View Full Version : function of dress vs. field boots?

Aug. 20, 2009, 03:54 PM
OK, style and tradition aside, is there a functional difference between wearing dress boots and field boots when one is (supposedly) riding dressage?

Aug. 20, 2009, 03:58 PM
Functional difference - no. It's about style and tradition.

Aug. 20, 2009, 04:17 PM
I am sure you will get a lot of thoughts on this one!

I think that it depends on how much flexion you want in your ankle. You would have more adjustability in being able to tighten and loosen the field boot. Before zippers, it made life much easier to get into the boot. If you don't like the feel of the zipper or the worry of replacing the zippers regularly, it still would be useful.

I am breaking in dress boots, so I really notice the stiffness and the pressure on the top of my ankle. But, I ride with a shorter stirrup length and a 45 degree angle in my leg. I want my heel below the stirrup for the shock absorption and stability. I also want more feel of the horse. I ride across country much of the time when I am hacking out, so that is an important factor. You have fewer branches stuck in your boots...:lol:

Aug. 20, 2009, 04:32 PM
Style and tradition don't matter to me:cool:. I want a boot that I can wear everyday and that might help my leg position. I tend to raise the heal on my right foot. I think that a field boot would offer more flexibility in the ankle, but is that a good thing? And is it at the expense of some necessary rigidity? I wonder if it wouldn't be more like riding in paddocks and half chaps...

I want to make an informed decision before I plunk down my money!

Aug. 20, 2009, 04:50 PM
I do the same thing with my right leg! The dress boots don't seem to help ;)

Aug. 20, 2009, 04:52 PM
I have old field boots I ride in for clinics and some lessons, and dress boots for show. Once they are on, I can't tell the difference.

Aug. 20, 2009, 04:53 PM
Style and tradition don't matter to me:cool:. I want a boot that I can wear everyday and that might help my leg position. I tend to raise the heal on my right foot. I think that a field boot would offer more flexibility in the ankle, but is that a good thing? And is it at the expense of some necessary rigidity? I wonder if it wouldn't be more like riding in paddocks and half chaps...

I want to make an informed decision before I plunk down my money!

It's going to vary greatly between the brands and price points--fully lined vs. partial, cheap leather vs. better, and so on. If you want to show dressage then I would get a dress boot. If you want to show hunters get a field boot. If you are wearing it every day then you will wear it out sooner--most people just wear tall boots to show (I'm an exception). No boot is going to fix your leg position--I ride the same in paddock boots and chaps as I do in my field boots.

Aug. 20, 2009, 05:31 PM
Don't want to hijack this thread.. But how about dress boot and dressage boot? Are they the same?

Aug. 20, 2009, 05:41 PM
Don't want to hijack this thread.. But how about dress boot and dressage boot? Are they the same?

A dressage boot that is customarily worn for show is called a dress boot. So yes. The tall one with no laces...

Aug. 20, 2009, 05:49 PM
My dress boots are stiffened up the back seam making them more supportive. I use them only for competitions. Very little walking!
My Field boots are much squisher and soft making them more comfortable for everyday riding and working around the horses. They have dropped alot which means they don't look that flash but are OK for lessons and everyday riding.

Aug. 20, 2009, 05:53 PM
Well, there are hunter dress boots. They tend to be softer, or so I am told. Dressage boots have various levels of stiffening up the back.

I have cheapie dress boots, and they are not very stiff. Compared to a friend's new Petries, it's a very different type of boot.

Aug. 20, 2009, 06:32 PM
My dress boots are dehners. because I want the softer flexible everyday option. My last 2 pairs lasted about 17 and 15 years. Dehner refused to recondtion them again since they were so old. Hence the joys of new ones. I use to foxhunt and still ride the hunt trails. I do have noticeably better touch with boots rather than half chaps and paddock boots. They are more supportive.

Perhaps you could try some on and see what fits your leg best. There are huge differences in both types.

Aug. 20, 2009, 06:32 PM
I think the difference between and Dress boot and a Dressage boot is the Dressage boot is super, super stiff and won't give around the ankles. I think the Dress boot is similar in looks to the Dressage boot, but offers a lot more suppleness.

I love the comfort of field boots...if it doesn't matter what style you get, I would go with the field boots. It is really nice to be able to tighten them around your foot/ankle.

Aug. 20, 2009, 06:35 PM
If you want a beautiful boot that requires no breaking in, go with Der Daus...they are the most amazing boots ever...I had always had Dehners and would cry during the breaking in period. The Der Daus are comfortable from day one.

Aug. 20, 2009, 10:10 PM
If you're just going to be riding dressage and don't have any ankle/leg "issues", I'd go with dress boots because that is more traditionally accepted.

However if you do have any ankle issues, field boots tend to be a lot more comfortable. When buying my last pair of boots, I actually thought about dress boots and tried some for a while. Killed my ankle for some reason which I have a lot of past 'history' ;) with. So for the comfort reason, physical impact on my ankle, and the fact that I may still show hunters, I went with the field boots. If I do get to upper levels someday, I understand I may have to switch to dress boots but I would probably have to go custom and have extra room in the ankles. For now the field boots do just fine

Aug. 21, 2009, 10:01 AM
Well, i'm going to go against everyone here... :D

I have TIGHT ankles with little flex to get my heels down. In a looser boot, ie field boots or paddocks with half chaps... I fight the whole ride. In a cheap pair of dress boots, i fight... I dont know whether to tighten the ankle or relax it more, i've tried both, neither gets me the desired result...

So... Go stare at your dressage today magazines and show me one big name rider with their heel flexed that low...

You wont find it.

Now i know why. I bought myself a pair of Petries, stiffer than all get out, i cant walk in them 10ft without a blister. Riding in them took some getting used to, though not much because POOF, there was my leg. With a stiffer boot, it kept allowed my ankle to relax, i dont have to work at it, it just stays there. Is my heel DOWN? no, its a little below level i would say, which seems to be a very good spot for me.

My gripe, i wish they made them with a grippier rubber sole, i slide on the mats when i dismount if they get one spot of sweat on the mats where i step. I cant imagine trying to walk in colder temps where there might be ice somewhere, and when i mount, my toe wants to slide off the stirrup. Once on, i dont have any issues with losing my stirrups (though i use MDC stirrups that stay turned so i'm not fighting THAT issue too...).

I once read one of those Lisa Wilcox articles in Dressage Today, the ones where people send in pictures. Well one of the pics showed a lovely rider with their heels shoved down to China and the ankle of their boot totally broke down and wrinkled. One of Lisa's critiques was to get proper dressage boots. I never really understood the why of that until now, and i read that article a good 4-5yrs ago.

Now, jumping, get the most flexible boot possible so you can get your heel down... But dressage, if you want that long lean leg that just hangs there perfectly, get yourself an expensive boot that is STIFF. My advice, go try them on and if you can walk in them comfortably, they aren't stiff enough... LOL :lol: I keep mine right where i mount now, so i slip out of my sneakers, put on my boots, mount and promptly chuck the suckers the second i dismount... I dont know how you would get that stiff of a boot on without zippers either, so get zippers!

Petries, Cavallos, Konigs, all very stiff. Der Dau's i've only seen a few pairs and they were not stiff in the least... Pretty though. Maybe they offer different options.

Aug. 21, 2009, 10:26 AM
Dressage dress boots (like the Anky, for example) are MUCH stiffer--they create a kind of box in the ankle to help them retain their shape, thus they are much wider in the ankle--they are supposed to help stabilize/reduce your leg movement/bounce. Butler is right--that's really what you see upper level riders in.

I don't personally care for them at this point--I just can't shake my hunter roots and don't like the look/I feel like I need to be able to walk in them-- so I have dress boots that are like field boots (not stiff, tapered in the ankle), but without the laces.

Aug. 22, 2009, 10:32 AM
About 6 months ago I bought a pair of Petrie 'Perfect' dressage boots. The
dress boots (hunter style, soft and flexie at the ankle) I had worn for years
had finally died.
I cannot believe how much quieter my leg is with these boots! My legs just
hang there. Since my leg isn't 'flopping' about, my position has improved
The boots are quite stiff but fit me very well and, though I would not like to
walk miles in them, they don't kill me either. I do have heel lifts in them so
that the backs don't make blisters behind my knees. I just love them. If
you are going to ride dressage, stiffer boots are a real help.
This particular model (Perfect) is great for schooling and polishes up nicely for
shows AND they were relatively cheap...$299 + shipping (from Germany) $50
+zippers $50 (needed zippers as I have bird legs...12.5" calves).

Aug. 22, 2009, 12:19 PM
Thanks SO much for all the replies and opinions. My paddocks need replacing and I thought I'd get tall boots instead and use them everyday.

BaroqueLady, did you have yourself measured before you ordered from Germany? That price sounds great, but I'd be concerned about having to send them BACK if they didn't fit...

Aug. 22, 2009, 12:43 PM
Don't want to hijack this thread.. But how about dress boot and dressage boot? Are they the same?

Dressage boots have a squared toe and are Spanish cut (higher on the outside), but I've noticed the dress boot makers incorporating this feature.

Aug. 22, 2009, 08:50 PM
The Petrie boots I ordered are 'semi-custom'. This means that you send in
a set of specified measurements (ankle, floor to back of knee, calf, etc..) and
they try to find a 'best fit' of the many combinations they have. I got them from
KittyBee on ebay, a reputable dealer used by many COTHers. You can see the
chart at: http://cgi.ebay.com/PETRIE-DRESSAGE-BOOTS-All-Sizes-Semi-Custom-NEW_W0QQitemZ330354040815QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_Def aultDomain_0?hash=item4ceaa29fef&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14

The price has gone up to $319 but it is still a terrific deal. I didn't 'fit' into any
of their combos because of my skinny legs so Kitty suggested the back zippers. Her saddle maker put in the zippers taking out enough width to
provide me with a truely 'custom' fit.
I am thrilled with the fit and the great deal and the improvement in my riding!
Don't be confused or put off by the weirdo size chart. If you send Kitty an
email, she will send you a list of measurements to be taken and suggest a
'best fit'. She is very nice and honest and want you to love your new boots!

Regarding 'dress boots' versus 'dressage boots'...dress boots, I believe,
are hunter style with a very flexible ankle. Dressage boots are very stiff,
stand up by themselves (!) needing no 'boot savers'. The stiffness of the
boot makes an incredible difference in the stability of your leg. It does
matter...a lot I think. At least, it has to me.

Aug. 22, 2009, 09:49 PM
Another note, keep an eye on ebay period! I got my petries "used", ie, not even broke in with a little scuff on the inside... I knew my measurements and just kept watching for what i wanted to pop up. Mine already had the zippers installed (on the inside front, a little weirder to get on, but i dont think they break as often there as they do up the back) and i paid $250 including shipping, and i wear a VERY popular size, so that was even bidding against people. Mine fit like they were custom, Petrie offers so many size options.