With over fifteen years experience of custom tall boot helping thousands and thousands of riders with their boots, I have become the boot geek I am today and in this article I have summarized many things about tall boots and giving answers to many frequently asked questions.
Spending countless hours in the saddle as a former dressage rider it was really an aha-moment when I got myself my first pair of made to measure tall boots. Having one foot that is much wider than the other it was always tricky to get a great fit and my left boot was always too big and wide and my heel kept coming up inside of the boots - pretty annoying! But when starting to wear these bespoke boots the problem was solved and I finally got the same feeling inside of both boots! Hurray!
This is what my job is all about today! To help you get boots with the perfect fit and with a breathtaking design and look so you can fully focus on becoming a better rider and having fun with the horses!
If any questions come up during your read please chat with us through the red icon down right on the web page. Let´s get started!
WHY TALL BOOTS?
As early as the 17th century, tall boots began to be used in the Swedish cavalry. And since then it has been used by most of the riders and equestrians. You can of course ride with short boots, or other gear, but we always recommend tall boots since they prevent friction on the body against the saddle, provide very good support and help you as a rider to have a more stable seat and leg, i.e. to ride better. Plus the fact that the outsole and the way the foot is designed give a good grip in the stirrup. It's also very stylish with riding boots. Don´t you agree?
WHAT KIND OF RIDER ARE YOU?
As equestrians we all have one thing in common and that is the passion for the horses, but we are very different as riders. When it is time to order new tall boots, you should start with defining what type of rider you are? Do you ride one day a week at a riding school, do you have your own horse and ride almost every day or do you work professionally with horses and ride ten-fifteen horses a day?
If you are a less experienced rider, a slightly softer riding boot is suitable for you, it will give support enough and the boot will help you becoming stable in the saddle. If you ride a lot and are a more experienced rider, first of all you will need more than one pair of boots and if you are a dressage rider you should preferably choose a harder and really durable tall boot and perhaps designed in one of our polished leathers which is thicker than regular calfskin. The more hours you spend on the back of horses the more friction against the saddle for the boots and the quicker the boots will be worn out.
Also think about how you want to be able to use the boots? Is it first and foremost when riding or do you wear them before and after the ride in the stable, when showering horses, in the horse stalls and when cleaning the stables? Also think about the environment on your facility, is it dry with a lot of asphalt, or does it get slightly muddy?
ANALYZE YOUR CURRENT BOOTS
Before you order new tall boots, it is good to analyze what you are riding with now. Do you already have a par of tall boots? What have you liked about them? Is there anything you haven't liked about them? Do you like them soft or reinforced? How has the height been? Too high or maybe too low? Were they standard or made to measure? How was the fit? Tight or a little loose? What color were they? It can also be good to think of how many boots you have in your boot collection, and whether you enjoy polishing your boots or if you prefer materials that are easy to care?
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STANDARD AND CUSTOM MADE BOOTS?
We are specialized in custom made and very unique riding boots, but we also have some standard sized boots for the younger riders. A standard riding boot is usually made in one color and the manufacturing process is done in larger volumes, where the process is faster than when tailoring riding boots. When trying on a standard riding boot, you only need your shoe size, your calf measurement and the height, which is then matched against a measurement table, where standard, for example, is that the measurement around the knee always is 2 cm tighter than the calf measurement.
Have you ever wondered if and how your legs and feet differ from each other? Do you feel that one foot is bigger than the other when you go to buy new shoes? It is quite common to have different width or length in your feet. Also the fact being right- or left-handed, you have one side of your body being stronger than the other and thus has one leg that could be larger than the other.
We also meet many riders who have other challenges; Hallux Valgus, heel spurs or perhaps previous (riding) injuries which means that the body has changed and is unequal. In these situations, you need to tailor your riding boots to get a great fit. We measure 24 (!) different measurements and make a completely unique riding boot for your right leg and another boot for your left leg, which gives you the same feeling inside both riding boots regardless of how your body looks. Since we all look different, we have created riding boots in all sorts of different sizes and shapes; small, large, short, long, wide and narrow. The production of made-to-measure riding boots is a manual and a handmade piece of art where you make one pair of riding boots at a time with the same pair of passionate hands.
VARIOUS TALL BOOT MODELS
There are different tall boot models depending on what kind of rider you are and the discipline you ride, a dressage rider usually wants a hard and stable riding boot that provides a lot of support and helps keep the leg steady and still in place. A dressage model in polished leather can almost be compared to a ski boot, the leg becomes a fixed and you end up in just the right position. Their opposite are our jumping models which should instead be very soft and supple and almost more like an extra skin, just to explain the difference in general.
These models are really suitable for all types of riding regardless of discipline. You can both ride dressage and jump with them as they are "adequately" hard in the leg. Our best-selling allround model is for sure BIA but do also check out OLIVIA, POLO, GAYA & RITA.
Common to our dressage models is first and foremost that they have a very hard and reinforced exterior. We have a panel of super thick leather that sits between the inner lining and the outer material. The hard exterior provides tremendous support and guidance and helps keep your long leg in place in the saddle. Even the heel part of the dressage models is slightly larger and squared and reinforced in the same way with an extra panel as the hard exterior. Otherwise, the dressage models have a soft foot part at the front and a soft inside panel against the saddle to give the best imaginable close feeling to the horse. The dressage models also have a higher dressage top arch on the outside, you can choose which height you prefer and a tip is to take a slightly higher bow on the outside instead of maximize the height at the back of the knee crease. We make dressage boots with arches that are 6, 7 or 8 cm, but 7 cm is the most common height. The higher the arch, the peakier it will look, the shape of the arch will also vary slightly depending on how wide your calves are.
Our best-selling dressage model is BIA DRESSAGE, the stylish model with full lacing at the front, we were actually the first on the market with fully laced riding boots and you may remember that Jeanna Högberg had cognac colored boots back in the days? It's been a few years since then, but they really became the talk of the town and a trendsetter. Nowadays we make Bia Dressage in all our +120 colors.
In addition to the lacing being very pretty, it is very functional, as you get full flexibility, and you can adjust them 3-4 cm. If you want to have room for an extra layer of clothes or thicker socks, when it's a little colder or if you, like most of us, change your body a little from time to time. Women in particular can gain a little or lose some weight, also hormones, or movement versus being sedentary, a lot or a little sleep and salty food are factors that cause us to change physically. I think a lot of people can relate to coming to the stables in the evening and suddenly you can't zip up the riding boots while they go on easy-peasy another day. Therefore, we warmly and happily recommend riding boots with full laces to all riders :)
We also have a jump model with lacing called RITA which is becoming increasingly popular, both Douglas Lindelöw, André Brandt and Björn Svensson ride in it. RITA has the same flexibility as the BIA models, but it has a zipper at the back and even a slimmer fit.
The jumping boots should be very tight and be more like an extra skin. In order not to skimp on quality and to get maximum durability even on the jumping models, we use the same outer material as for the dressage boots, but we use a thinner inner lining, which results in thinner and softer riding boots, but still with very good durability. Since you want the jumping boot to be very tight, the zipper is on the back so you can easily get your foot in anyway. Some models, such as DANIEL, also have elastic short lacing in the front which gives more flexibility when riding in a jumping saddle and with shorter stirrups. We also recommend inserting an elastic gusset next to the zipper to give some flexibility but also for a nicer feel. We make elastic 1 or 2 cm wide and it is available in black and dark brown. Also check out the DIOGO model, which is Douglas Lindelöw's favorite.
SHEEPSKIN LINED BOOTS
How wonderful is it to tuck the fossings into a pair of sheepskin-lined riding boots? Your feet will be like embedded in cotton and you will stay warm for the rest of the day. We mainly make our fully laced models with sheepskin lining, since it mostly varies how many layers of clothing you need if it's -2 degrees or -20 outside and the lacing gives maximum flexibility. When you order sheepskin-lined riding boots, we take the measurements as usual, preferably with the riding breeches and socks you want to fit inside those winter boots. Then we add an extra margin that is required for the sheepskin.
Sheepskin is a completely magical material and has insulating properties both for cold and heat. You can choose sheepskin lining in the whole boots, i.e the foot part, the insole and the whole leg or you can only do the foot part if you want. Some riders who have delicate feet may benefit from sheepskin feet to reduce the risk of chafing, pressure or discomfort. We recommend out fully laced models for sheepskin: BIA WINTER, BIA WINTER DRESSAGE and RITA WINTER.
THE PERFECT BOOT COLLECTION
We have a long experience of tailor-made riding boots and have helped thousands of different riders with their boots and thus have a very clear idea that the perfect boot collection consists of at least four pairs of boots to fully cover all your needs as a rider:
1. One pair of classic training boots, might be in a nice brown color, that matches any horse, saddle and outfit.
2. One pair of competition boots, black glossy and extra nice for shows.
3. One pair of sheepskin lined winter boots for those cold days, to keep you warm.
4. One pair (or more) in your favorite, super fancy, color and design, a training boot for those special trainings and moments.
How many pairs of boots do you have and which pair will be your next?
(This photo is from one of our suppliers showroom in Portugal.)
Different materials also give different character and different riding boots, a boot in polished leather, which is hard and a little thicker, will be significantly stiffer than a boot in suede, which is a thinner and softer material. We only use calfskin that has been tanned mainly in southern Europe, which means the animals have been well cared for and lived in good conditions in a warm climate and fed nutritious feed, which also reflects the quality of the leather. A healthy animal has fine and elastic skin. The conditions for those who work at the tanneries are also good and have as little impact on the environment as possible.
Leather has perfect properties for the manufacture of riding boots, it is durable, has just the right amount of elasticity without becoming limp and is comfortable both on our body and on the horse's body. We manufacture riding boots in +120 different colors; leather, polished leather, waxed leather, suede, lacquer, croco gloss and various embossed leathers. Learn all about our different materials in our material guide.
THE INNER LINING
We have different types of inner lining that you can choose from depending partly on which discipline you ride and of course how you want your riding boots. We only use the best quality, which is both durable and comfortable. You can think that it is the totality of the outer leather, the panel in between and the inner lining that together give the riding boots their character.
In order to maintain hard-wearing and durable riding boots, we do not want to make the outer materials thinner, but rather experiment with the type of inner lining, as the riding boots are often worn on the inside panels from many lovely hours in the saddle and from the friction that arises from the stirrup leathers.
CALF LEATHER LINING
This lining is only used on our dressage boot models as you usually want a very stable and sturdy boot with a thicker material.
THIN CALF LEATHER LINING
A lining that we use on jumping boots if you want them to be regular.
VEGAN INNER LINING
Together with our team rider Douglas Lindelöw, we have developed a new and modern inner lining, which is even thinner than our calfskin lining. It is vegan and made from recycled clothing, but incredibly durable, thin and flexible. A perfect lining if you want a really soft boot, it is also an option to line the dressage boots with this if you want them even softer.
Sheepskin is a magical material that partly has therapeutic properties and prevents chafing, but also insulates the body against both cold and heat. You can partly sheepskin line the entire boot but also just the foot part if you want a little extra warmth or if you may have problems with Hallux Valgus, heel spurs or just have slightly sensitive feet. We mainly recommend sheepskin lining our fully laced riding boot models.
ZIPPERS ON RIDING BOOTS
Years ago, there were only riding boots without zippers, the models were significantly straighter and roomier around the ankles than they are today, partly because it was the trend then, but also to be able to get the foot down into the riding boots. They had the help of so-called pullers that were hooked into loops that were sewn into the inner lining. It was also an exhausting and stressful moment to take off the riding boots of the time, you used a boot jack, but after a sweaty riding session it was not super easy to get them off, they could also get stuck in the middle of the calf and the cramp was a fact.
Today, there are basically only riding boots with zippers and it is extremely convenient. The zipper can sit at the back, as it usually does on jumping boots, when you want to have as tight fit as possible but still be able to get the foot in properly. On dressage boots, the zipper is usually on the inside or on the front like on the polo models. Something to keep in mind to increase the life of the zippers is to always pull them all the way down when taking off and on the riding boots, and make sure to keep them clean of dust, dirt, gravel and horse sweat. Sometimes it can happen that a zipper opens involuntarily and usually it is because the runner, i.e. the small handle you pull, has become a little stretched and needs to be pushed back a little, it can usually be easily fixed with pliers and is cheaper and is faster than replacing the entire zipper.
If it is the case that the spikes or the hooks themselves have become seriously worn or even that a spike has come loose, there is a risk that the zipper will come off completely and then need to be replaced. We usually recommend that you replace both zippers at the same time so they will last just as long.
If the zipper is sluggish, it can be advantageous to lubricate it with a candle or spray it with zipper spray.
Our zippers are from YKK and we have chosen extra wide zippers that are made for tall boots and tough conditions, we also have leather parts covering the zippers on the boots to protect them from the dirt.
HOW CAN YOU DESIGN YOUR DREAM BOOTS?
We have several different stylish variations on toe seams that you can choose from. Straight, heart-shaped, double stitched or brogue. The seams do not significantly affect the comfort of the boots, but if you have, for example, Hallux Valgus, we usually recommend skipping toe seams and choosing a completely plain toe because it gives the leather a little more opportunity to mold properly to your body.
There are also several different ways to design the top of the riding boots, you can either make them with different types of stitching or in matching or different patterns.
You can also choose the height of the arch, usually we make jumping boots 5 cm high and dressage boots 6-8 cm, but it is a matter of taste and depends a little on how long your legs are.
On the dressage models, you can also choose different buckles, short push buttons, long push buttons or polo buckles
Comfort is certainly the most important thing when it comes to riding boots, but surely it's great to be able to match your equipment? For your self-designed Celeris boots, you can also order spur straps, spur guards, belts, leg guards and boots!
Our padded boot bags are also very popular to both store and transport the boots in.
BOOK YOUR FITTING
Did you know that we take a total of 24 unique measurements? 12 per leg, so the boots are really very tailored. We are happy to help you with your measurements, you can book an appointment in our showroom in Stockholm at Grev Turegatan 60 or digitally.
HOW DO YOU BREAK IN YOUR NEW RIDING BOOTS?
There are no shortcuts when it comes to new riding boots. The leather is stiff and the zipper is a little sluggish and they feel a little uncomfortable.
The best way is to start by putting in a pair of heel raisers so that your legs end up in the right position of the boots, since the riding boots will drop 1-2 cm, they will initially end up a little high on your leg. Then it might be a good idea to try them on with very thin breeches and socks or even just nylon tights the first time, as the boots will mold to your body quickly just from your body heat.
Wear the boots at home when you watch TV or cook, then you can start to walk a little in them, maybe take a shorter and slower walk. When it's time to sit up on your horse, use a stool and start by walking out or riding a light jogging session and the experience will be nicer and more comfortable. Then it's just a matter of riding, again, there are no shortcuts how to break them in and after 10-20 riding sessions they should have formed and can be considered worn in!
HOW TO CLEAN YOUR NEW BOOTS?
In the final stage of the production of the riding boots, the boots are polished with shoe cream so you don't need to do anything with them at first, just use a damp cloth or sponge to clean them from dirt and horse sweat. After you've ridden them for a while, it's time to get into your grooming routine, which consists of three simple steps:
1. CLEAN them with a damp cloth or sponge
2. APPLY SHOE WAX
3. POLISH the shoe polish with a brush or nylon stocking
Check out our boot care guide for more tips and a detailed description of how best to polish them.
It is really important that you take care of your riding boots, they will last so much longer then! And remember that they are made to be used primarily when riding and preferably not when cleaning stables, washing horses or around at the stables.
I hope this tall boot guide has given you some answers about boots - go check out all our guides and don´t hesitate to chat with us via the red button down right if you have any questions!