With a durable UltraShock lining, the Professionals Choice Equine Ballistic is a best choice for anyone looking for the best hoof boots. It helps guard and stabilize the entire hoof it’s covering. This boot comes stocked with a correct band and heel bulb for maximum comfort. What’s more? The no-turn soft knob on the boot restricts excessive movement, especially spinning, on slippery surfaces. If you ask us, the comfortable and Cdurable form-fitting design of this boot are hard to beat, even at a best price.
The Cavallo Simple Hoof Boot is a step ahead from the rest of the picks. Because of the high price, you can expect durable and unmatched design deliverance from these best boots. It comes with all-terrain feet protection which is also simple to put on and remove. The outsole helps restrict pressure buildup for a barefoot horse, while it feels comfortable enough to resist further injuries. This model of Cavallo gives you complete protection for your horse with high-quality durability.
There’s much to say about the Tough 1 Hoof Saver Boot. The affordable cost and dry material make all the difference. These are the best boots for horses with sweaty feet. It’s also best for treating horses with abscesses as it absorbs all the moisture and keeps the hooves dry and snug. Most hooves are well-protected with wraps, but often slip away with incorrect boots. Not anymore. With these equestrian boots, the wrapping around the hooves stay intact and do not wear through.
A Little Background
Hoof boots, used instead of the standard horseshoes, have become extremely popular for trail riding. They offer incredible hoof protection for a barefoot equine. That said, hoof boots are best used for all kinds of horseriding purposes including for parades, enduring riding, or for police use. The focus is to protect your equine’s hoofs from walking on hard floors such as concrete pavements. Many use them as a backup, while many use them as a safe and efficient barefoot hoof protection for long-term stability.
If you’ve read about farriers and what they do, you should know that the trimming and balancing of an equine’s hooves are very important. That said, a hoof boot also comes in handy when a farrier isn’t around. This means you can protect your equine’s hooves from any more damage for riding, using hoof boots as an efficient makeshift for horseshoes. Horseriding shoes go through phases of durability testing to put with all riding disciplines, especially for endurance riding and trail riding. On the other hand, transitioning from shod to unshod riding also requires the use of hoof boots, or in case your equine decides to throw out a shoe before, during, or after riding. (1)
The use of them in the winter months is also extremely popular. The earth’s surface during the winter season is bound to get slippery. So a hoof boot is specifically studded to prevent slipping on a slippery surface. The stiff and thick sole of a hoof boot make it impossible for an equine to lose his or her balance. It also prevents temporary bruising of the hoof, in case the equine has sensitive hooves.
One similar study proved that hoof boots have a direct impact on a horse’s stride, walking pace, and toe extension during walking. (2)
Most durable boots for equines are come with studded screws for extra protection against slippery surfaces. The soles are fitted with heavy and stubby screws to protect against injuries as well as slipping. That said, a flexible boot however can puncture a hoof or bruise the sole of the boot. For this, veterinary medicine is needed. For wounded hooves, veterinary professionals advise the use of hoof boots to prevent further bruising. You can have the studding hardened or softened, based on what’s right for your horse’s condition.
The sole and material of a boot provides protection against the environment. It keeps the injured area clean and is extremely useful for horses who are unable to fit themselves in a standard horseshoe. When you want a particular kind of medicine, such as a poultice, to come in contact with your equine’s hoof, the use of a hoof boot is important. Sometimes, an equine may be unable to fit into a horseshoe because of disease or laminitis. In such as case, your horse’s hooves will respond well to the best hoof boots rather than a horseshoe for faster recovery. (3)
Lastly, the best hoof boots are those that are kept on horses for a short period of time. They are used only when needed for riding or for medicinal purposes. It’s important that you remove the equine boots as soon as you’re finished riding. If not, it can cause abrasions, swelling, or stiffness in the hooves which then required periodic cleaning and replacing. If you wish to keep the hoof boots on for a longer period of time, consult with your equine’s veterinarian immediately.
How We Picked
To help you find out which out of the many exciting models of hoof boot is the best for your horse and also the most efficient and easiest to use, let’s look at the following features.
Material: The most common boots material for hooves are leather or synthetic materials. Synthetic materials include high-denier nylon which offer durability, lightweight form, and flexibility. Leather, on the other hand, offers a more sophisticated yet durable look. It’s more expensive than nylon and only uses a suitable leather cleaner for wiping.
Fastening mechanism: Look for the kind of footwear that fits your horse comfortably. And for that to happen, the hoof boot must offer a stable fastening system. It generally features a strap system, adjustable yet sturdy, that holds the boot secure. Look for Velcro strap closures for a durable and strong fit. Without a fastening system this accurate, the hoof boot is likely to slide off during activity. So look for a product that secures tightly and closely around the hooves, especially on the front of the hooves. Basic but durable boots offer a fastening system on the front rather than the rear end of the boot. This is generally followed by an adjustable clamp that allows you to loosen or tighten the grip based on the right size.
Sole: The sole of any boots varies in thickness as well as tread pattern. This is because the right thickness and pattern for a horse is only determined based on the horse’s hooves size. Some horses may find lightweight soles comfortable, while some extremely thick and stiff. That said, if your horse is riding on a flat and non-slippery surface, a thin sole will work. It also helps when you want your horse to ride with you for a long period of time.
Similarly, a thick and heavyduty boot is best for uneven and concrete surfaces. Plus, they’re best for balancing against slippery and wet surfaces. If you choose heavyweight soles, you also need to consider the boots’s break-in time period. Not all equine boots is easy to break-in, especially when your horse has an injury. Discussing this aspect with your farrier before purchasing a heavyweight sole is best.
The center of a horse’s hoof is sometimes too sensitive to withstand a hard sole core. It may be possible that your horse might feel uncomfortable to walk for even a short period of time if the breakover period of a hoof boot is too long. Hence, choosing the lightest sole before jumping to any concrete solution is essential. Unless you have discussed the use of heavyweight soles with your farrier.
Flexibility: A thick sole increases the lifespan of any boots it is designed for. However, the science has it that the thicker the sole, the higher the distance between the ground and the hoof. This has a direct impact on the sole’s breakover, which also affects flexibility.
If the sole is inflexible, it can cause imbalance and instability on both the ground as well as the center of the hooves. This also leads to lack of proper conforming while there’s no proper movement between the sole of the boot and the hoof. If you’re purchasing a stiff sole, it is less likely to flex. The plastic material covering the inner shell of the sole allows the hooves to slide in further causing more damage to the sole than needed.
The solution to this problem is opting for heavyweight yet flexible soles. Or opting for a deformable pad that reduces friction. A deformable pad is only suitable for lightweight and thin soles. As in a thick sole, it increases the distance between the ground and the hoof, which exerts pressure on the horse’s limbs.
Our Best Pick
The Professionals Choice Equine Ballistic is a reliable product featured-packed with a durable material and flexible sole. It does exactly what is expected from it. Your horse will face no issues turning around in these, as it doesn’t slip or twist easily. The Velcro strap offers a tight fit and the color too adds to the appearance of the boot perfectly. You can pair these best hoof boots with other accessories such as a saddle pad for extra comfort. It’s that versatile and efficient when you need it to be.
Flaws but Not Dealbreakers
This pick does serve a bad note in terms of sizing. The boot runs a bit smaller than normal sizing charts. However, after taking correct hoof measurement of your horse and buying a size smaller than usual might help correct this drawback. For some it may also be bigger than expected.
Our Best Step-up Pick
The newly designed and upgraded Cavallo Simple Hoof Boot gives you genuine leather construction which is both flexible and hard to crack. It comes in a simple and varied size, to suit all breeds. Plus, the mid-sole is recessed to aid rehabilitation as much as take the load off of your horse’s feet. The contracted heels and coated sole offer injury protection for medicinal use. So if your horse is still struggling with laminitis or any other disease, these are the best boots for him.
The bottom line is that these boots deliver crisp and trustworthy results to look forward to. With minimal maintenance and care needed, you would definitely buy these again if need be.
Our Best Budget Pick
The Tough 1 Hoof Saver Boot is a life-saver for many buyers. This comfortable triple-layered saver boot is impressive. It holds all kinds of medication and cushions the foot for better support. You can buy these boots as your go-to choice for whenever your horse is under distress. It has excellent therapeutic properties that are hard to find on the market. And it looks and is easy to maintain for many months. The Velcro strap lasts for a best amount of time before it needs to be replaced again. So using these best boots for a year seems just about right for you.
Best Pick for Therapeutic Relief
The EasyCare Easyboot Cloud Hoof Boot is the easiest and most efficient of boots for horses with laminitis. It is a contact easy boot which means it prevents the accumulation of dirt and debris as much as it helps reduce recovery time after surgery. It features a Cordura upper and rounded design to boost safety and cushioning. While the EVA standard pad is closed and removable for a more form-fitting fit. Most boots with a padded area lack proper close cushioning which these boots most definitely offer. So your horse can rest easy, and so can you for complete feet protection and mobility.
Best Pick for Light Use
Intended for walking and stable use, the EasyCare Easyboot Rx Therapy Boot offers relief from injuries, stiffness, and soreness. Even though it can be used as a medicinal boot, it is the best pick horses who spend most of their time trailering. The fit is easy to put on and remove. The sole is rubberized for better breathability, while allowing enough air circulation for resisting dirt and debris buildup. This is a best lightweight boot for daily use. The hook-and-loop closure is best for small to large hooves. So if your horse is unable to tolerate standing on hard surfaces for long, go for this one.
Best Pick for Heavy Use
Another stellar model of the Cavallo is the Trek Regular Hoof Boot. It offers all-terrain protection for endurance and other types of riding. For horse owners concerned about day-to-day training activities, this pick can withstand heavy use. It features pull tabs, replaceable Velcro closure system, and pro Mesh molded TPU upper for best resistance. Best for all kinds of terrain including slippery and wet surfaces, these are some of the best boots for horses. You can see its effectiveness in its honeycomb upper design which reduces weight while minimizing abrasions. If you ask us- your horse can just slip in and out of the boot without feeling any strain.
Best Pick for Slippery Surfaces
If you’re taking your horse out in the winter season, you need the Cavallo Sport Hoof Boot. It is available in varied sizes and is a simple, but effective terrain boot. It comes with a reflective inner and outer shell for better balance and stability on slippery surfaces. While the heel skid offers the best maneuverability on hard and smooth surfaces. The fact that it’s much narrower than previous models make these the best boots for avoid slips and falls. And you can gain more control over your horse’s direction when you’re riding.
Best Pick for Injury Protection
The Tough 1 Hoof Guard Boot has enough features to keep you stress-free for long. Caring for your horse during a limb or hooves disease can get both messy and difficult. But with these best boots, your troubles will seem much less distressing. The molded polyester rubber is backed by an extra cushiony sole for maximum support. While the durable nylon straps fit securely around the feet. Locking in any medication or wrapping for faster recovery. The soles look strappy as well as comfortable. Your horse will feel comfortable and well-rested in these boots.
Best Pick for Trekking
Taking your horse for a backpacking trip or for a trek? As much as you need best running shoes, your horse needs the Cavallo Trek Slim Sole Boot. Why settle for something when you can buy a durable, tread-patterned boot for your equine? It comes with patented, yet easy-to-find Velcro straps which is an excellent closure system to rely on in this market. The pro Mesh molded upper offers breathability, and to our surprise, makes a good lightweight boot. Light handling is important during trekking so that your horse doesn’t feel clustered and sweater in the feet.
Best Pick for Stalls
Our last pick up for grabs is the Woof Wear Medical Hoof Boot. It’s highly recommended by veterinarians for its exclusive Kevlar interior design. Supported by a diagonal zipper which restricts excess mobility, your horse needs this for general wear and tear. These are the best boots for stall use to promote air circulation and healing after a long and tiring day. However, it’s strictly not intended for heavy use. But it’s best for a light turnout or walk through the pasture.
Despite the competition, we are glad with the best hoof boots on the list. They are durable, fit comfortably, and keep your horse’s feet out of harm’s way after riding. Our reviewing and testing showed that hoof boots are best when able to withstand wear and tear, heat, moisture, and other abuse when worn on both hard and smooth surfaces. Plus, they’re backed by good material such as leather or high-denier nylon for better cushioning response and traction. These best picks are worth counting on when you want to find something that helps your horse lead a better life. And so, each of our picks offer incredible results and are a best fit for most horses and riding styles.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Do hoof boots really work?
- They are favored by many trail riders because of the degree of hoof protection and traction they offer. Hooves boots are a good alternative to horseshoes, especially for horses with sensitive hooves or injuries. The best qualities of a boot are cushioning against any hooves injury, puncture, wounds, or common limb or foot pain. Similarly, with a proper sole backing the boots, a hoof boot can have therapeutic as well as medicinal benefits.
According to one study, such boots alter the locomotor forces of a horse’s foot. Those who wore such boots for a longer time showed signs of close contact to the ground than horses that were barefoot. This product stretches the deceleration time period of the limbs, which reduces strain and impact. This elongation of deceleration reduces limb impact in horses with injuries, or laminitis, which is a disease most common in horses.
So close to the study, is another clinical finding that concludes that the best hoof boots strengthen and boost limb action to completely dissolve instability. The breakover, which is the phase when the heels take off of the ground, is also affected. With an increased breakover period, the force the horse exerts on the limbs for a great impact is also widely affected. All this, the hoof boots protect and regulate proper foot movement without exert pressure on the limb as well as the rest of the leg. So it can be said that such footwear plays a significant role in improving striding pace, gait, and breakover in horses.
- Is a hoof boot necessary for shod horses?
- For equine competition, the use of the best hoof boots is necessary. And there’s plenty of evidence supporting the practical and therapeutic benefits of such hoof care. However, many owners and riders of shod horses still contest the use of hoof boots. And to shed some more light on the matter, here’s a simple run through of why a hoof boot is absolutely necessary. This is in support with accurate thermography of a horse, which measures the increase in heat buildup, circulation, and inflammation in a horse’s hoof.
Thermographic images were included of a horse’s feet based on endurance riding. These images were captured in two sessions: before the endurance ride and after the ride. Plus, they were captured in barefoot horses.
The thermographic images contain the following measurements:
- The exact temperature above the distal toe, which is at the bottom of the line.
- The exact temperature on the coronary band, which is at the top of the line.
- The overall average temperature right along the line.
Based on the measurements of booted and barefoot horses, the results were astonishing.
The measurements of horses wearing shoes, as compared to hoof bots, were much higher in heat and inflammation. (4)
A sudden change in temperature appeared in shod horses that were unbooted pre and post-ride. This study proves that the use of such boots is necessary for improving hoof performance in endurance training horses.
- How can I measure my horse’s correct boot size?
- Make sure your horse’s hooves are neatly trimmed before taking an accurate measurement for boots. Start measuring from the heel butt line toward the toe. Make sure not to measure the heel bulb.
You can use a string or a metal tape measure for an accurate inch-measurement scale. This determines the length of the hoof. Now for the width, tape across the widest bottom of the hoof, that is in the center of the hoof.
Now take the tape to measure the buttress of the hoof from the toe. The buttress line is at the weight bearing point of a horse’s heel. That’s also where the hoof wall ends and curves in.
This should give you an accurate measurement which you can relate to the hoof boot manufacturer’s sizing chart for the best fit.
Wrapping It Up
Find your best pick for the best boots in this handy guide. Horses have a terrible tendency of injuring their hooves sooner than you’ve realized. Which is why buying the best boots is important now more than ever. Every few months, either replacing or upgrading to a durable boot is necessary to keep your horse active and happy. If so, go for the Professionals Choice Equine Ballistic. It can be used for light and heavy use; for endurance, trail, and horseback riding.