Every person and riding facility has their own idea of what constitutes appropriate riding footwear. For me, comfort is the number one priority. When my grandmother and mom gave lessons, the only rule with shoes was: closed toe and decent tread. Students were never required to go buy boots of any kind. Sneakers with a good tread were sufficient.
That being said, I grew up riding in sneakers. Year round. The only reason I even owned a pair of paddock boots was because I rode in a show once as a child. I was not a fan (of the boots or the show, but that’s a story of its own). I love the breathability (for summer riding!), comfort, light weight, and flexibility that sneakers offer.
As much as I like riding in my beloved sneakers, they are definitely not a good winter shoe. I suffered from cold toes my entire childhood (and up until recently) because I rode in sneakers no matter the weather.
In late 2022 I decided that I wanted to get into hiking. Although I am 100% for sneakers for hiking, I knew that if I was attempting rougher terrain, a good boot would help protect my feet, and would likely not wear out as fast. So, I started hunting.
I like my things to have dual purposes whenever possible, so as I was shopping and trying on, the questions were as follows:
Are they comfortable?
Will they keep my feet warm and dry?
Can I fit thick socks in here?
Do they constrict the movement of my ankles?
Could I ride in these?
After many failed boot shopping ventures and several online returns, I finally found a pair of boots that ticked all of the boxes. It was almost unbelievable when I put them on and found…COMFORT! It was a shopping miracle!
Of course I tested them out as soon as possible. The next time I was at the barn, I hopped on my buddy Dreamer and took my new boots for a test ride. It was weird having a much clunkier shoe than normal and it took a little getting used to, but I actually like them. They are a great winter riding option! Frankly, I still MUCH prefer sneakers for riding. However, I cannot deny that having warm toes in the winter time is very nice.
If you, like me, are not a fan of equestrian specific riding shoes, I highly recommend the Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Amped Hiking Shoe. Because I have a wide foot, I tend to have issues finding shoes that fit well. These did not disappoint! I ordered a wide width in a half size up so I would have room for extra socks. The fit is perfect with or without extra pairs of socks on.
The boot comes in multiple color options and a wide range of sizes. I chose the “Elk, Mountain Red” color combo.
Not only are these boots comfy, warm, and barn appropriate, but the price was right! You can buy these shoes directly from Columbia’s website, but I ordered mine from Amazon for ease of returns.
As of 1/23/2023, one color is on sale ($69.91) on Columbia’s website and the other colors are $100. I paid $75 on Amazon for my pair, but as of 1/23/2023, the same boots I ordered are on sale for $59.99!
Link to Columbia online store:
I like these boots so much that I'm considering buying a backup pair. When you find a shoe that fits, you don’t risk never being able to get your hands on it again!
What’s your favorite riding shoe?