Riding Boots vs. Fashion Boots Comparison

Apr 13th 2020

Riding Boots vs. Fashion Boots Comparison

How to Choose the Right Western Riding Boots

There are a multitude of boot styles out there. While some people prefer traditional cowboy boots, there are are a variety of other styles out there, including riding boots, Western work boots, short booties, thigh-high boots, and snow boots. Some styles are used out of necessity due to a job or a particular hobby, such as riding horses. In those cases, you have to have a very specific boot due to very specific differences that could actually be the difference in a serious injury and in ending the day safely.

Riding boots versus fashion boots is heavily debated, and many may not know the differences between the two—but they are two very different shoe styles. They aren’t the same in terms of safety and comfort, and fashion boots should never be used in the place of riding boots for a variety of reasons.

How Are Riding Boots Different From Fashion Boots?

To begin with, riding boots are special in the structure of the heel. Riding boot heels should be shaped properly and offer support. Fashion boots may have a little heel or a large heel, neither of which is going to be appropriate for getting up on horseback. A larger heel is simply not fit for walking around in the dirt or for being around animals. A tall pointy heel will knock the wearer off balance, which could cause serious injury or cause the animal to escape, leading to injury of the horse or other people.

A minimal or short fashion heel will not properly protect a rider from the boot slipping through the stirrup. All horseback riders need a proper heel when riding horseback because, without it, their foot may slip forward, and their ankle could become caught in the stirrup. This could have devastating results for the rider if the horse were to become spooked and take off. The worst-case scenario is that the rider falls off, but their ankle remains caught, they may be dragged along behind their horse. This is a potentially fatal situation, which is why the proper heel is of the utmost importance for safety.

Aside from the common safety concerns, consider boot comfort. Riding a horse all day can get uncomfortable, but especially so if your boots are not designed for horseback riding. They can cause blisters, chafing, and general discomfort—which can make the entire day and ride uncomfortable.

Another difference between riding boots and fashion boots is that the riding boots are made for that specific task in mind, whereas fashion boots are made for looks. You may find that there is less cushioning, less support, and they are very lightweight or made with thin materials. This won’t work well if you need boots made for hard work. You want to be able to feel the stirrups, but you also want your feet to be protected from the elements while riding. In case of emergency dismount or a rocky terrain you may be walking on, you want boots with a thicker sole, that are specifically made for this wear and tear. Fashion boots may not have a thick enough sole, and you may find that your feet aren’t properly protected.

While cowgirl boots and Western boots made for work may still feature intricate stitching and other embellishments, these are different from fashion boots designed for special occasions—like weddings or other events. Ensure you’re choosing boots designed for performance while you’re working on the ranch or riding all day.

If you need help deciding between riding boots and fashion boots, please reach out to us, and we’ll be happy to give you more information on the best options based on your needs. The differences are paramount, and it’s best to get the right pair for the right occasion.