, most (not all) pull ons are very thick and stretchy gummy rubber. From my experience only, pieces of other rubber boots which are velcro tend to rip off in chunks or the velcro goes.

I’ve never used them as I was always warned away from them. That was one of the reasons the Petal bell boot was invented, so the pieces can rip off and be replaced.

1 Like

@ClassyJumper, I have some small Davis bell boots I’d be happy to send you. I doubt I’ll ever have a petite horse again, and I’d be happy to pass them along to someone who could use them. If you want them, pm me your mailing address.

1 Like

I don’t know if we had the same bell boot, but my Arma boots ripped within a week. This horse was not a heel grabber but had a club foot. Would not recommend.

I think this is why Lucinda Green recommends against them.


My TB had lived in the Centaur double thick pull on bell boots, especially when he had a bar shoe. That said, they did get switched for Professional’s Choice No-Turn overreach boots for XC since they had a little ground clearance to avoid the possibility of stepping on the back of the ground-touching rubber bell boot in soft or water jump footing.

1 Like