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A riding boot is a boot made to be used for horse riding. The classic boot comes high enough up the leg to prevent the leathers of the saddle from pinching the leg of the rider, has a sturdy toe to protect the rider's foot when on the ground[citation needed] and has a distinct heel to prevent the foot from sliding through the stirrup. The sole is smooth or lightly textured to avoid being caught on the tread of the stirrup in the event of a fall.

The modern riding boot is relatively low-heeled, with a heel of less than one inch, though historically a higher heel was common, as it has always been critically important for riding boots to prevent the foot from slipping through the stirrup. Today, only some styles of cowboy boot retain a higher heel than other modern riding boots.

Boot hooks may be required to pull on some riding boots, and a boot jack is often helpful when removing them

Traditionally, English riding boots are made of s

Traditionally, English riding boots are made of smooth leather, usually cowhide, or occasionally pigskin, and most show boots remain thus due to the classic look. However, synthetic leather, vinyl and other materials are becoming more common. Quality of leather varies, with softer, finer-quality increasing the value of the boot. For formal wear, patent leather is occasionally seen, particularly in jodhpur boots designed for saddle seat horse show classes held after 6:00 pm, when formal attire may be worn in certain types of competition.

For casual riding, riders often wear well-worn show boots, but also may take advantage of new boot designs modeled after the athletic shoe or hiking boot that have been created, using space age synthetics and breathable materials to create what essentially is a "tennis shoe with a heel."[citation needed]

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