clothing · fashion

Explain to Me: Equestrian Socks?

I came up through the horse world in a slightly atypical way. I was not your typical barn rat. Not for lack of desire, but rather lack of opportunity. It’s a meandering sort of story I will explain at another time.

Sometimes, that means that I don’t get things that other people take for granted.

Lately, here’s one I’ve been wondering about: equestrian socks. The long thin ones that presumably you wear with breeches.

You know, like these.
I have literally never worn a pair of them in my life. I own two pairs, both acquired through holiday Yankee swaps.Ā 
All my breeches go down to my ankle. I have long-ish legs, so I vary between a long or a regular in breeches, and buy appropriate to brand. (Not that I’ve bought breeches in 5 years, which is another post.) I wear ankle-length athletic socks under those. Then I put on my tall boots or half chaps.
I actually love cute socks, but I’ve never been able to figure out how and why to wear these. Why add another layer? How are you supposed to wear them?
Someone, please, shine some light under this rock I’m currently inhabiting…

20 thoughts on “Explain to Me: Equestrian Socks?

  1. You know, I was watching a little girl demand her mother buy her these socks last night, and I wondered the exact same thing. I wear normal socks under my breeches without issue- what's the secret behind buying expensive 'riding' socks?


  2. They made a lot of sense when everyone still wore pull-on boots. They were slicker and it made it much easier to get your boots on. Otherwise I hate them and I don't wear them at all now that we're in the era of the zip-up. I find the slipperyness annoying, they're too thin in the foot, and they wear out REALLY quickly (either that or I've just got some super pointy toes and heels, because it's literally half a dozen wears before I've poked or worn a hole somewhere). I do like taller socks, although for no real particular reason. I have some extra room in the calf of my brown boots so I can wear knee high socks with no problem. I have less room in the black boots but can still make it work with thinner knee high socks, and sometimes I do just wear crew socks as well. Not regular athletic socks, which I find to be a bit too thick, but medium weight socks.


  3. Alright, I want the socks pictured.

    I will start by saying that I have ridden in a pair of these socks as long as I can remember. I have always preferred them even when I had boots and half chaps- me feet get soooo hot.

    When I had pulls ons I loved how they helped slide the boots on.

    Now that I have my La Mundials I appreciate that they don't add any bulk. I don't ride in ankle socks bc I would get rubs and I don't see the point in layers (ankle sock under boot sock?). My socks don't wear out especially fast. I do have a lot of them. Some have been in circulation well over 3-4 years. šŸ™‚ just depends on preference I think. I personally don't like the bulk of other socks.


  4. I wore them when I had pull on boots. They were a miracle when it came to sliding my boots over my huge calves. Now that I have zips, I threw them all away. The foot is slippery, and wears out. I like athletic style tall socks. The taller the sock, the cleaner my breeches stay.


  5. i'm with ya… i just ride regular socks. tho i did lust after these kinds of socks during my super broke college IHSA days when i got my pull-ons on by using plastic grocery bags as a sock lol (bonus – grocery bags kept your feet super toasty during freezing wintertime northwestern new york shows)


  6. I ride in regular socks and love the look of these but I'm honestly not a fan of them when it comes to personal use. I have a pair that I used with tall boots (worn over the breeches), but like others have explained: these used to help pull-on tall boots slide on easier. Now that most tall boots have zippers, you don't need a slick sock to help them slide on easier. For everyday use I really don't like them. Mine are a pair of Ovations and the fabric, while super thin, does nothing in terms of absorption: it feels like your feet are in a slick wet puddle inside the boots. And I personally like a boot sock with some sort of padding in the foot to prevent rubs from the hems of the breeches themselves or from the top of the boot from having your heels down for hours in the saddle. Thus how I came to own a pair of Noble Equine Best Dang Boot Socks ( They live up to their name. I wear them over tights, under my half chaps for endurance rides and they are AH-MAZING. I tested them at my 50 mile ride. They aren't quite as thin as the trendy boot socks, and while not really adding bulk, they provided just enough protection to keep my shins from developing rubs from the saddle/stirrup; the foot of the socks wicks away moisture so your feet don't feel wet, and the padding around the ball of the foot and heel felt awesome. Didn't affect the fit of none of the shoes I normally wear for riding (running sneakers, Timberland hiking boots, Merrell hiking shoes). I tend to wear these socks when doing rides that are longer than 10 miles and continue to love them. The rest of the time, since I normally ride in sneakers, I ride in very short running socks. When wearing boots, I usually wear ankle-length athletic socks under my breeches just like you do. šŸ™‚


  7. I get wanting them, I really do! I love the colors and the fun of it! I just don't get the practicality. I'm with you, they're awfully expensive for the fun.


  8. Ohhhhhh. Ok, that actually makes more sense.

    (how can they be fashion if they don't even show? do people hang out with them underneath regular sneakers just to show that they have them? I am so not cut out for these things…)


  9. Aha! That makes sense. It really hadn't occurred to me.

    I have incredibly pointy toes, too. I wear through socks all the freaking time. It's annoying.

    I wear knee socks in the winter, usually some kind of Smartwool.


  10. I have absolutely seen people wear them over their breeches! The thought makes my skin crawl. I can't wear socks over pants. They must be under. I even have to put socks on before pants to avoid even the illusion of having them over pants. *shudder*


  11. The only pull on boots I have are my winter ones, which don't have nearly the same snug fit to them, so it's never occurred to me before!

    I didn't think about socks keeping breeches cleaner, either. Hmmmm.


  12. Yes, I feel like I saw a lot of them in IHSA, too!

    I've never done the grocery bags thing, I feel like I'd do anything to keep my feet warm in the winter, though. I imagine Vermont has some very similar winters!


  13. Yes. Yes, they do. Sneakers + breeches + socks. Ideally the socks should not match.

    I definitely found 'em handy with pull-on boots and still-breaking-in zip boots.


  14. I am with you!!! Socks OVER breeches – ain't happening. I don't get the tall sock thing either. I wear regular athletic socks UNDER my breeches. And even when I competed in endurance (16 years), I was picky about good, supportive, cushy athletic socks!


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