What they are, why we wear them, and our favorite options

Are you new to riding and on a budget? Half chaps are a great way to protect your legs while adhering to the riding dress code at your barn, without spending big bucks on tall boots.

Half chaps are tightly fitted leather, synthetic leather, or suede pieces of fabric that go around the lower half of the leg. They add support and protection to the rider’s lower leg. These help prevent chafing from the stirrup leather and keep your breeches from riding up while you’re in the saddle.

Here’s a quick reference for highly recommended half-chaps:

Brand Style Price Features
Dublin Suede II 2 Carrots
  • Elastic Panel for great fit
  • Durable
  • Available in children’s and adult sizes
Tuff Rider Grippy Grain 1 Carrot
  • Synthetic leather that mimics the look of
  • Tuff Riders best selling boots
  • Great price
  • Machine washable
Ariat Breeze 4 Carrots
  • Full grain leather
  • Reinforced stitching
  • Moisture-wicking layer
Dublin Easy Care Mesh 1 Carrot
  • Mesh exterior perfect for warmer climates
  • Machine washable
  • Lightweight
Ariat Scout- Children’s 2 Carrots
  • Suede inner panel for durability
  • Closures are easy for children to use Classic style
Tredstep Deluxe 5 Carrots
  • Multiple size options for semi-custom fit Full grain leather
  • Professional look
Wide Boot Company Custom 5 carrots
  • Full sized calves
  • Hard to find sizes
  • Semi-custom fit

1 Carrot- ($25-50), 2 Carrots ($50-75), 3 Carrots ($75-100), 4 Carrots ($100-150), 5 Carrots ($150+)

*Note–All of the half-chaps researched are unisex and can be worn by anyone!

Half Chap Basics

What do you wear them with?

Half-chaps should be paired with paddock boots. Paddock boots come in both a lace-up and zip-up option and can range from $35-200+.

If you have weaker ankles like me, I would recommend the lace-up paddock boots since they offer a bit more support and tend to sit a little higher up your ankle. That said, nothing compares to the zip-ups for ease of getting on and off!

How do we wear them?

If I’m wearing my half-chaps for a lesson, I will have tall boot socks over my breeches, then put my feet in the paddock boots, and finally put on my half-chaps.

If you wear spurs, your spurs will be worn over your half-chaps.

Half-chaps should zip up on the outside of your leg to prevent any pinching on your saddle or on your horse. A properly fitted half-chap will fit tightly across your calf and end right below your knee.

Where can you wear them?

Many local circuits allow half-chaps in the show ring at lower levels. Personally, I would recommend you use the half-chaps that look like the top part of show boots for this.

Make sure you check your circuit’s rule book and each individual prize list for dress code specifics.

Half-chaps are not exclusive to the English ring. Western riders also wear half chaps as they offer leg protection no matter your discipline!

Things to consider when trying out half-chaps

Know your measurements!

I’d recommend measuring both the widest part of your calf and the length of your calf from the heel to the back of your knee.

While you may experience some “drop” on a half-chap, it won’t be as extreme as the drop you’d find on a field boot or dress boot. Knowing your ankle measurement can be helpful, but not required.

Try them on locally!

Most large tack stores like State Line Tack or Dover Saddlery will have a variety of half-chaps you can try on. Trying them on allows you to understand how they fit you without relying on internet measurements and hoping for the best.

If you do the budget saving hack of going to try them on in store, but searching for a used or cheaper pair online, I highly recommend you purchase *something* at the store.

A lot of these employees are paid on commission—so make sure you are valuing their time even if you are looking for a lower-cost purchase. Also, many Dover stores have a consignment section, so you can find deals there too!

Half Chap Recommendations

Dublin Suede II Half Chaps

This classic starter half-chap is perfect for children or adults just starting to ride.

dublin half chaps

Click to see them at Amazon

PROS:

  • Generous sizing options
  • High rating for durability
  • Great product for the price
  • Reputable brand
  • Available in Adult and Children sizes

CONS:

  • The black suede can rub off on your breeches, especially in warmer climates.
  • Suede may not be allowed in the show ring
  • Can be really warm, so if you’re in a hot climate—look for another pair!

See them at Amazon

Tuff Rider Grippy Grain Half Chap

These synthetic leather half-chaps will give you the look of a Parlanti-esque field boot without draining your pocket book!

Click to see it at State Line Tack

PROS:

  • Machine washable! What a game changer!
  • As the name suggests, super grippy material to help you feel secure in the saddle
  • Elastic panel for a snug fit.
  • Available in black, brown, and tall!

CONS:

  • The nature of the material will lead to cracking/rubbing off in time
  • Not the right fit if you have a shorter lower leg

See it at State Line Tack

Ariat Breeze Half Chaps

If you’re ready to invest in half-chaps, these will give you years of use and compliment the Ariat Heritage Breeze paddock boots for a sleek look perfect for the local show circuit.

ariat breeze half chap

Click to see them at Amazon

PROS:

  • Everything is reinforced, from the leather that sees the most contact, to stitching points
  • Heavy duty zipper for extra durable wear
  • Don’t require breaking in
  • Larger gore stretch panel to fit more calves

CONS:

  • Are expensive!
  • Zips up the side instead of the back, so may not give the cleanest lines for the show ring

See them at Amazon

Dublin Easy Care Mesh Half Chaps

If you live in a humid climate, these are going to be a life saver in the summer!

Click to see them at State Line Tack

PROS:

  • Super breathable
  • Machine Washable
  • More stretch than a traditional half-chap

CONS:

  • Not as durable as leather or suede
  • Can only use for schooling, hacks, trail rides—not for the show ring

See them at State Line Tack

Tredstep Deluxe

In my personal opinion, this is the closest you can get to custom half-chaps without paying the price of custom half-chaps.

tredstep half chaps

Click to see them at Amazon

PROS:

  • Have you seen the size options?? Multiple widths and heights for every rider!
  • Full grain leather + stretch leather panel for optimal fit
  • Closes top down, so you don’t get that funky popping zipper if you have a too snug fit

CONS:

  • Full leather can stretch after time
  • Reviews mention hard to clean

See it at Amazon

Wide calves?

Wide Boot Company (see Sources)

I just discovered the Wide Boot Company, and for someone whose calves are basically giant squares (seriously, 16” width and 16” height), this company is a life saver!

This women owned company carries half-chaps and field boots in a semi-custom fit. An added bonus? Free shipping to the U.S.

Where to buy them: www.thewidebootcompany.com

Looking for custom?

Millbrook Leathers

If you love their unique wide stability stirrup leathers, you’ll love their fully custom half-chaps! For a true custom fit, I find this company is the best bang for your buck!

Where to buy them: https://millbrookleathers.com/products/custom-half-chaps-choose-your-size-and-color1

Celeris Riding Boots (see Sources)

If you’re wanting to splurge on some truly gorgeous half-chaps, I’d recommend Celeris Riding Boots. Though they are pricey, they have multiple design options and a truly custom fit with multiple measurements taken to ensure a custom half-chap just for you.

Note: These boots are custom made in Portugal and take 12+ weeks for delivery to the U.S. from the time you order.

Where to buy them: https://celerisridingboots.com/product-category/half-chaps/

For those looking for a deal…

Riding is an expensive sport, and if you’re a bargain hunter like me, sometimes paying full price for something you know is going to get rubbed in dirt, grime and who knows what else may hurt your soul a little. Never fear! There are plenty of equestrian consignment shops to help you find the products you love at a cheaper price! Here are the top three I recommend:

Parting Thoughts

On the whole, I’d 100% recommend that you add half-chaps to your riding wardrobe. Not only do they help save your show boots from regular wear and tear, they are also great ways to protect your legs while giving you a polished look in the arena!

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