Safety riding boots explained by Nico Katan.

As the manufacturer of Equitector safety riding boots, I am frequently questioned by fellow riders about the safety aspects of steel toe capped riding boots and when I ask their about their opinion, their first reaction mostly is;
" Oh no, I have heard so many rumours about accidents with that type of boot. They chop your toes off". Unfortunately there is truth in these rumours.

Few footwear designers are involved in equestrian activities and therefore are unlikely to familiar with the type of exposure to risk we riders are likely to encounter.

Under safety legislation all safety footwear including steel toe capped riding boots must be CE marked and licensed. In order to achieve such status boots need to pass about 30 rigorous tests. But most riding boot manufacturers who produced safety products in the past, are unfamiliar with safety matters and did not feel the need for compliance with the regulations. For that reason several safety riding boots which were substandard by design, entered the market.

Most designers felt, incorrectly so, that by simply inserting a steel toe cap in their conventional riding boot was sufficient to give the rider adequate foot protection.

Protective toe cap compartment.

For example if an accident occurs on firm ground, it will be the floor that supports the toecap. When a person is accidentally trodden on, the steel toecap will take the impact firstly. This cap is strong enough to withstand weights of at least a 1000 kilo, which in excess of the weight of any horse. Thereafter the bottom edge of the cap will compress the sole itself due to the pressure from above after which, it is the concrete floor that will withstand the remainder of the impact.
No problem so far. The boot has done its job and the foot has been protected.

However on soft ground such as a field, manage, deep litter bed etc, it is another matter altogether.

If the sole construction is insufficient in strength and rigidity, the edge of the steel toecap will under weight of the impact, press through the sole into the ground.
The inner sole will be lifted towards the ceiling of the steel toecap taking your foot with it.
As a consequence your toes will be squashed against the ceiling inside the steel toecap.

toe compartment of an substandard product

toe compartment of Equitector

As demonstrated in the left picture, merely the pressure of your thumbs is sufficient to reduce the internal height of the protective toe compartment by more than 50 %.
One shudders to think what would happen during an encounter with a weighty horse.

It is for that reason that in the past so many accidents have taken place with safety riding boots. In comparison, the Equitector product (right picture) has been designed to withstand this type of accident and their products have enjoyed a 10 year unblemished safety record.

Fortunately most substandard products are now no longer available on the market but just to be sure that you are purchasing an up to standard and safe product, it is important that you check that the product is CE marked and that the boot itself is marked with the safety standard BS EN345 or BS EN346.
Only products with these markings have been independently tested and therefore can be relied upon to be safe.

Product descriptions in mail order catalogues or websites or on the shoe box it self, making claims that the product meets European legislation or that the toecap passes EN344 and any other variations, with regret, cannot be relied upon.

Properly designed and CE marked safety riding boots will give riders sufficient foot protection and there is every reason for consumers to have confidence in such a products.

the Field Master Jodhpur Boot

the Prairie Master

Equiworld.Com Copyright Equiworld 2005. Equiworld is a registered trademark in the UK and/or other countries. Equiworld, Hayfield, Aberdeen, Scotland, AB15 8BB

To submit equestrian news items to Equiworld please visit,

To submit links to horse web sites please visit,

Updated: October 2005.