An Equestrian's Guide to Boot Socks
Because there are just too many choices!
A very merry Christmas morning last year involved two pairs of new socks: a pair of Foothuggies Riding Boot Socks with the red eventer graphic on the side and a pair of Nobel Outfitters Ultimate Boot Socks in black and white. As all equestrians know, socks are one of the greatest presents anyone can give and we go through them like CRAZY! Being someone who had predominately ridden in cheap socks bought at places like Wal-Mart or Target up to this point, I was more than thrilled to find actual riding socks under the tree!
Since then, I have amassed quite the collection between my own purchases at Mary's Tack and Feed, San Diego Saddlery, and those I have received as gifts. While I am certainly no expert and haven't tried every pair of socks under the sun, I want to pass my experience on to others who may feel a bit lost when looking at the hundreds of different variations and styles of riding socks on the market today.
I'll start with a list of my requirements when looking to add to my boot sock collection:
- Material well suited for physical activity and will stretch to fit my "full" calves
- Additional padding over the Achilles tendon where I am most prone to blisters
- Arch support, bonus points for socks designated with left and right for optimum support
- A well-padded foot for comfort, but a slim calf to fit under my tall boots
And there you have it! I prefer knee-high socks since every crew sock I've ever tried has just fallen down and bunched in my boot. One other variation of boot socks that will be missing in this review are the ones resembling Dreamers n' Schemers since the designs stretch out when pulled over my calves and often feel restrictive due to the rigidity of the material. I know they are very popular in the equestrian community, but they are just not for me!
Without further ado, here is my lineup of my favorite boot socks.
#5. Lettia Collection
While there is nothing that I dislike about these socks, there is nothing I particularly enjoy either. The front of the calf is a lighter knit which provides air flow, they are a really nice height and adequately stretchy, with nice arch support and padding where you need it most. The sock can get a little bunchy in the foot, but that is my only complaint. While writing this I'm not sure why they are last on my list, but I just feel indifferent toward them.
Strydh socks have a following for a reason. I love the material, the colors are lovely, and they fit my feet perfectly. They have great arch support, padding, and are the thinnest socks I have so they fit perfectly under boots. However, these socks are nearly ruined for me since they barely go over the widest part of my calf. They are super short on me and a bit too tight on the upper seam. I still wear them with my Smartpak Piper silicone full seat breeches since they happen to end at the exact same place as the silicone does and it allows for a less bulky fit. If it weren't for those breeches, I think these would end up at the back of my drawer. If you have a slim or medium size calf, these are great socks! If not, I would recommend passing them up.
I struggled with where to put these socks since they are one of my favorite pairs. There is one caveat however, they only come in men's sizes! I wish I still had the tag because I thought I was buying the right size socks for my feet, but I can't seem to find them in women's sizes online or in stores. They are the perfect calf height and the ribbed material offers mild compression in the calf which also keeps the socks from shifting around. The arch support is always a welcomed feature and it has the perfect amount of padding without feeling bulky, except for when it comes to the toe area. I suspect the oversized foot is due to the fact that they are probably men's socks, but I love the calf so much that I deal with a little extra fabric swimming around in my boots. They keep you warm in the winter and aren't a hindrance in the summer months. If they came out with a women's variation of the sock, I would definitely boost them up to the #2 spot!
#2. Noble Outfitters
If you are looking for comfort on a budget, these are the socks for you! I own a pair of both the Best Dang and Extreme Soft boot socks and love them both. The Best dang sock does offer a bit more bang for your buck with right and left arch support but don't sacrifice the comfort of the Extreme Soft variation. My only complaint is that they don't hold up very well. After only a few uses the Achilles tendon area of the sock was pilling. I have had the same pair of socks for over a year and wear them regularly so it's not extreme enough to cause me to throw them away, there is just a big difference in quality between these socks and the others on this list. However, they are a good value for the lower price point and still some of my favorites since the comfort of the material is unmatched.
I could go on for days about why FootHuggies are the ultimate boot socks, but I'll just give a quick summary. The foot is a perfect fit with arch support customized to your right and left feet. There is padding not only along the foot and the Achilles tendon, but also along the entire inside of your calf. Despite the extra padding, these are a slimmer fit than most socks I own, and they even came out with a new thin version for those who want a closer contact with their boot. The outer calf has a looser knit material that allows air flow and the toe seam has been moved up the foot so it doesn't rub. I can wear these socks for 10 hours and forget that I even have them on! My only problem with these socks is that I have to choose a discipline to display on the side since I ride just about all of them!
They have recently come out with more generalized designs to address even that minor conundrum and have incorporated crystals into their designs! I hear that you can even order custom crystal monograms on the top of the socks. Also, if you have a company you can bulk order completely custom socks to gift or sell. These socks are worth every penny of the slightly higher price tag and are the top item on every single one of my birthday and Christmas lists!
I hope this was helpful to those of you who are overwhelmed by the variety of options when it comes to choosing socks either for yourself or the equestrian in your life! Happy shopping!