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How to Check the Fit of New Tall Boots

Here are some overall points to consider about the fit of your new tall riding boots:

Field boots are designed to drop, soften and crease around your ankle to allow for proper leg positions while riding. The amount of drop depends on the softness of the leather and on the boot cut. Because of the intended drop, it is important that new boots rise high enough at the knee initially, though the final height of your field boots will depend in part on the decisions you made when you ordered the boots. Refer to How to Measure for Tall Boots if you need help with sizing.

Dressage boots are crafted of stiffer leather than field boots and are not designed to drop much or soften at the ankle. They should, however, stand high enough at the knee to help achieve an elegant, elongated leg in the saddle.

All tall boots require an uncomfortable break-in time to get the final, proper riding boot fit. Dover Saddlery offers an array of products to help you get used to your new boots, from slippery Zocks™ that make boots easier to slide on, to Effax® Boot Miracle Stretch Spray for extra tight spots in the calf. As your boots break in, they will become more comfortable to wear.

Steps to Assess Tall Riding Boot Fit

Follow these steps to be sure your new tall boots fit properly:

1. Put on the breeches or riding tights and socks that you will wear with your boots.

2. Pull on or zip up your boots. Initially, they should be difficult to tug on (and off). If your boots have zippers, you should be able to zip them all the way up and snap the closure at the top while standing. The boots should feel uncomfortably snug around your calf without cutting off your circulation. For riders with wide calves, a pair of wide calf riding boots may provide a more comfortable riding boot fit.

Note: If the riding boot fit is too loose, when it breaks in and stretches, the boots will develop deep folds around your ankle that may press into your skin and cause friction. Also, if the boot is too loose, it will drop too much and be too short in height.

3. Check the height. For field boots where you want the maximum height after break-in, the front of the boot should rise to the middle of your kneecap. If you cannot see the kneecap at all, the boots are too tall. For dressage boots, the front of the boot should rise to just under your kneecap.

Note: The boots will seem uncomfortably tall and will crease slightly at the top when you bend your knee, as shown in the photo. Wearing the boots will be uncomfortable during your first few rides.

Note: The crease will disappear when the boots drop. You can see how high your riding boot fit will appear after the break-in phase by placing a heel lift in the footbed to raise your leg inside the boot. For more comfort at the back of the knee, some people choose to ride in a heel lift until the boot finishes breaking in.

4. Check the feel of the footbed. Make sure that you will be comfortable keeping the ball of your foot on a stirrup pad. If you have ordered a shoe size that is a little larger than you would normally wear in order to obtain a slightly taller boot height, place an air cushion, gel sole or other padded footbed in the shoe of the boot to take up extra space.

Related Articles:
How to Measure for Tall Boots
How to Care for Tall Boots