Styling Riding Boots: Your Complete Guide

Riding boots have been a fashion favourite since the 1980s. Comfortable, versatile and cosy warm, they can help enhance a wide variety of looks.

Say you want to wear a skirt but the weather isn’t giving up – shoes or ballet flats just won’t cut it. A beautiful, weatherproof pair of riding boots is just what you need. If you want to go all-out equestrian chic, go for a good pair of riding boots with flattering skinny corduroy jeans and a fitted jacket.

In this guide, we’ll take an in-depth look at how best to wear riding boots to suit your overall look – and how to maintain this style of footwear.

What are riding boots?

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Generally, you’ll recognise a riding boots by their:

  • Knee-high design. Originally, the high front of riding boots was intended to protect the legs of horse riders.
  • Flat or low heel. The sculpted sole and flat used to hold riders’ feet comfortably in a stirrup.
  • Quilting and contrast stitching. Some have contrasting zips on the outside of the boot and many also have pull tabs around the cuff, making it easier to pull on the riding boots.
  • Buckles, straps and buttons. Some designs will incorporate strapping that’s finished with rivets or buckles for a striking appearance. Most riding boots are made to mould the shape of your leg and are either pulled on or have a zip running down the inside seam for ease.

What should I wear with riding boots?

When it comes to styling your riding boots, you’ll find they go well with many types of clothing. When riding boots originally gained popularity in the 1980s, coupling them with a mid-length skirt was all the rage – and remains a popular choice to this day. Nowadays, a fashionable way to style riding boots is to wear them over jeans or leggings.

Particularly favoured during the winter months, riding boots are durable, warm and effortlessly stylish. They’re perfect for achieving an easy-going look with a slouchy jumper and leggings, but they can also be dressed up with tights, a tailored skirt and blouse.

It’s not completely unreasonable for riding boots to be worn in summer, either. They make a pretty decent alternative to festival wellies, for example. Pair them with denim shorts, a funky T-shirt and a casual open-buttoned shirt over the top and you’ve got a whole new look.

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What size and fit do I need?

When it comes to fitting and sizing riding boots, it’s a little more complicated than just choosing the size you’d normally go for in shoes. Riding boots are quite structured and should fit your foot, ankle and calf well – without any slouching or gaps.

Here’s a quick step by step guide to help you find the best riding boots for your feet:

  1. Measure your feet. Our women’s shoe size guide should help you establish what size riding boots you’ll need. It’s hugely important to make sure you choose the right size to ensure the comfort and health of your feet.
  2. Make sure the fit is correct. This is where you establish whether you need wide fit riding boots or narrow fit riding boots. A pair of boots that are too narrow or too wide can cause discomfort, so make sure you get the fit right.
  3. Measure your calf. It could be that you have wide feet, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have a wide calf. The same applies to a narrow foot and narrow calf. A calf that is too wide for the boots can mean they become uncomfortable and make movement more difficult. Boots that are too wide around the calves can cause the boots to slouch, which will mean they won’t look their best and aren’t as insulating as you might like.
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What’s the best way of maintaining riding boots?

How you care for your riding boots will depend on the materials they’re made from. While you can read our more comprehensive guide to boot cleaning, polishing and repairing for women, follow this quick process for:

Leather riding boots

  1. Clean your leather riding boots with a soft brush to dust off any debris.
  2. Use a damp cloth to rub a small amount of toothpaste into the leather to remove scuffs.
  3. Sprinkle baking soda onto any grease or oil marks to break them up.
  4. Restore your riding boots with an appropriately coloured boot polish.

Patent leather riding boots

  1. Use warm soapy water to remove any surface dirt.
  2. Buff up your shoe shine with a little petroleum jelly.
  3. Use a small amount of nail polish to reduce the appearance of scuffs.
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Suede riding boots

  1. Use a suede brush to remove any debris or dirt from the surface of your riding boots.
  2. Brush your suede boots in sweeping motions in the same direction.
  3. Remove stubborn scuff marks with a pencil eraser.

Riding boots are by far one of the best styles when it comes to comfort, style and warmth. Hugely versatile, with so many different styles to suit every taste, no one should be without a pair.


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