Field or Dress Boots? Which to Choose

FIELD BOOTS OR DRESS BOOTS?
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?

 

Two of the most often questions asked!

 

THE DIFFERENCE
Both Field and Dress boots are tall, coming up to just below the front of the knee cap. They are traditionally made of leather but they can also be found in a variety of leather-like synthetics.

 

Most still have tabs of leather on the outside of the boots at the top. Purely decorative now, they were formally used to help pull the boots on.

 

The major difference between Field and Dress boots is that Field boots have laces at the front, Dress boots do not. Also, most Field boots have a toe cap and Dress boots do not.

DO I NEED FIELD OR DRESS BOOTS – WHICH?The answer if mostly driven by the kind of riding you do, and at what level you are riding.

Field and Dress boots can be used for schooling or just for general riding. When used for these kinds of activities, there is no “Wrong” or “Right”, even though even these can have a tradition of use attached to choice you might make. Here are some general rules:

DRESS BOOTS
Dress boots are proper attire for every level of competition yet perfectly fitting for all types of riding. Dress boots are particularly suited for top level dressage, formal fox hunts, Eventing, show jumping and pleasure riding.

 

DRESSAGE BOOTS

 

Dressage boots are more often used at the upper levels of Dressage. The Dressage boot is built slanted more forward than the Dress boot and has stiffened side panels. The back is held upright with a nylon stay. This almost eliminates the amount of “drop” the boot will have at the ankle, so when measuring for a Dressage boot, extra height is not generally added.

 

HUNT BOOTS

 

Hunt boots are often worn by serious members of a hunt. They are dress boots in style, made in black leather with an upper cuff that is traditionally brown leather.

 

 

 

FIELD BOOTS
Field boots have universal appeal because of their ease of fit and good ankle support. Field boots have laced fronts and punched or plain toe caps. They can be cuff lined, three-quarter or fully lined. Many have full zippers down the back and gussets at the top. Field boots can be worn at the lower levels of dressage, for hunters and jumpers, and in the hunt field.

 

Here are some Disciplines with the generally accepted choice of boot style:

 

HUNTER/JUMPER 
Field Boots are traditionally used for schooling and competition by the Hunter/Jumper rider.

DRESSAGE 
Field or Standard Dress boots are seen at the lower levels, and the European-style Dress or Dressage boots with a stiffened back are seen at higher levels.
 
FOX HUNTING
The formal requirement is usually for “high black boots”. You will probably see a fairly equal split between Field and Dress boots.

EVENTING 
What is generally seen:
 
DRESSAGE TEST
 a. Tests and Horse Trials (Introductory through Pre-Novice)
Boots—black, brown, field, Jodhpur or a black or brown full grain smooth leather leg piece and matching leather boots. Chaps and/or half-chaps are not allowed.
 
Dress boots are seen at the higher levels and Field at lower levels.
 
b. Horse Trials —Two Day & Three Day Events. Boots—preferably black dress or a black full grain leather leg piece and matching leather boot. Chaps and half-chaps are not allowed.

Black Dress boots are the most commonly seen and at the Advanced levels, the more formal European-style dress boots with stiffened back stays will be seen.
 
CROSS-COUNTRY TEST 
Boots—black, brown, field, Jodhpur or a black or brown full grain smooth leather leg piece and matching leather boots. Chaps or half-chaps are not allowed.

You will predominantly see black Field boots out on the Cross-Country course.
 
JUMPING TEST
Boots—black, brown, field, jodhpur or a black or brown full grain smooth leather leg piece and matching leather boots. Chaps or half-chaps are not allowed.

You will predominantly see black Field boots in the jumping ring.