STORY OF: Riding Boots
Jul 16, 2009 - by Monique Montagnese, Contributor
Fashion people love riding boots. Every season they show up somewhere on the runways, and are considered a classic must have. As far as flat practical boots go, riding boots are as chic as it gets.
Men of prominence wore riding boots during the early 1700's, folding over the top for greater leg mobility and creating the classic upper brown band. This turndown of leather allowed the boot to be tighter on the calf and eliminate any gap below your breeches.
Original dress riding boots were worn by jumpers at shows and dressage riders and lack any lacing. These riding boots were closely associated with nobility, causing them to have a high heel (thats where the saying well-healed comes from). Most current riding boots have heels less then one inch.
As menswear as women's wear gained momentum in the 1920's riding boots became trendy and emerged in a more feminine style. As opposed to stark black leather, women wore flat riding boots in fabrics such as silk and suede in muted tan colors. These boots from the 1920's, right, look extremely modern proving riding boots are a classic.
Riding boots have taken on a new type of functionality in recent years with their rubber counterparts. Like Hunter Wellies, but so much more chic and just as comfortable, these riding boot imitators will keep your feet warm and dry without sacrificing any style points. Even classic riding boot manufactures, like Burberry (right) are jumping on this rubber trend.
2008 saw the riding boot transform itself into a diverse range of styles. Hermes sent this white animal skin variation down their Spring runway and Gucci created these thigh high fringe masterpieces that were worn by Rihanna.
Nike has recently created a "space-age" riding boot that combines function and style. Called the Ippeas, Greek for rider, Nike's boot uses leather and synthetic material with has a built in spur. This is a huge departure from the classic riding both aesthetic that has barely changed since the 1700's. These innovated boots were used by horseback riders in the Beijing Olympics, but would look totally at home on the streets as an updated chic sporty version of the classic riding boot.