I scoured the web in search of the best horse riding boots on the market. And after researching and reading about close to a hundred different designs from a handful of brands, I’ve come to find that the Scout Paddock from Ariat could possibly be the most functional, purchase-worthy design out there.
Ariat has been dominating the horse riding gear industry since it dropped into the market way back in 1993. The brand’s vision was simple – to provide buyers with riding boots that combined classic aesthetics with modern athletic footwear technology. Taking that into account, it’s easy to see that the company has been able to fulfill this vision when you take a closer look at the Scout Paddock.
Want to learn more about this premium riding boot and three others that came close to the crown? Read on through to discover what I learned through my research.
A Standard Paddock Silhouette
What’s nice about the Ariat Scout Paddock is that they don’t look too outlandish, embellished, or out of this world. So at a glance, it’s easy to tell that they’re more for functional rather than fashionable use. What’s more, the adult category for competitive horse riding prohibits the use of short boots. With that, there’s really no point in Ariat trying to design the Scout to look stylish or different since they’re likely to be used exclusively for pleasure riding.
The boot is made from premium full-grain leather and features a secure lacing system characteristic of classic riding boots. For users with slightly wider or thinner calves, this can be beneficial as strict parameters are followed to guarantee the proper fit of a riding boot.
Premium Materials for Outstanding Performance
Riding boots tend to go through a lot of wear and tear. Muddy terrain and constant flexion can cause serious damage to a boot over time. Buy one that uses all the wrong materials and you could find yourself having to buy a completely new pair not too soon after.
The Scout Paddock uses only the finest materials to come up with a long lasting boot that you can rely on through rain and snow. The full grain leather uppers are particularly thick to give resistance against scuffing. The welts are also made of the same high quality leather. So it becomes a lot easier to flex your toes without the resistance of the material preventing you from maintaining the position.
Much like many of the other boots designed by Ariat, the Scout Paddock also uses the same Duratread outsoles. I’ll talk more about them later, but for the purpose of this section, it’s worth mentioning that they’re exceptionally long lasting. The material was intended for demanding riding conditions, so they’re highly capable of withstanding the damage of daily use on the track and around the stables.
Ankle Support for Worry-Free Riding
Depending on the position of your feet on a set of stirrups, you can achieve greater control and balance. That’s because as a sport, horseback riding requires the use of the entire body with each part working together to optimize performance. For the most part, your feet are responsible for balance, stability, jump height, and control.
Because of this, you should expect to move your ankle around quite a bit throughout the riding experience as this will help you adjust your body. The Scout Paddock helps out with this by providing you the intuitive 4LR technology which is built into the footbed. This tech cushions and stabilizes your feet, giving you the responsiveness you need in order to feel your horse’s motion so you can adjust to meet it in the middle.
Along the sides of the boot, lateral motion control keeps your feet straight and steady. The purpose is to prevent eversion and inversion injuries that commonly occur with softer, pliable boots.
What’s Impressive About the Scout Paddock
- Lacing system helps guarantee the ideal fit, allowing you to adjust the boot to meet your size.
- Premium material is durable and easy to maintain.
- Duratread outsoles give you superb stability especially when transitioning to and from different types of terrain.
- Leather welt allows more flexibility for precise movements.
- 4LR Technology cushions and stabilizes your feet to give you a greater feel of your stirrupts.
- Lateral motion control locks down your foot to prevent injury at the ankle.
What Could Use Some Improvement
- Runs a half to a full size smaller than your true fit.
- Can’t be used for competitive horseback riding.
3 Other Worthy Picks
During my research, I was also able to pinpoint three other designs that almost made the top spot. These riding boots boast a number of features that make them suitable purchases as well, so they’re definitely worth checking out.
Dublin River Tall Equestrian Boot
The Dublin River Tall Equestrian Boot is a premium long boot that features superb durability and hardiness perfect for rough riders. This boot is made from waterproof leather, preventing moisture and mud from seeping into the material and to your foot. They also incorporate a Touch Tech sole with Positive Stirrup Traction to keep your feet firmly in place all throughout the riding experience.
Inside the boot, a Rider Comfort Sytem brings together a moisture wicking lining, precise heel and arch support, an intuitive cushion layer, and a plush padded heel. This extends comfort and support, allowing you to ride longer minus the aches and pains that come after.
What’s Impressive About the Dublin River Tall Equestrian Boot
- Durable, waterproof material resists damage and moisture to give you a functional boo that lasts longer.
- Positive Stirrup Traction prevents your feet from sliding too far up the stirrup while you ride.
- Rider Comfort System combines a number of features that help keep your feet more comfortable for extended periods of tiem.
- Intuitive footbed design properly supports the arches of the feet and the heels to prevent injury and pain.
What Needs Improvement
- The only means of adjusting the fit relies on the drawstrings along the top edge of the boot opening which can be less than efficient.
- Pretty expensive, costing up to twice the price of the Scout Paddock.
Ariat Heritage Contour Field Zip Tall Riding Boot
Another great pick from Ariat is the Heritage Contour Field Zip Tall Riding Boot. Sleek and sophisticated, this long boot is made from premium full-grain leather and is ideal for use during competitive riding.
Much like other Ariat boots designed for riding, this particular design boasts the four layer rebound system which adds comfort, support, and feel so you can optimize the way you control your horse. Along the front of the boot, a small section dedicated to a lacing system lets you adjust the tightness around the ankles. This makes for a more secure, stable fit to meet your needs.
What’s Impressive About the Ariat Heritage Contour Field Zip Tall Riding Boot
- Made from high quality materials that promise long years of use with minimal signs of wear and tear.
- Tighter fit system means the boot leaves little room for awkward spaces so it really feels like a second skin.
- Elasticized panel on the outer sides of either boot provides greater flexibility which is often uncommon with tall boots.
- 4LR footbed improves comfort, stability, and support.
- Duratread outsoles are resilient and reliable, giving you a confident step on the ranch and the track.
What Needs Improvement
- Price is exceptionally steep, so unless you’ve got a lot of extra to spare, it might not be a practical choice.
- Leather is particularly soft, which could be a problem in terms of support.
Saxon Equileather Zip Front Boots
Zip front boots are often the boot of choice for pleasure riding because they’re easier to wear. These Equileather Zip Front Boots are a common favorite for people who want a reliable, low maintenance, everyday riding boot they can use around the ranch. The Equileather material is very impressive, allowing you to keep the boots free of mud and moisture with nothing more than a wipe here and there.
The materials are especially durable, and the rubber sole can work great against wear and tear when walking around challenging terrain. The only issue is that the rubber material might not be ideal for use on a stirrup as they can snag and wear out the treads pretty easily.
What’s Impressive About the Saxon Equileather Zip Front Boots
- Equileather material is easy to clean and maintain.
- Zip front closure makes donning and doffing the boots especially easy.
- Durable construction holds up well against the wear and tear of everyday use around the ranch.
- Very reasonably priced compared to a lot of other riding boots on the market.
What Needs Improvement
- Soles might not be ideal for use on stirrups.
- Zip closure means you won’t be able to adjust the fit to meet your specific foot and leg size.
The Bottom Line
The Ariat Scout Paddock is a riding boot that really just covers all the aspects that you might look for in a riding companion. Of course, you might not be able to use it for competitive purposes, but it does pack a solid punch in terms of being a functional footwear choice. All that taken into account, it becomes really easy to recommend the Scout Paddosk to anyone in search of a worthy riding boot investment.
I do want to say though that the Dublin River Tall Boot, the Ariat Heritage Contour Field Zip Tall Boot, and the Saxon Equileather Zip Front Boot are all solid picks as well. So while they might have a few design flaws here and there, they’re still worth checking out.