Leather Vs Non Leather Riding Boots – Which Is Better?

Last Updated on August 18, 2022

Riding boots are a big investment, and the question of leather or non leather riding boots can be somewhat of a conundrum. There are many advantages and disadvantages to both types of riding boots, and you also have many different styles to choose from. Let’s take a look at leather vs non leather riding boots, and figure out what is the right type for you!

Are Non Leather Riding Boots As Good As Leather?

Synthetic, or non leather, riding boots had a terrible reputation in the past. They were regarded as inferior to leather riding boots, in terms of both comfort and quality.

However, in recent years things have changed dramatically due to advances in technology. New developments in the field of synthetic materials mean that non leather riding boots can rival leather boots in terms of comfort, durability, and quality. In fact, some of them are so realistic that you’d be hard pushed to tell that they’re not leather!

Are Non Leather Riding Boots As Good As Leather

When choosing riding boots, there are many factors to take into account as well as whether you want leather or not. Here is how to choose the perfect riding boot for your riding adventures!

  • Comfort

Both leather and synthetic riding boots are comparable in terms of comfort, but this can depend on the type of non leather riding boots you buy. Synthetic materials vary widely in terms of their properties, so look for ones made of a material that is soft and flexible, and able to wick away moisture.

Leather riding boots tend to be very stiff at first, and take a long time to wear in. However, once the breaking-in period is over, you will be rewarded with a pair of boots that is soft, supple, and extremely comfortable.

Synthetic boots take less wearing in and are ideal for infrequent use as they will not become stiff and uncomfortable.

  • Price

Although we’d all like to buy the most expensive pair of boots we can afford, sometimes a pair of boots is not necessarily better just because they cost more! Low-budget boots do not tend to be all that comfortable or hard-wearing, but if you aim for a midrange pair you should be able to find some boots that will last for many years.

If your budget is limited, then you get more for your money when buying synthetic riding boots. Leather is a more expensive material than most synthetic materials, so leather boots will always tend to cost more. However, a good pair of leather boots can withstand many years of use, so they can be a worthwhile investment.

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  • Durability

Riding boots are a big investment, and it stands to reason that you’ll want to buy a pair that lasts for a long time. Although synthetic boots have improved greatly in terms of durability in recent years, you’ll still be hard pressed to find a pair that lasts as long as a good pair of leather boots. Leather boots are also easier to repair, helping to prolong their useful life.

One factor that affects the durability of your boots is what you intend on using them for. Are they just for riding, or for yard work too? Are they likely to get wet and muddy, or will you be able to keep them clean and dry? Considering the amount of money you spend on riding boots, it may be a good idea to invest in a more robust pair of yard boots as well, enabling you to keep your riding boots for their intended purpose.

  • Style Of Riding Boot

Whether you choose long or short riding boots does tend to come down to personal preference. Long riding boots, which come to just below the knee, give better stability to the leg whilst riding, as well as preventing chafing from the stirrup leathers.

Short riding boots, also known as jodhpur boots, are normally worn with half-leg chaps. This combination allows greater flexibility of the lower leg and is often preferred by younger riders.

Boots with laces should be avoided, as these can become entangled in the stirrup leathers.


So, as we have learned, both leather and non leather riding boots have their advantages and disadvantages. Although many people regard leather riding boots as being better, non leather riding boots can also be just as good. When choosing a pair of riding boots you will have many factors to take into consideration, including variables such as how hard wearing the boots needs to be, whether they should be waterproof, and the type of riding activity you intend on using them for.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on leather vs non leather riding boots! Do always stick to leather boots or are you happy with synthetic ones? Perhaps you’ve got some questions about how to choose the perfect pair of boots? Leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you!


Can you use any boots for horse riding?

A specific type of boot should be worn for horseback riding. When riding, your foot will be placed in a stirrup, attached to the saddle. Wearing the wrong type of boots could result in your foot becoming trapped in the stirrup, or sliding through it altogether.

What kind of boots should I wear for horseback riding?

For horseback riding you should wear boots with a smooth sole and small heel. This allows the ball of the foot to be placed on the stirrup, with the heel stopping the foot from sliding through. Avoid boots with a heavy tread which can become stuck inside the stirrup.

What to look for when buying riding boots?

When buying riding boots you should look for a pair that are comfortable, both on the foot and around the calf. The length of the boot is important, as a boot that is too long can chafe on the back of the knee.

Can you wear short boots for horse riding?

Short boots can be worn for horse riding, and many riders prefer this style of boot. Children normally wear short boots when they first learn to ride, and progress onto longer boots when they get older. Short boots can be worn with half chaps to prevent the stirrup leathers from chafing on the calf.