Long Boots Versus Half Chaps

Half Chaps Versus Long Boots - Globetrotting horse riding holidays

It’s an age-old debate among the Globetrotting community: are you better off riding in a good pair of long boots, or strapping half-chaps over your paddock boots?

While in the broader equestrian world, there are obvious pros and cons for both – and situations where it’s obvious which you should wear – on a horse riding holiday, the choice is a little more nuanced. So here’s the low-down:

Long Boots
Pros:
– Long boots support your leg position and improve your stability while riding.
– Quality long boots tend to last longer if properly cared for, thanks to their simple design and materials.
– An elegant pair of long boots can also function as smart-casual footwear, so if you plan your outfits around them, you can avoid the weight of an extra pair of dressy shoes in your suitcase.
– In cold climates, well broken-in, comfortable, grippy riding boots also function as perfect everyday walking shoes, adding another layer of warmth to your calves.

Cons:
– Because long boots are a looser fit around your leg, you could still experience chafing during long days in the saddle, unlike the tight fit of half chaps.
– Depending on the material, long boots tend to be more difficult to clean than chaps.
– Long boots can be harder to remove at the end of a day’s riding (or during a picnic lunch break!) than half chaps.
– If customs officials consider your boots a biological hazard, you could be facing some serious heartbreak at the airport.

Half Chaps
Pros:
– Properly fitted half chaps function the same way as a tall boots, with the added benefit of more flexibility, so when you’re off the horse you can walk comfortably for longer.
– You don’t need to break in half chaps, unlike boots!

– Half chaps can be removed without taking your boots off, if you want to be even more comfortable while walking around or just release a bit of the heat from your legs.
– Synthetic half chaps offer great water resistance and can be put in the washing machine if they get dirty.
– Half chaps take up much less room in your luggage and can squeeze into tight spaces far more easily than long boots.
– It’s less tragic to have your $40 half chaps confiscated at the border than your top-of-the-range long boots!
– Half chaps can also be worn over hiking boots, work boots or sneakers, making them quite a versatile option for general leg protection.

Cons:
– It takes longer to put on and remove boots and half chaps than a pair of long boots.
– Depending on the quality of your half chaps, you may need to replace them more often than boots.
– Half chaps don’t have quite the same fashionista appeal as a sleek pair of long boots.
– Uhhh… that’s all we can think of!

There’s our two cents on the matter, globetrotters – we hope you found it helpful!

If you’re leaning towards long boots, Ariat has a great range of boots for everything from dressage to cattle mustering.

And as for half chaps, you can read our recommendations for leather chaps here, or for mesh chaps (nice and breathable) here.

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