It’s not uncommon to spend upwards of ten hours per day in riding gear when one’s life revolves around horses. While we admire those who elect to wear a more polished, street style expression of the equestrian flair, we are more likely to be caught at the local bank, grocery, or Starbucks in stained breeches, slobbered sleeves, and scuffed boots. There is only so much time in the day, so when we leave the barn to run errands or meet a friend for lunch, the chance of a pit stop to shower and change is slim.
However, as the seasons grow warmer, the quotidian uniform of uncomfortably sweaty, knee-high socks beneath a pair of tall boots becomes increasingly stifling. Though we might not have time for a thorough costume change, this spring we will peel off our stockings, kick off our boots, and slip on a pair of comfy kicks when rushing out of the barn for a spin about town. But we’re not talking about our tattered go-to sneakers. Riding apparel has become infinitely more chic over the past several years, and we see no reason for our footwear to lag behind.
Of course, our post-ride shoe selection needs to offer the same soft, supple, yet durable material that we look for in our tack, must be easy to slip on and even easier to remove, and shouldn’t look entirely out of place in our farm-friendly, head-to-toe getup.
In doing our research (which seemed a lot like shopping), we were delighted to see that Danielle Levine, the brainchild behind the cultivated and sharp retail venue Kaval, took to this approach for the presentation of breeches on her website. In addition to the traditional riding boot, she accessorizes high-end breeches with a simple mule as a way to demonstrate the fit, length, and detail of a pant’s contour below the knee. We were immediately drawn to the slide-on-shoe’s elegant look, and the practical reality that by swapping out our footwear Mr. Rogers’-style, our worn out feet could breathe again.
With this in mind — and as a nod to our friend Danielle — we offer up our favorite post-barn boot alternatives that will surely put a spring in your step, and add some ritz to your rags.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF KAVAL
The Moroccan babouche-inspired slipper is having a moment, and while the shoe is not structured, the soft leather and breathability are perfect for running errands that don’t require actual running.
Thank goodness for Georgia Hobart’s quest for the perfect, feathery flat! These no-break-in-necessary boat flats come in a variety of styles and colors, prompting us to purchase more than one pair.
Soludos has taken the classic espadrille and added a dose of whimsy, as well as options in sneaker, platform, wedge, mule, and sandal form.
“Obsessed with these shoes. Well made, comfortable and go well with everything. Great transitional shoes between seasons where you don’t quite want to wear a sandal, but it’s not cold enough for boots.” — five stars from a satisfied customer.
Classic Moccasin – $198
This signature driving shoe is soft as butter, molds to the foot, and like horses, comes with fun names like Poppy, Sky, and Lemon Zest.