Let’s Discuss: Under the Tall Boots

Every tack store has them somewhere, normally near the cash register where you are most likely to add an impulse buy to your order- and that is, socks.

Oh yes, this is a post about socks.

I’ve never quite understood the whole equestrian sock thing. What is different about these socks? Will they force my heel lower, and make me ride like Allison Springer? Will they fix my turned out toes when jumping? Will their oh-so-cute patterns make my horse believe I’m suddenly some kind of magickal being and not just a so-so adult amateur? I don’t think so.

Allison Springer. I love her.

Allison Springer. I love her.

When I’ve been given pairs of them (typically freebies coming with big purchases like new helmets or tall boots), I’ve found most of them of the slinky variety, and when wearing them with boots, feel like my foot slides around inside the footbed (though it really isn’t, just the sensation). Now I do realize that the slipperiness of the fabric would help with pull-on tall boots- but really, who has pull-on tall boots these days? All hail the zipper!

Which brings me to my next point- socks inside or outside the breeches?

I’m a creature of habit. When I was little, I wore jodphurs with the best of them- and when you wear jods, your socks go underneath, lest they be showing all the time. So when I graduated to tall boots, I kept it that way. Granted, my first set of tall boots were also zippered, but still- the habit went deep.



Once upon a time I was cute AF

Why is it that most people wear their socks on the outside of their breeches? Is this again a function of pull-on tall boots? Or did I go through puberty without learning some key lesson regarding footwear etiquette?

Or you know, no socks. Because water.

Or you know, no socks. Because water.

So in the spirit of silly Fridays and posts about socks.. chime in! Socks in or out? Special socks for riding? What’s your preferred way of padding your paws?

43 thoughts on “Let’s Discuss: Under the Tall Boots

  1. I wear mine out, mostly because all of my breeches have sock bottoms and therefore are most comfortable without the bulk of the sock underneath them. As far as socks go, I have strong opinions. I absolutely HATE those slippery boot socks like Zocks. Hate. Burning passion. Let’s just set them all on fire. I like Bambootz from JoJo Sox, Sock it to Me tall socks, or, if your boots are really tight, Noble Outfitters Peddies.

    • Does the bulk of the sock make the breeches tighter then? I have never heard of the first couple brands- I went to Sock it to Me’s website and am glad no one walked in my office- given the abundance of tightly worn men’s undergarments XD

      • Does it make the BREECHES tighter? No, not with the socks over top. My breeches are all very fitted to the leg, with the sock bottom. It sits very neatly under a sock, which is kind of the whole point of that type of leg (and why I really only buy breeches with a sock bottom). If I put the sock UNDER the breeches then yeah it would likely make the sock bottom feel a bit tight, since that’s not how they’re designed to be worn. Of course, if you’re wearing a bulkier sock your boots will fit a bit tighter than they would with a very thin sock.

        • I wear only sock-bottom breeches and also wear my socks underneath, and I’ve never had a problem with the bottom of the breeches feeling funny. Now, my breeches aren’t all as fitted as yours, but even my smallest/most restrictive pair (a once-undersized pair of Equine Couture wind shell breeches) never felt funny with the sock underneath.

          I can’t stand the feeling of seams on my legs under my boots, so I like the socks on the bottom layer. I also can’t stand when you can see the top of my sock peeking out the top of my boots, so that’s another reason to put them under.

  2. Socks on the outside! My first pair of tall boots were pull-ons, so the socks on the outside helped get them on and off, and the habit stuck. I also find that they keep my breeches from bunching or riding up under my boots, so I always wear socks on the outside, and usually the thin type since my boots fit quite tightly. But I will wear a pair of cushy ankle socks underneath for more cushion on my actual foot.

  3. I put my socks on the outside of my breeches, because I put pants on before socks, LOL. Probably also residual from pull-on tall boots days.

    I wear zocks during the spring/summer because I can’t get my new tall boots on with anything thicker. I have an old SUPER stretched out pair of tall boots I ride in during the winter, so I wear Sock it To Me socks or Noble Outfitters

  4. Over the breeches. Always. Since my rubber boot days. Even if I’ve got old-fashioned, non-trendy velcro-bottomed breeches, I think the socks help compress and smooth all that out for when I zip up my breeches. But I’m not super picky about the socks themselves. Target has a bunch of cute ones. If it’s a little colder, I’ll wear the Sock it to Me socks, maybe even with an athletic sock over the foot. If it’s warmer, the Zocks.

  5. Socks outside. Definitely. I actually DO have a pair of pull on tall boots and it helps. I’m also breaking in a pair of zipper tall boots, but a good sock keeps the zipper from catching, which I appreciate.

    Plus bonus when you’re done wearing boots you can troop around in clogs like some sort of slightly-trendier Victorian British gentleman. As long as you’re wearing sweaty spandex, you might as well act like you meant to.

  6. i kinda love socks. all of ’em, really. but just bc, not really for any functional reason at this point (except in the winter when i have very specific methods and layering techniques lol). the socks i wear most often in non-frigid temperatures are thick wicking ankle height athletic socks, so it’s not really a function of inside or outside the pants.

    • Do the bottoms of the breeches (where the elastic is) not rub your ankles? Or does it overlap some? I’m thinking also of the terrible times when I forgot to bring socks to the barn and so felt bare leather against my ankles- not a pleasant sensation personally!

  7. Wait what, people wear them under breeches? Why is this blowing my mind? I wear them out… because that’s what my first trainer did and so I did it too. To be honest, I’ve never ever questioned it. Back when I was using pull-on tall boots, the slick socks were essential. Now, though, everything has a zipper so I prefer something that’s comfy as priority. In the winter time, I’m know for minimum two pairs of socks: something tall and wooly on the bottom and ankle socks on top because it helps trap the warmth in. I think anyway.

  8. I am a super sensitive soul, and I wear my Target knee socks under my breeches. I hate hate hate the feeling of the knee patch stitching against my legs, or worse yet the standard velcro-closure bottoms that might rub at my ankle. I have yet to find another brand of knee sock that I genuinely like rather than merely tolerate. It’s a problem. In the winter, with my almost-too-tight zip-up boots, I’ll wear a second pair of ankle socks that then go over the breeches/jeans/rain pants: the boots are too big through the foot, but can’t tolerate extra bulk through the ankle/low calf. The ankle socks help compress the pants down & hold them in place. Plus then the foot fits better.

    • Yes!! I am not alone. The velcro thing especially- I think that’s mainly why I continued to wear my socks that way, even though obviously we are in the minority 🙂

  9. Hm. I guess I wear them outside because of the pull-ons I had for a few years. But I also think that sock over breeches helps reduce rubs and the like. I sometimes wear the nylons socks when breaking in a new pair of boots over a pair of crew socks to prevent rubs, but otherwise I don’t use them anymore. I used them every time I wore my pull-ons though to make it easier to get them on and off, and also because I have narrow ankles and there was inevitable rubbing from the bunchy ankles on my pull-ons. Come to think of it, I had a similar issue with my first pair of zip-ups and needed the slippery socks for those too.

  10. Socks on the outside, it helps provide a smooth top layer to the velcro bottom breeches. Also I like cheap socks from target they work great! Also the thin nylon socks can be bought at Target as well for cheap, they are just called dress socks. I still like them under my zip boots because they are custom and they are VERY tight on the calf, creating that leather sock look. Regular socks I wouldn’t be able to pull up the zipper. So the function still exists outside pull on boots.

    • And the velcro against your skin doesn’t bother you?

      I am definitely just a plain jane Target sock girl. I’ve even bought the bags of socks from there- just shows how picky I am 🙂

  11. Outside, I guess as a remnant of pull-on boot days? Also because I put on my breeches before my socks. I’m also incredibly picky about socks in general (like, not just riding socks.. I will only wear one style of UnderArmour socks and God help me if they ever stop making them). I like super thin dress socks from Target or wherever as well, because I hate any type of thick socks. In other words, I’m just a general pain in the ass about all socks, ever.

  12. Nice breeches, socks on top. This way they won’t rub the sensitive little legs, since they are, nice breeches.
    And with the socks on top, they STAY nice. Longer.
    Or get rubbed up so much quicker, in tight fitting boots and barn work after with all sorts of strange things attacking the lower legs 😉

  13. I don’t understand the point of even wearing socks unless they’re crazy fun patterns, and if that’s the case, why would you hide them under your breeches?! But I also only ever have my tall boots on when in the saddle, otherwise I’m in tennis shoes around the barn to properly flaunt the fun.

  14. Socks on top! I like fun socks and they need to be seen!!! Plus if I have Velcro on my pants I just make sure it’s closed and not rubbing- most of the time I don’t have a problem and I do prefer elastic so no worries about Velcro rubs 🙂

    I use to wear cheapo target socks but my toes kept wearing holes through them in only a matter of months (I trim my toenails! I promise!!! I just think my foot is to big for them?) and then my mom gave me the fox socks from Sock It to Me… I’ve been hooked ever since and the best part my toes don’t poke through them and I’ve had a few pairs for a year plus! Also like JoJo Sox and Treadstep. Hate Zocks! And in the winter I usually wear the stretchy wool socks from Costco or Smart Wool. I never double socks up bc I feel like it makes your feet colder bc there is less air circulation and it’s the warm air that keeps your feet warm (which is the theory of why to many layers can be a bad thing but correctly layering clothes is what keeps you warm)

    Oh and side note- Sock it to me just came out with matching underwear so that’s why you’re seeing lots of 1/2 naked men on their website 😎 I may or may not follow them on Instagram…

  15. I wear them under, too! I just wear regular athletic socks or Costco woolly socks when it’s cold. I agree that it feels smoother on my skin, but it also is just the order I always get dressed, so I never really think about it!

  16. On the outside, so people can see how cute they are before you put your boots on 🙂 Haha, I’ve worn mine out since I started wearing tall boots. I don’t remember the reason, that’s just what I was taught to do once I started wearing tall boots. My favorite socks are the plain black Ariat ones, but I wear a lot of different kinds.

  17. My socks are outside, I only wear kerrits & irideon tights tho, no velcro issues here. I’m actually going to a school meeting for my daughter w/ socks out in a couple hours, then going to barn directly after, and I’m sure the other (all non-horse) parents are gonna get a good chuckle out of it.

  18. Pingback: Let’s Discuss: Footwear | A House on a Hill

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