How to choose the right stirrup leathers and irons?

Stirrups are an essential part of any horse tack, playing a crucial role in the rider's position and comfort while in the saddle. While stirrups may seem like a simple piece of equipment, they come in various variations to cater to different riding styles and goals.

Horse standing on yard with safety stirrups on saddle


In this comprehensive guide, we will look at stirrup leathers and irons, discussing the different components, materials, sizes, and types available, so you can make a good decision when selecting the best fit for your riding needs.

Understanding stirrup leathers

Stirrup leathers are the leather or nylon straps that connect the stirrup irons to the saddle. They provide stability and support for the rider's feet. It's important to choose the right length and material for your stirrup leathers to ensure a comfortable and secure riding experience.

Length of stirrup leathers

The length of your stirrup leathers depends on your height and riding style. Here are some general guidelines:

Jumping stirrup leathers:

  • Adult: 54" (56" for taller adults, 48" to 52" for shorter adults)
  • Children: 48" (42" for younger children)

Dressage stirrup leathers:

  • Standard: 60"
  • Tall: 62", 64" or 67"
  • Short: 56" or 58"

Types of stirrup leathers

Stirrup leathers come in various materials, each with its own set of advantages and considerations. Let's explore the most common types:

Full leather: traditional stirrup straps made of authentic leather. They are easy to clean and durable, though they may stretch over time. You can also add holes for a custom length.

Nylon lined with leather wrap: stirrup leathers made from nylon webbing wrapped in leather. These straps are extremely durable and less likely to stretch.

Synthetic: synthetic saddles are often paired with synthetic stirrup leathers, offering a lightweight and low-maintenance option.

Apart from materials, stirrup leathers also come in different widths, including 1", 7/8", and 3/4". Narrower straps reduce bulk under the leg, while wider straps provide sturdiness. Consider the freejump classic wide leathers if you prefer a wider strap for added stability.

For reduced bulk and closer contact, you can opt for leathers like the equipe mono leathers, which hang single-ply from the stirrup bar and adjust at the stirrup iron end at the bottom.

Understanding stirrup irons

Stirrup irons are the metal loops suspended from the bottom of the stirrup leathers. They provide a stable base for the rider's foot and help maintain proper foot position while riding. Choosing the right size and type of stirrup iron is essential for safety and comfort.

Size of stirrup irons

The size of your stirrup irons should be approximately one inch wider than the width of your boot at the ball of the foot. This measurement allows for a half-inch of room on either side when in the stirrup. Ensuring the proper size of stirrup irons is crucial for a secure and comfortable riding experience.

Types of stirrup irons

There are several types of stirrup irons to choose from, each with its own unique features. Let's explore a few popular options:

Traditional fillis irons: made of stainless steel, fillis irons are classic and durable. They provide stability and have stood the test of time in the equestrian world.

Quick-release irons: quick-release safety stirrup irons have a breakaway feature along the side, which prevents the foot from getting caught in the stirrup in case of an accident. This safety feature can be crucial in preventing accidents.

Flexible & composite irons: some newer designs feature flexion in the side, enhancing flexibility and comfort while riding.

Now that you have a better understanding of stirrup leathers and irons, you can make an informed decision when selecting the best set for your riding needs. Remember to consider factors such as your riding style, comfort, and safety when choosing the right stirrup leathers and irons. 

Remember to inspect your stirrup leathers and irons

It's important to regularly inspect your stirrup leathers and irons for wear and tear. Replace any damaged or worn-out components to ensure your safety while riding.

Consider consulting with a professional saddle fitter or instructor to get personalized recommendations on the best stirrup leathers and irons for your specific needs.

Always prioritize safety when selecting stirrup leathers and irons. Choose high-quality materials and designs that provide stability, comfort, and security while riding,


Choosing the right stirrup leathers and irons is crucial for a comfortable and safe riding experience. By considering factors such as length, materials, widths, and types, you can find the perfect combination that suits your riding style and needs.

Remember to prioritize safety and consult with professionals if needed. With the right stirrup leathers and irons, you can enhance your riding performance and enjoy every moment in the saddle.