Do I Need Half Chaps or Tall Boots? What is the Difference?

17 Mar
Half chaps or Tall Boots? Tall Boots or Half Chaps?  Its a question we are asked all the time. Whether you decide to wear half chaps or a pair of tall boots it usually comes down to two things: where you are wearing them and personal preference! Let us break it down for you to help you pick out what riding footwear would be best for you and you riding lifestyle!

Half Chaps
Ariat Breeze

Ariat Breeze Half Chap

Let’s go over Half Chaps first! Many riders use half chaps for everyday schooling and for more informal events!

Half chaps are a leg piece worn over a pair of paddock boots that wrap around the shin and calf. They go up to the knee and are worn as an alternative to tall boots.

Both Tall boots and half chaps are used to prevent rubs and chaffing from the stirrup leathers and to help provide extra grip on the saddle.

Half chaps are often easier to fit and are generally not quite as expensive as tall boots making them an attractive option for many casual riders.

putting on half chapTo put on your half chaps there is an elastic stirrup at the bottom that slides over the toe of the boot and settles right in front of the heel of your boot. To fasten the Half Chap around your lower leg there will be either a zipper or velcro closures located at the back (running up and down the back of the calf) or along the outside of the boot (from the ankle bone to the right below the outside of the knee).  Make sure the closures are on the outside.  It won’t be very comfortable for you or your horse if you somehow manage to get the closures on the inside.

Half chaps can come in many different colors, materials and styles but we recommend to pick a pair that are comfortable for you and that match your boot style.  Black and brown are definitely the most traditional and recommended colors.

When you ride, it’s always a good idea to be riding in a boot with a heel so that your feet do not slip through your stirrup irons.  We know that you know to always keep your heels down but just in case, let’s make sure you have a good pair of boots to ride in.  

If you do not have a pair of paddock boots to use with your half chaps you can find a selection of some of our favorite paddock boots here but we definitely recommend having a pair!


Tredstep Deluxe Half Chap

Half Chaps can be made of suede, leather, synthetic washable material or a combination of those materials.

Where the suede and synthetic materials are the most informal, the solid leather half chaps are the most professional looking and would be a better option for smaller schooling shows or clinics. Leather half chaps are made to be worn with matching paddock boots to give the appearance of tall boots without quite the price. They are also a bit easier to fit for riders who have trouble fitting into a standard sized Tall Boot.

So, now that that is as clear as mud let us give you a few options that we love!

artbreezehalfchapThe Ariat Breeze Half Chap is great option for newer riders, schooling, or riding in not so great weather. They are made of a washable, extra soft full grain leather. So, when they get dirty, just throw them in the wash making them perfect for roughing it around the barn or on the trails. The elastic gore back side panel provides glove-like fit. They have a moisture wicking lining great for those hot and sweaty days. They have a contoured skirt over instep for an easy fit over your paddock boots and are available in both chocolate brown and black.



tredstep deluxeThe Tredstep Deluxe Half Chap is about as custom as you can get as you can order the exact size of calf and height that you need!  Based on proven design this full grain leather half chap offers exceptional style and fit. Since it incorporates Tredstep’s exclusive stretch leather panels it is flexibileand comfortable. Comes in black and is available for order in your sizing!



dbchildshalfchapsThe Dublin Suede Half Chap is another great beginner half chap! These suede half chaps fit like custom chaps, but at a fraction of the price! They feature a taller, more form fitting leg with comfortable elasticized leg panels. They have a heavy duty zipper which is hidden from view to give the leg a long, lean appearance with a snap over closure a the bottom. Inner leg reinforced for durability. What’s even better?  They come in a child’s size too!!

ego7lyrahalfchapThe Ego 7 Lyra Half Chap is a sharp, sharp half chap and go perfectly with the Ego 7 Taurus Paddock Boot EGO7 half chaps are crafted of smooth, high quality, Italian leather with an E-tex panel along the calf and double-elastic gusset along the rear zipper for extreme wear-resistance. The full-length elastic band eases fitting and stretches when needed while riding and enhances ventilation and breathability. The E-Tex panel is durable and water resistant to provide extra grip and additional durability while in the saddle. The front elastic design is a smart solution to provide additional freedom of movement, and the extra-strong foot guard ensures a snug fit and flexibility. The Italian design follows the elegant calf silhouette for a comfortable and seductive skin-tight result.

Tall Boots

Ok, so I think we have covered the half chaps on to Tall Boots!

Tall boots are worn largely for more formal events such as shows, clinics, and schooling of if you just prefer the feel of the tall boots. They create a polished look while providing protection from chafing and extra grip on the saddle.


There are tall boots available in all price ranges, from all-weather synthetic boots to fully custom luxurious leather, and all qualities of leather and craftsmanship in between. Some brands provide more options for fit than others, such as slim and wide calves and short and tall heights.

A recent addition to tall boots has been the development of a zipper, which is usually located on the back of the boot. There are also versions of the tall boots without a zipper.  They are a little more fun to get on and off.

pulls and jack

Boot Pulls and Boot Jack

For the boots without the zippers, to get them on there are two pull tabs on the insides of the boots. You will usually need hooks called boot pulls to pull them on. You just slip the metal hook ends through the pull tabs on the inside of the boot and use the plastic or wooden handles to pull them up and onto you foot!!


To get them off it’s VERY helpful to have a boot jack that you can easily slip your heel into for leverage to help get them off.  If you have a super great riding friend you may also be able to get her to pull them off every now and then!


Zipper Tall Boot


Zipper Lubricant

Zip up boots are typically much easier and quicker to get on and off, but it’s a good idea to take care of the zipper. The zippers can wear out eventually and need to be replaced.



We recommend keeping the zippers clear of dirt build up by and lubricating them regularly so that they zip on and off easily without a lot of tugging.

Special extra-thin socks were developed to helps boots fit more snugly and slide on and off easier.  The most popular brand of these thin boot socks are the Zocks by Ovation!

There are two types of tall boots: dress boots and field boots.
field boo

Field Boots


Field boots have the added adjustment of laces on the front of the boot and are typically used for jumping, hunters, and eventing. 

dress boot

Dress Boots


Dress boots do not have the laces down the front and generally have a more square toe, a spanish top and are typically used for Dressage.


At the lower levels of any discipline, whether you wear dress or field boots is not terribly important.


Heel Risers

When purchasing tall boots, the biggest challenge you will run into will be breaking them in. Most will start out very stiff and even uncomfortable. More than likely they will be a bit too tall when you first get them. Most will break in around the ankle, causing the height of the boot to “drop” (also known as “breaking down”) about two inches. It may help to wear heel risers to keep the boots out of the back of your knees until the boots break down a little.


There are so many different Tall Boots out there so we have laid out some of our favorites to help you choose which boots would be best for you!



Ariat V Sport Tall Boot

The Ariat V Sport Tall Boot is elegant, athletic styling come together in this beautifully crafted performance sport boot.

It provides all day stability and comfort while the Duratread outsole provides maximum wear resistance and flexibility.  It has a full-length elasticized panel on the lateral side for a snug fit and a full length back zip system.  These boots are made from a beautiful full-grain leather with oiled leather inner calf panel.  It has full leather lining with a moisture-wicking sock liner. A gorgeous, high, spanish topline and contoured fit through this ankle is the sprinkles on top for this handsome boot!








Equistar All Weather Field Boot

Equistar All Weather Field Boot give you the opportunity to get field boots at an affordable cost! Designed with a very narrow profile in the leg, V style gussets at the top inside of the leg, twin spur rests placed at just the right height, and long-lasting sole system. The Equi-Star Field Boot is made of the finest lead free ‘Leather Look’ material, which provides a soft leather feel with superb wear. The shaft of the boot is cushion lined with Dri-Lex for superior moisture management. The top of the shaft is lined in synthetic leather for a traditional appearance.






Tredstep Donatello Field Boot

The Tredstep Donatello Field Boot is a classically beautiful boot with exceptional fit and comfort for top rate performance. A slim contoured fit is ensured by the rear stretch panel and top gusset. This Tredstep innovative design supports a comfortable flexion of the ankle which reduces the break in time of the boot.


The Donatello is handcrafted using premium full grain nappa leather and supple leather lining. It has a classic European top line, side spur rests, rolled toe cap and swagger tab with a full length heavy duty coil zipper. It is fitted with a molded sport high impact, cushioning footbed with a dry-lex moisture wicking top layer, and a sole that provides stability to reduce foot fatigue. A neatly trimmed ribbed outsole provides balance and stability at all times.Available in foot size Ladies EU 37-42 with Extra Slim, Slim, Regular, Medium or Full calf in Regular or Tall.




Ovation Flex Sport Boot

The Ovation Flex Sport Boot is crafted from very supple soft-touch premium cowhide with a cuff lining of genuine pigskin leather and moisture a wicking lower shaft. The new Flex system pattern design affords the rider the ultimate in movement with full flexion of the ankle area immediately with first wearing.

Added stretch panels on the inside of back zipper add supportive comfort and easy fitting at the calf. Twin side spur rests, classic toe cap styling, and elegant ripple sole add classic detailing at a remarkable price. Available in Ladies 6-10, 11 in Slim, Regular or Wide Calf and Ladies 6-11 (whole sizes only) in XW and XXW calf.




Ego 7 Aries & Ego 7 Orion Dress and Field boot are the closest thing to a custom fit boot without the custom fit price.

field boo

Ego 7 Orion Field Boots

These boots are made from a quality full grain leather and has all the looks and feels of a custom boot. Small details like a stitched toe cap and a Spanish topline make this boot a real head turner!

All EGO7 models have a rear elastic band. This ensures maximum comfort, freedom of movement and a glove-like, made-to-measure fit -and look- to any calf, together with extreme wear resistance and easy care of the innovative E-tex material. E-Tex is a durable synthetic material that provides grip and is waterproof! The E-Tex full-length calf panel protects the inner calf and guarantees a perfect contact with the horse.

Tests show that the E-Tex technical fabric is several times more wear-resistant than leather itself. It ensures the highest resistance to intensive use and wear whilst keeping aesthetic features unaltered. The lining leather is drum dyed-a finishing process without coating or pigmentation, which ensures softness, absorbency and superior durability.

dress boot

Ego 7 Aries Dress Boot

EGO7 riding boots have a cowhide footbed and a 2mm anti-shock insole. A second sole is supplied made from antibacterial polyurethane covered with soft leather for ultimate shock absorption, highly absorbent and breathable. The innovative hand sewn rubber sole features an aggressive profile for a secure grip in the stirrup, while allowing a quick release of the foot in case of a fall. The special rubber sole combines comfort and design.

The light and flexible design reduces the boot weight, which makes them comfortable to wear all day, everyday!

Other key features of the EGO7 Tall Boots are really neat are the stylish spur rest sewn onto the heel counter which is designed to be both functional and stylish, and it has 3 adjustment levels for your spurs to rest. The Ego 7 tall boots use an extra strong zipper, brass snap buttons for the top zipper protector and spur rest and there is a padded leather flap in the back to make  it easier to put on while protecting the zipper.




We hope that helped you to answer the question of half chaps or tall boots?  Tall boots or half chaps?  If not, why not just get both?!  For a full line of boots, half chaps and all the riding apparel you need check out or give us a call at 1-800-506-5644 so we can help you decide on the perfect riding footwear for you!


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