“ Brand: Dublin / Type: Riding Boots „
As anyone who rides will know a decent pair of riding boots are essential.
When I first started learning my parents bought me these, Dublin universal tall boots and even now, although I tend to favour the short boots for various reasons I still own a pair of these Dublin boots that come out in wet weather or for shows.
The boots themselves are made from black moulded PVC, the inner lining is polyester jersey. The lining is designed to absorb moisture in order to keep your feet and legs dry and the PVC is completely waterproof so that in wet weather or when using a hose your feet and legs stay completely dry.
There is also a small wedge on the back of each boot to fit spurs to and a very small heel in order to stop your foot slipping through the stirrup. Also, although the outing is PVC it is designed to look like leather and I would say that this is effective.
Although black is the only colour the PVC comes in I do believe you can get the lining in different colours, mine is a fairly dark green.
Just like any other shoe the first time you wear these they need wearing in. Initially they're quite stiff and hard to move around in, I found it especially hard to bend my ankle upwards, though not so much down. For this reason I do suggest wearing them in a bit first before using them to ride in.
To combat this problem I wore the boots for general yard work for about an hour and found this enough to soften the boots enough to give me a good enough range of movement to allow me to ride. The boots themselves feel very comfortable once on and I do agree that they wick away moisture, even when working in the 30degree heat recently I found that my legs and feet remained dry and relatively cool considering the heat.
The grip on the bottom of the boot is enough to both keep my feet in place in the stirrup and give enough grip when working around the yard. I can't however comment on the effect of the heel as my horses have safety stirrups and so the stirrup snaps preventing my foot getting caught anyway. Similarly, my horses are quite forward going and therefore I have no need for spurs so I can't comment on the effectiveness of the rest for this.
These boots come in both child and adult sizes. Child sizes range between 9 (27) and 5 (38), adult sizes range between 4 (37) and 10 (45). Between sizes 4 and 7 Dublin also offer wide and wide/short fittings. My feet are a size 8 and a half but I have a size 8 boot due to the lack of half sizes, initially these felt a bit small but as they wore in I have no concerns around the fit so I'd suggest going down a size if you also fit a half size, just be aware that they will take some wearing in for them not to feel tight. Height wise I've found these to be a perfect fit with the outside of the boot stretching just above my knee, the inside of the boot resting slightly below my knee. I've found that despite this fit it doesn't restrict movement in my knee itself at all.
The only real problem I have found with these is that because of the stiffness and lack of bend around the ankle they can be quite difficult to take off. This does get easier as the boots wear in more but even after years of use I still find I have to pull quite hard to get them off.
Finally, and probably most importantly, they are incredibly easy to clean. Even after years of use mine still have a shine to them and when they inevitably become covered in mud and other muck a quick wipe down with a bit of water is all they need to come up clean, since I keep my boots up at the yard I tend to just rinse them off with the hose before I leave and they don't really need much more. On this note, I have also found them to be completely waterproof I've never had any water leak through the seams or over the top.
Price, Availability And Recommendation
I bought my boots from a local tack store for £19.99. These boots are widely available and prices do vary but expect to pay roughly between £20 and £30.
I'm giving these 4 out of 5, losing a star due to their stiffness. That said, this could also be seen as an advantage as I know for me, when I was first learning to ride this did help me maintain a correct lower leg position when riding. Therefore I am recommending these to any rider but especially to children or those who may be new to riding.