How to Put on Riding Boots


There seems to be an art to putting on riding boots--like field or dress boots--without flopping around the room with your boot half off. All it takes is practice. Riding boots have tall shafts that go up your calf to just under your knee and are supposed to be very form-fitting, even a little uncomfortably tight when you first purchase them (tightness is supposed to relax after breaking in). Since the boots have this tall, tight-fitting shaft, it takes some preparation and special equipment to pull them on.

Things You'll Need

  • Baby powder
  • Boot hooks
  • Boot jack or helper
  • Loosen the laces of the boots before you start pulling them on. If you don't, your foot could get stuck in the ankle area of the boot.

  • Shake some baby powder into the shaft of the boot to help the boots slide over your legs. There also are some products available from tack retailers that help you pull boots on.

  • Locate the nylon tabs on the inside of the boot and insert the boot hooks into the tabs. Some boot hooks have a curvature to the hook, so insert the boot hooks to follow the curve of the boot. This helps the boot hooks come out of the tabs when you have the boots all the way on.

  • Slip your foot in the top of the boot and start drawing the boot up with the hooks. Be careful when your foot reaches the ankle area; this is where a lot of people get stuck. If you do get your foot stuck, have your helper pull off the boot or use your boot jack to get the boot off, and then try again. You may also need to loosen the laces some more.

  • Pull the boot hooks out of the tabs by rotating them forward and letting the hooks slip out of the tabs.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you find you're in a situation where you've lost your boot hooks or don't have any, two hoof picks work almost as well.
  • Depending on the shape of your legs, you may not be able to get on your boots no matter how much baby powder you use or how hard you tug on the boot hooks. In this case, you may need to have zippers installed on the back or inside of the boots by a cobbler.

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