I Ride Better in Shoes Other Than Actual Riding Boots... Any Similar Experiences? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 03-25-2020, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
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I Ride Better in Shoes Other Than Actual Riding Boots... Any Similar Experiences?

I had a lesson awhile back in which I had a massive brain fart and slipped on my tennis shoes instead of my riding boots, and we just did a low key walk/trot lesson that day. My trainer told me that I needed to work on keeping as solid of a leg in my boots as I do in my tennis shoes. I also remember a time about 13 years ago when I was going through a growth spurt and had to borrow a very old, very worn out pair of cowboy boots to ride in, and my trainer at the time didn't make nearly the amount of comments about my legs and heels (especially with keeping my heels down) as usual, and my mom told me I rode the best I ever had that night in those boots.*

Also, just a disclaimer: I haven't ridden in tennis shoes since that lesson and would never purposefully ride in them or consider riding in them due to the obvious safety issues.

Now, I have a very old, very worn out pair of Ariat paddock boots, and have also ridden in a different pair of cowboy boots when I dabbled in Western for awhile, but for some reason I just do not ride as well in actual riding boots other than that one pair of cowboy boots from years ago. I also walk with a limp and have a harder time walking and limp worse in my boots than in regular shoes. I don't know if it's because they're heavier or what the issue is. At first I thought the boots just needed to be really, really broken in like those old cowboy boots, but my Ariats are and the problem still exists.*

Has anyone else had this issue, and how did you fix it? I should also add that I am hard to fit for shoes and especially boots, so do you think getting custom boots would help with this (I've never had them)?*

​​​​​​​Thank you!
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post #2 of 12 Old 03-25-2020, 09:51 PM
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I hate boots - of any sort. They put my feet to sleep.

Ariats throw me forward in an odd way, so they are relegated to being worn when I bush hog or mow with the other tractor.

I have always ridden in tennis shoes and even though Iím retired from trail riding, I still have my high top basketball shoes that I only ever used for riding.

I am of no help, however, for your discipline

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I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.
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post #3 of 12 Old 03-25-2020, 10:03 PM
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Many polo grooms from Central and South America ride in what I consider to be slippers! Very thin soles. No heels. Ai. Not sure how they do it.

But they do, and do well.

A rancher guy I've worked for had two bad wrecks that really damaged his right leg. He lives in one specific style of shoe. Suede. Four holes for laces. Crepe soles.

Since he rides whatever needs rode, and does whatever needs doing when horseback, he has custom tapaderos on his stirrups.

I've seen caged ones for English saddles, too.
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post #4 of 12 Old 03-25-2020, 10:19 PM
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My first thought was, sometimes the leather on the inside of tall boots (or if it's another material, it will often already be slippery) can wear down and become flat and slippery. But if you're riding in paddock boots, I'm not so ready to jump to that idea.

My other thought is how much ankle support different shoes/boots provide you. I'm not sure of the exact mechanics of which ones would have best ankle support versus which ones seem to help your leg position... But it crossed my mind.

Or perhaps it could have to do with the amount of space that your feet are offered while in the shoes/boots. It could just so happen that your boots give you too much wiggle room, and your snug-fitting shoes give you a bit more of an anchor to the stirrup.

I really have no idea, I'm just spit-balling. Unfortunately, if you're lessoning, it's going to be very hard to convince your trainer to let you ride in tennis shoes. If you were riding your own horse on your own terms, you could ride in whatever you wanted that gives you the best support.
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post #5 of 12 Old 03-26-2020, 12:40 AM
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I nearly always ride in tennis shoes. But I am a trail rider so there is no one to tell me I can't. I have them laced very loose, because I like to be able to slip them on and off without untieing them. I figure they are pretty safe (knock on wood) because my feet can slip right out of them. As a matter of fact, on a couple of occassions I have thrown a shoe when I've gotten thrown from a horse.

I do have some cowboy boots and they are nice to ride in because they protect my ankles from the tree limbs and brush I find myself riding through. But I don't like walking in them. So I will sometimes wear them if I don't plan to get off the horse. But other times, I plan to get off and walk a little bit just for exercise and the boots kill me when I do that......and they are slick in rocks so I find myself at risk of falling on any kind of a hill. So tennis shoes are much better if you plan to walk and ride.

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post #6 of 12 Old 03-26-2020, 07:57 AM
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Sounds like you ride better without the fixed position some boots put you in. In both my tall boots and paddock type boots I loosen the laces at the ankle so I have as close to full range of motion as possible. I do snug the lace across the top and once past the ankle. I've often thought about having laces custom made so that the top of the foot portion is elastic and again above the ankle.
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post #7 of 12 Old 03-26-2020, 09:24 AM
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I'm the opposite. I need the ankle support badly as I've broken each ankle multiple times but they really do put my leg awkward. I know quite a few people who just stick a safety clip on the stirrup so your foot can't go through. They then ride in whatever. I've been considering the same to try.
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post #8 of 12 Old 03-26-2020, 01:24 PM
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I wonder if something like these would be a good compromise for you. Ariat Terrains. They're more like a hiking boot or high top sneaker, but have a heel for safety in the stirrups.

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post #9 of 12 Old 03-26-2020, 01:51 PM
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I ride in hiking boots. I ride western, mostly, but in cowboy boots my feet go numb. Nothing worse than not knowing where your feet are when trying to dismount!! I've ridden in sneakers, too, but prefer the hiking boots.

Courage is taking just one more step...
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post #10 of 12 Old 03-26-2020, 02:23 PM
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I'll second the hiking boot. I rode in Ecco's for years. My all time hands down favorite hiking boot. The company replaced the sole until they couldn't stitch the leather anymore. Had them for almost 30 years. Replaced the insoles a few times too. Now I have a pair of Ariat Terrains. Not quite the same but less expensive and seem to be durable. I won't get the wear I got out of the Ecco's but they are lasting. Can't show in them so just use for riding around the trails.
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