How to Fit Riding Boots

Tall Boots According to Hope.
When I began riding in the late 1960's tall riding boots were not so tall. You were lucky if the stock boots available went most of the way up your calves. The style was a dress boot that was so baggy around the calf that they had to be held up with a boot garter strap. You could easily slide your hand down inside your boot along the side of your leg. Thank goodness by the mid-eighties, the "off-the-rack" boots became more form-fitting and field boot with laces in the instep really came into vogue. Field boots were easier to get into especially if you have a high instep or long heel. The lacing at the ankle allowed your foot at to pass more easily through the narrowest part of the boot. The laces were then tightened up for a custom fit. Almost all tall boots are now manufactured with a zipper. Riders are able to get a better fit through the ankle and no longer have to struggle with getting their boots on and off.


Field Boots are usually black and very tall against the back of the equestrian’s knee. Tall boots need to have about ¾”-1” of extra height. This amount will take into account the drop of the boot.

The drop is when the boot settles at the ankle after it is broken in. The drop is very important because, when english riders are in the correct equitation position their heels are below their toes in the stirrups. By putting your heels down when riding, you will pull the calf of the boot down your leg. The boot will then appear to be too short. By adding the extra height in the shaft of the riding boot, it will never appear short.

The tops of most tall boots along the outside of the riders leg, are shaped to measure as high as 3” taller than the inside or back of the knee. The higher profile allows the boot to always appear tall enough for the rider even after the boots settle at the ankle.

Another feature on a tall boot is elastic that can run along side of the zipper. This feature in some of the boots manufactured today helps keep the boot snug along the profile of the leg from the rider’s ankle to the top of their calves. The other benefits are the ability to wear different weight breeches and to be able to gain and lose weight within a range.

The Seven Steps to a Great Tall Boot Fit
  1. Establish the foot size of the brand you are trying.
  2. Zippers can be broken at the bottom by stepping on them while getting into a boot that is too small for your foot. Your foot will pass over the zipper if the foot size is correct.
  3. Slide your foot up into the toe of the boot, squishing your toes a bit. Be sure you can put a finger's width behind your heel before zipping the boot.
  4. As you zip the boot for the first time, pull the zipper away from the calf as you zip it up.
  5. If there is elastic along the side of the zipper, it may take a few times zipping the boot up and down to get it to start to stretch open easily.
  6. If you can zip the boot successfully, now check to see if the height is correct. When standing, the top of the front of the boot should push up your knee caps.
  7. When you squat in a jumping position, the boot should remain under your kneecap.