“ Equestrian Accessories „
They say a woman can never have enough shoes, and if you're also a rider this is particularly true. As a rider of both English and Western disciplines, I have around six pairs of riding boots for different things - cowboy boots, snow boots, wellies, muckers, jodhpur boots, long leather boots....you get the idea.
Well, recently when I booked a riding trip to Italy, I realised I would need to add another pair to that list. The packing list advised boots which were good for walking in, and as this was a summer-time, Western riding trip, this ruled out everything I already owned. If anyone has ever tried to walk down a steep slope with smooth-soled cowboy boots (with 10 years of wear under their belt), they will understand why.
Being summer, I decided to opt for a trainer-style boot with a good sole, almost like an adapted walking-riding boot. A few years ago I would have turned my nose up at the style, because to be fair if they were intended to be worn as trainers, they would be really ugly. Fortunately as I am getting older I am realising that if you're buying something for a particular function, it's probably best to keep that in mind and try turn a blind eye as to how they look. Ugly trainers, yes, comfortable riding boots ALSO yes.
I should point out that when I initially tried these on I wasn't totally convinced. Yes, they feel just like wearing a pair of trainers. But as we are now past the 80s (despite its persistent attempts to revive itself), I do not tend to wear trainers above the ankle and it felt really, really weird at first. I also had some trouble finding a size that fit. The 4 was too small, the 5 a bit big, but for some reason despite starting at 3 1/2 and doing a 5 1/2, 6 1/2 and 7 1/2, they do not make a 4 1/2. Why I do not know, but as this would have been ideal I was a bit put out. I finally decided that the 5 would be okay and probably only felt weird because they are so tall. Turns out, I was right. Once I started walking around in them on holiday I felt pretty darn comfortable.
Over the course of six long, hot days of riding, I continued to feel comfortable. The mesh and imitation leather (very easy to keep clean) kept my feet cool and, here's the best part, waterproof when I accidentally sprayed my foot with the hose full blast when cleaning my teeth (it was a camping trip)! I was expecting to be soaked after that but was pleasantly surprised. If you get your foot stomped on, that's a different matter, it's VERY clear you are wearing nothing but thin material over your toes, trust me!
Despite having picked these out because I knew they would be good for the job in hand, I was a tad worried that people, including my fellow riders of several nationalities, would think I was just wearing really geeky trainers, especially when they were clean and blatantly new. However the sturdy riding boot-style heel got me plenty of compliments at how nifty they were!
But, here's the most important part, did I fall on my ass walking down hill? NO! A few of my fellow riders were slipping around going down hills, but the grips on these are seriously good and for once I felt comfortable walking down hills. In fact, they are at times TOO good, as in Western riding you leave your left foot in the stirrup getting off. I tended to get stuck, which is a problem especially when you are short, and by the end of the week was using the old "lean over and whip out the foot mid-air" technique.
At £45, I don't think I would buy these if I hadn't needed something specific for the job. If I only rode in the UK, I would see no need for a summer boot. Saying that, they were perfect for my needs and, as I am soon to be moving abroad to work as a trail guide, I am sure they will see many more long days in the saddle!
Made from breathable mesh and imitation leather to keep your feet comfortable and cool during hot summer months.