Riding boots are an important part of every equestrian outfit. They not only finish the look for the horseback rider, they also provide several safety and protective elements. Wearing the right boots for the type of activity the rider engages in is important and necessary not only for special shows, tournament, and other events. It is essential for everyday horseback riding as well.
Most horseback riders would not consider being without at least one pair, and many own several, each for different purposes. Because they can be expensive, as with other equestrian gear, a wise consumer looks for ways to save. An excellent way to do that is to consider the many previously owned pairs of boots that are available for sale. Because most used riding boots still have a lot of life left in them, these boots represent an excellent bargain and a great way to obtain this necessary piece of riding equipment without making a large investment.
Why it is Important to Wear Riding Boots
Some horseback riders, once they see the expensive price of buying a new pair of riding boots, quickly decide that the purchase may not be worth it. They reason that it is hard to justify spending that kind of money when they already own quality footwear that seems suitable enough. That thinking would be a mistake, and can lead to injury and certainly discomfort over time.
Riding Boots Protect the Foot and Leg
Wearing riding boots is not just about making a fashion statement. Yes, they do look great and are the perfect way to complete the equestrian look, but the reason for wearing them is much more important than that. Riding boots are specifically designed to protect the horseback rider. Those that are marketed for a certain type of riding or event strategically cover areas that are in danger of chafing or injury during riding. Long boots protect the rider's calves and ankles, and provide an extra measure of support while riding. In fact, the design details of every well-made riding boot are specifically developed with the protection and comfort of the rider in mind.
Part of that comfort involves protecting the rider from exposure to the weather and from coming in contact with water, wind, and other, unappealing obstacles that are frequent findings in the areas around where horses are kept and ridden. The leather that most riding boots are constructed from provides an excellent barrier between the rider and these elements. The design of some boots incorporates other features that focus on protecting the foot and providing comfort for the rider. These include extra layers of material in strategic locations were chafing or injury is most likely to occur. It also includes extra weatherproofing and padded lining.
Any or all of these features may be incorporated into the boot, but the boot's main purpose is to keep the rider's foot securely in the stirrup. Riding boots include a heel that keeps the booted foot from slipping around inside stirrup. This allows the rider more confidence in controlling the horse and guards against injury.
The Different Types of Riding Boots
Riding boots are available in two main styles, the Western riding boot, and the English riding boot. Western riding boots, commonly known as "cowboy boots," typically differ very little in design from boot to boot. The heels on some of these boots may be taller than on others, the colours may vary, the stitching design may be original, or they may be constructed from an exotic animal leather, but they all clearly resemble the typical cowboy boot.
English riding boots, on the other hand, come in several different styles, each designed for specific riding situations. Most of the English riding boots are considered long boots; boots that cover the bottom part of the leg, extending to somewhere in the knee area. These boots include dress boots, field boots, and hunt boots. Black is the most common colour seen for each of these styles, particularly the dress boot. Field boots can sometimes be brown, and hunt boots are often black with a brown cuff at the top.
Each of the English riding boots includes unique design features that make them more appropriate for the type of horseback riding the owner typically engages in.
The dress boot is considered the formal riding boot and is the boot most commonly worn for shows and many competitions. It is usually high quality, well-polished black leather, and generally includes very few added design details.
The field boot is known by lacing at the front of the ankle, which allows the rider to adjust the fit. Riders who engage in jumping and other agility activities typically wear it.
The hunt boot is the most casual of the three. It typically has a looser fit than the others, and is recognisable by its telltale cuff at the top. These boots are the ones chosen for hunts.
Why Buy Used Riding Boots
Horseback riding requires a large amount of gear, and for the most part, none of it is cheap. In fact, an excellent riding boot, made with quality leather and exceptional design features, can be quite expensive. Choosing to buy some of that gear secondhand is one way to save money and be able to afford higher quality items. Also, it allows the rider the ability to purchase more than one pair of riding boots. For some riders, this is very important. A rider cannot, after all, wear the same pair of boots every day and expect them to be in tiptop shape when it comes time for a competition or a show. By choosing to purchase either one or both pairs used instead of new, the rider can have more money in the budget for other necessary equipment, better quality equipment, and other equestrian activities.
Another great reason for choosing to buy used riding boots is that they are already broken in. New boots naturally have firm uppers and stiff soles. This is normal, but very uncomfortable, and it can take quite a while to break them in and have them feeling like a second skin. A good pair of used riding boots may still require some amount of breaking in, but the leather and soles should be well on their way to softening.
Used Boots That Are Special
When it is time for a competition or show, wearing the highest quality, nice-looking equestrian attire helps any rider to feel more confident about their skills and abilities. All riders, but especially young novices, appreciate purchasing items that are specifically intended for these events. Unfortunately, the high cost of buying them new restricts many riders from doing this. Because they are usually available at a small fraction of the cost of new ones, a horseback rider who is open to buying used often finds it affordable to buy a new pair for each new event.
What to Look for When Buying Used Riding Boots
The good thing about riding boots is that their quality construction means that they can last for many years. Leather, the most common material for riding boots to be constructed from, is very durable, and holds up to a large amount of rough treatment. Scuffed marks can generally be polished right out, and quality boot repair shop can take care of any damage that may be more extensive. Major repairs can even include replacing the heel and sole if necessary.
Because of the fact that riding boots are so durable and that much of the damage that they may receive can generally be repaired, the main concern for the consumer of used riding boots is choosing the proper style and size. Because the repairs do add to the price of the boot, unless it is an exceptional bargain, a wise consumer will look for boots that show minimal wear, especially in the heel and toe area. Of course, any cuts or extensive damage to the leather should be avoided.
Leather breathes rather well and is not as hospitable to germs and bacteria as synthetic materials often are, so a good-quality shoe disinfectant should have used boots fresh and ready to wear in no time.
Where to Buy Used Riding Boots
Some stores that sell equestrian gear also sell used items, including used riding boots. Unfortunately, the selection is often slim and the prices typically do not reflect the bargains that can be found elsewhere. Garage sales, secondhand stores, and bulletin boards at stables are other places to find good bargain on used riding boots. Perhaps the best way to find a large selection that represents a great value in a short amount of time is to turn to the internet, to auction sites such as eBay.
Buying Used Riding Boots on eBay
eBay sellers regularly list quite a large number of used riding boots. It is common for the original owner to have worn the boots only very few times before deciding that they are not the ones for them. Just because the original owners of these boots did not consider them right for them personally, does not mean there is anything wrong with these boots. In fact, they generally represent an excellent bargain. Everyone's feet are different, and feel comfortable in different shoes for different situations, and this is typically why most sellers have decided to part with their boots.
When shopping for boots on eBay, be sure to pay very close attention to the listed size and condition of the boot. Use the internet to help you determine whether the sizing used by the maker of the boots that you are considering typically runs large or small. Knowing this can help you avoid buying the wrong size. A well-fitting riding boot, however, will be snug at first, and that's how you want it to be. The fit will loosen over time.
Be sure to check out the sellers ratings and reviews before purchasing, and understand what the shipping costs for the boots are. Most sellers keep their shipping rates very affordable and some even ship for free.
It is very important to always wear riding boots while around horses. They protect the foot and leg from common injuries, chafing, and exposure to the dampness and other unfavourable things that are common in the areas around where horses are kept and ridden. There are many different styles to choose from, each specifically designed for the type of riding the owner typically engages in.
The quality of the boot affects how good a job it does at protecting the rider. Good quality boots are a necessity for all horse riding activities, but the price of buying new can be rather daunting. Riding boots are durable and can last a number of years, and this means that a used pair of riding boots are likely have a number of years of use left in them. A wise consumer carefully considers how the budget for equestrian gear is spent, and may quickly determine that saving money by buying used allows them to purchase more and better equipment.