I ride hunter jumper but have always been interested in the origins of the sport.
What is the history of the boots and their colors? What is the "proper" thing past and present?
This question came up because there are a number of antique stores in the area and they all have all brown leather field boots. - What is the difference between brown leather field boots, black leather field boots, black leather with a brown cap, and black leather with a black patent cap? Who is allowed to wear what? What a bout dress boots, are those seen on a hunt?
If there is another thread on this sorry, I tried a search.
Where are these stores that always have brown field boots?
I'd really go a nice patinated pair.
But in summary, fox hunters:
never wear black field boots
wear brown field boots on informal days
wear tan tops on formal days if male and granted the right to
wear patent tops on formal days if female and granted the right to
wear black dress boots on formal days
don't wear field boots, sticks get stuck in them... dress boots only... from the practical sense, it was true in the past and is true today ETA: I don't know about the tradition, just mean I don't ever wear field boots due to the experience above.
"Bold Words was classier than all his competition. Straighter knees and a slim, elegant neck." -Nan Mooney My Racing Heart
Actually, I've never owned the patent tops, they are 'optional' for ladies w/colors but not required if you are wearing a standard melton coat. The very practical reason for the patent tops is that ladies won't get shoe polish on their breeches when they demurely cross their legs at the breakfast.
The brown tops on gentlemen's boots are the vestige of boots worn way back in the day, which went up above the knee on the front- when rolled down they showed the brown or tan interior and things evolved from there.
Field boots were 'always' brown, the black field boots became popular in the show ring first and then folks started wearing them out hunting, they are pretty well accepted these days though you will still see clenched teeth among older MFHs and turnout police.
I have, once, seen a MFH-huntsman sporting tan tops on black field boots. But as has been noted, I wouldn't do that, fashion traditions aside, because yeah, those laces 'can' be a pain when galloping in woods or heavy brush.