Few accessories call to mind the luxury and freedom of sport like the riding boot. From the English countryside to the American West, it remains a classic and functional staple of any woman’s wardrobe and has been emblematic of the World of Ralph Lauren since first coming into being more than four decades ago.
The origins of the modern riding boot are, like the boot itself, at once humble and noteworthy, with centuries of tradition tied up in its design and craftsmanship. Following Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo, the Duke of Wellington’s notoriety led to his low-heel boot becoming a popular staple for cavalry and civilians alike.
As women gained more freedom to move about and socialize outside of the house, they too adopted footwear suitable for riding, and thus—as with so many classic elements of style—appropriated a menswear staple for themselves. Today what we commonly refer to as a riding boot in the fashionable sense is considered a “dress boot” in the equestrian world, worn only for dressage shows and at formal fox hunts. Composed of polished black calfskin, it has a high upper, ending just below the knee, with no laces and a low heel. More casual styles give a nod to functionality with laces beginning just above the foot to ease flexibility when in the saddle.
The origins of the modern riding boot are, like the boot itself, at once humble and noteworthy, with centuries of tradition tied up in its design and craftsmanship.
Outside the stable this boot bestows rugged refinement to nearly any casual look, adding sleek style that is as at home on the city streets as it is on horseback. It is this versatility and carefree elegance that make the riding boot a staple for any wardrobe and places it at the top in the pantheon of RL Classics.