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11 Best Stirrups for Jumping Clear (and Staying Safe)

best-stirrups-jumping-2
Written by Shelby Dennis

Professional horse trainer and vlogger Shelby Dennis on the best stirrup irons for jumping

Many riders overlook the importance of a quality stirrup iron. Riding and showing horses over fences is a demanding sport that requires special equipment for the horse and rider to perform at their best.

If you’re looking for an excellent base of support and the utmost safety, it’s critical to consider how different stirrups (especially newer high-tech options like Freejump Stirrups) influence your biomechanics and may help you to ride more accurately, comfortably, confidently, and safely.

10 Best Show Jumping Stirrups:

Read on for the ultimate guide to jump stirrup shopping across a variety of brands, styles, and budgets!

New to the sport? Check out our 26-Page Horse Rookie’s Guide to Jumping.

Stirrup Comparison Table 

Click for Details Grip Comfort Safety Price
Fillis Low Low Low Low
Peacock Low Low Medium Low
Jointed Low Medium Low Low
Composite Medium Medium Medium Low
Jin High High Medium High
Royal Rider High High Medium Medium
MDC High High Medium Medium
Lorenzini High High High High
Freejump High High High High
American Equus High High High high
Ophena S Pro Magnet Medium High high

How to Select the Best Jumping Stirrups

Choosing the right stirrup for your riding level and the needs of your body may seem like a daunting task. But, with a little forethought, you’ll be able to pick your perfect irons.

When picking jumping stirrups, key considerations include:

  • Riding level
  • Discipline
  • Competitive aspirations
  • Physical challenges
  • Comfort
  • Budget

Looking at reviews and the mechanics of individual stirrup brands and what they cater to is of the utmost importance. This is especially critical for riders who suffer from muscular or joint soreness and require more support from their stirrup irons.

If you are competing (or plan to in the future), knowing what’s acceptable and “legal” to show in for your discipline is important. While brightly coloured stirrup irons may be fun in the jumper ring, they may not get a positive reception in the hunter ring.

If you’re unsure what to shop for, consider asking a show-savvy friend or your riding instructor so you don’t accidentally buy stirrups you cannot use in the show ring.

Due to the specialized nature of stirrups, the prices also vary widely. This guide includes options to fit a range of budgets, with options under $100 to over $500.

Best Budget Jumping Stirrups

You don’t have to spend a fortune when it comes to stirrups.

Some of the options below are quite similar to more expensive brands (i.e. “knock offs”), but they’re not made with as high quality materials or have as long of a life.

jumping-stirrups-3

With that said, as someone who has shopped for cheaper “lookalikes,” these get the job done and are especially suited to budget-conscious riders.

Chief Rookie Aside: What you put IN your stirrups is equally important. If you’re new to riding and need help finding suitable boots, see our favorites.

Fillis Stirrups (The Oldie But Goodie)

Fillis Irons are the most common, run-of-the-mill stirrup. They last forever, as in would probably survive an apocalypse. They’re acceptable in pretty much every discipline and bring an iconic “classic” look into the show ring.

This style is available in a massive variety of brands, and the prices vary accordingly. On the whole, these are the least expensive stirrups on the market.

Click to see these stirrups at Amazon

The stirrup pads can be replaced when they wear out, however, even new pads are not as grippy as newer styles of stirrups. That means your feet may slide around more in these irons.

Chief Rookie Aside: I’ve decided it’s worth spending a bit more for a grippier stirrup so I’m not adjusting my feet in the irons every few minutes.

If you prefer a wider footbed (i.e. the base of the stirrup is wider so there’s more contact with your boot), Fillis irons may feel too narrow. They also lack any breakaway technology, so if you want stirrups that will release or prevent a foot from getting caught, keep looking.

Get Fillis Irons at State Line Tack

Peacock Stirrups (The Basic Breakaway)

For a cheap breakaway option, Peacock Stirrups are one of your best bets. The design is nearly identical to Fillis irons with the addition of an elastic strap on one side. Hence, think of them like the breakaway version of a Fillis iron.

For many riders, peacock stirrups do the job just fine.

However, I have heard of the elastic breakaway piece popping off when it is not supposed to. This may never be an issue for you, but it’s something to keep in mind depending on the level of jumping you do.

Click to see these stirrups at Amazon

For young children taking lessons or jumping rookies, this stirrup is a fine choice. It’s also available in a wide variety of brands and won’t make a big dent in your budget.

Chief Rookie Aside: A variation on this idea is the full stainless steel free foot style stirrup iron. I have these stirrups on one of my saddles, and it ensures my feet would release in the event of a fall–without dealing with elastic bands.

Get Peacock Stirrups at State Line Tack

New to the sport? Check out our 26-Page Horse Rookie’s Guide to Jumping.

Jointed Stirrups (The Joint Saver)

For riders with ankle problems, jointed stirrups are designed to be a more comfortable choice than a plain fillis iron. Many different brands offer jointed designs that are more flexible for people suffering from joint pain.

Click to see these stirrups at Amazon

Other than the addition of rubber, jointed siding, these are very similar to a Fillis iron with a narrower footbed and classic stainless steel body.

Get Jointed Stirrups at State Line Tack

Composite Stirrups (The Modern Step Up)

If you want the benefits of “iron innovation” without the hefty price tag, composite stirrups are the way to go. Composite stirrups are popular because they let riders enjoy a more affordable wide-tread stirrup made from the light, hi-tech polymer without the cost of high-end brands like Royal Rider.

Chief Rookie Aside: Check out my Compositi Stirrups Review for a first-hand account.

One of the best brands is Compositi, which designs stirrups made entirely out of lightweight-yet-strong DuPont polymer.

While some composite stirrups have rubber pads, Compositi models features the same polymer on the foot and grippy grooves (think cheese grater) that help keep your boots from sliding around.

compositi stirrup

Click to see them on Amazon

They also come in a wide range of colours for riders who want to show off or colour coordinate their tack (e.g. saddle pad, polo wraps) and their stirrups.

If you’re looking for a durable, grippy, budget-friendly option that holds up for the long run, Compositi is a great choice. These stirrups are also a nice way to test out your stirrup preferences prior to upgrading to more expensive brands.

Chief Rookie Aside: I replaced my jointed stirrups with Compositi REFLEX Wide Track stirrups, and I was a total convert after one ride. The wide footbed gave me a much firmer foundation, and the super grippy tread kept my feet in place. I feel way more confident jumping now!

Get Compositi Stirrups on Amazon

Best High-Tech Jumping Stirrups

If you’re an upper-level jumper (or a rookie with professional tastes!), you may prefer the jumping stirrups below. These newer brands and styles cater to a more high-end market without sacrificing the core qualities we’ve come to know and love.

While the price tags for these stirrups are higher than those featured in the previous section, you get what you pay for.

milo-jumping

These brands are typically tried and tested by a wide range of riders, including international professionals, and boast great quality and a long lifespan.

So, if you’re moving up the levels (or hope to) and want to invest in a really great pair of jumping stirrup irons, read on.

Note: Many of the stirrups below have unique styles and technology that don’t have equivalents in the less expensive “look alike” alternatives. So if you see a feature you love below, don’t assume you’ll be able to find the same thing on the cheap.

Jin Stirrups (The Colourfast Choice)

Jin Stirrups are one of the most popular brands you’ll see on the Hunter/Jumper show circuit. These stirrups are well suited to all levels of riders, from hobbyists to international professionals.

Click to see these stirrups at Amazon

This brand enjoys a stellar reputation–and for good reason.

Made from high quality aluminum, these proven stirrups are exceptionally light and feature a grippy wide footbed for increased stability.

Every Jin Stirrup undergoes a special anodizing colouring process that prevents chipping and other damage, allowing them to look new for years to come.

While I have not used these personally, many colleagues I know well swear by them. Plus, they come in a wide range of colours so you can have a lot of fun customizing your tack!

Get Jin Stirrups on Amazon

Royal Rider Stirrups (The Shock Absorber)

Royal Rider boasts a varied range of stirrup styles, all of which feature a wide, shock absorbing footbed. These stirrups are crafted in Italy (Fantastico!) and have an ultra-sleek, visually appealing design.

Click to see these stirrups at Amazon

Most Royal Rider styles allow you to swap out the stirrup pads with rubber grips or cheese grater pads, depending on your preference.

They’re also lightweight, made from strong polymer composite, and have innovative shock absorbing technology.

The Evo Action model, in particular, is designed to help riders appropriately distribute shock and rider weight. Having owned these stirrups personally, I can vouch for them.

I have bad knees and had trouble with other types of stirrups that didn’t offer the same level of stability and shock absorption.

Royal Rider stirrups were a massive upgrade from my old Fillis Irons and jumpstarted (pun intended) my fascination with innovative stirrup technology. These are definitely worth a look, especially if you suffer from joint issues.

Get Royal Rider Stirrups on Amazon

Heading to a competition soon? Check out 100+ Things to Pack for a Jumping Horse Show (Checklist).

MDC Stirrups (The Forward Facer)

For riders who are looking for a more traditional style, MDC stirrups are one of your best bets, especially if you love classical looking stirrups but want all the benefits of modern technology.

Like most higher-end brands, MDC products feature a wide tread base and are much lighter than a traditional Fillis Iron.

Click to see these stirrups at Amazon

MDC Stirrups are the only stirrup offering forward facing technology. Prior to mounting, you can turn the tops of these stirrups and they will remain in a forward position, rather than falling sideways like most stirrups.

This is helpful for riders who have problems with “duck feet” or their toes sticking out to the side. These stirrups also help riders keep more of their leg in contact with the horse’s side.

As if that weren’t enough, the flexible elements of these stirrups help alleviate joint pain and offer more stability and shock absorption as you jump.

Get MDC Stirrups on Amazon

Chief Rookie Aside: This stirrup also made our list of the 7 Best Safety Stirrups for Adults and is featured in our October 2019 Horse Expense Report!

Lorenzini Stirrups (The Safe Slider)

Lorenzini Stirrups feature a unique, ergonomic design that is was created to mitigate fall trauma by allowing easy foot release.

In addition, the shape of this stirrup provides relief from torsion (i.e. twisting/torque) stress and allows riders to recover balance more quickly.

lorenzini stirrup

Click to see them at SmartPak

The wide tread base keeps you secure and grounded so you can worry about the next fence, not fishing for your stirrups.

This product is made from a blend of aluminum and titanium, so they’re super lightweight while staying incredibly strong. Available in a wide range of colours, Lorenzini Stirrups cater to any style preference.

Want to make a bold statement? Like to keep things classic? You got it.

See why Lorenzini also made our list of the 4 Best Stirrups for Cross Country.

Get Lorenzini Stirrups on SmartPak

Freejump Stirrups (The Best Breakaway)

Freejump Stirrups are the most expensive option in this guide, but for a good reason.

These are the highest quality breakaway stirrups money can buy.

(Unlike the Peacock stirrups previously discussed, Freejump Stirrups do not have the same problem with rubber bands sometimes releasing accidentally.)

Click to see these stirrups at Amazon

Freejump stirrups also have an aesthetically pleasing style and come in a wide range of colours. (See all the options at Amazon.)

In addition to their high-tech breakaway design, they feature the wide footbed many of us now love and offer superior shock absorption.

New to the sport? Check out our 26-Page Horse Rookie’s Guide to Jumping.

Their stirrup pads are also “studded” to allow for the utmost grip (far more than traditional stirrup pads). Though I haven’t personally ridden in these, I know countless riders who have and love-love-love them.

Hopefully one day, when money allows, I can try these myself!

Chief Rookie Aside: This stirrup also made our list of the 7 Best Safety Stirrups for Adults!

Get FreeJump Stirrups on Amazon

American Equus Stirrups (The All-Around Athlete)

Newer to the market, American Equus offers a wide range of stirrups for variety of disciplines from show jumping to racing (#stirrupsaftermyownheart).

american-equus-stirrups

American Equus is unique because they allow you to customize your stirrups and choose everything from the colour of the branches (i.e. sides) to the colour of the traction pins on the foot bed.

If you want an extremely custom look or have a specific colour scheme for your tack, you’ll love these stirrups.

They also offer different types of traction pins so you can pick what works best for you. I personally chose the Apex traction pins, as they have the most grip. The ergonomic design also helps ease ankle, knee, and foot pressure and allows the foot to come free easily in the event of a fall.

The extra wide base allows for more shock absorption, and the lightweight aluminum is incredibly strong and AIRCRAFT grade. So they’ll never get crushed against your feet in the event of a wreck. I ride in these currently and love how customizable, grippy, and attractive they are!

Get These Stirrups on the American Equus Website

Ophena S Pro Magnetic Safety Stirrup

Newer to the market, Ophena’s technical safety stirrup uses a magnetic system to deliver unprecedented security in the saddle.

ophena magnetic stirrup review

 

Featuring a unique open design, advanced magnetic system, and Smart Attach™ feature, the Pro version comes with a diamond tread for even more grip and control. The open design minimizes the risk of your feet getting caught, and the magnetic system releases you safely in case of a fall.

The stirrups pair with removable magnetic insoles that work with any boots!

Get These Stirrups on the Ophena Website

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the best stirrups for grip?

The best stirrups for grip are those that feature studs or traction pins on the foot bed, or those with “grater pads.” (The smoother the stirrup pad or foot bed the worse your grip.)

You’ll also want to pick a stirrup with a wide tread, as the most surface area in contact with your boot the better grip you’ll have.

If you struggle to keep your feet in place, or simply want more security over bigger fences, try:

Chief Rookie Aside: I struggled with my feet slipping on regular rubber pads. Read my Compositi Stirrups Review to see why they’ve been a lifesaver. Plus, they didn’t break the bank.

Q: What are the best stirrups for cross country?

Jumping cross country is the best time to show off your colourful and fun side! Of course, you’ll also want a wide and grippy footbed for security, and assurance that your foot will come free in the event of a fall.

For those reasons, check out:

See more of the best stirrups for eventing

New to the sport? Check out our 26-Page Horse Rookie’s Guide to Jumping.

Q: What are the best english stirrups overall?

The answer to this will vary from rider to rider. We all have our own preferences, and the “right” stirrups depends on the discipline you’re riding, too.

In general, though, one of the best quality and most versatile english options is the MDC Super Sport stirrup.

These stirrups have forward facing technology, meaning you can turn the tops so they remain in a forward position, rather than falling sideways like most stirrups.

If you struggle with “duck feet” (i.e. toes sticking out to the side), this is a particular good stirrup. Plus, MDC irons help alleviate joint pain and offer more stability.

Q: What are the best stirrups for hunters?

If you plan to show in Hunters, steer clear of bright and colourful stirrups. For a classic and clean design that still features innovative technology, consider the MDC Stirrups.

They have a simple, stainless steel style but also forward-facing functionality, a wide grippy footbed, and shock absorption.

Q: What are the best safety stirrups?

If you have the budget, Freejump sells the ultimate safety stirrup for jumpers.* This is a high-tech stirrup that’s built with an innovative flexible branch (i.e. the outer side of the stirrup) that stays in place while you ride and folds outward if you fall.

If funds are tight, consider the Peacock Stirrup. It’s an economical quick-release stirrup that features a rubber band on one side that dislodges in the event of a fall to free your foot.

*And non-jumpers, for that matter!

Q: What are the best stirrups for knee pain?

Struggling with ankle or knee pain? Feel every joint and muscle once you dismount? Good news: there are several stirrups specifically designed to alleviate joint point.

If you have the budget, American Equus stirrups are made to help appropriately distribute shock and have an ergonomic design to help with joint relief.

If funds are tight, consider a Jointed Stirrup. This is an economical option that features a flexible “joint” where the sides of the stirrup meets the foot bed.

Q: What are the best stirrups for ankle pain?

American Equus stirrups are specifically designed to distribute shock and help with joint relief.

If those are out of your budget, try some basic jointed stirrups.

Q: Can all horses jump?

This is a common question, so we wrote an entire article about whether all horses can (really) jump.



Heels Down. Rails Up.

The jumping stirrup market continues to expand with new brands that come onto the scene and existing brands that continue to innovate.

jumping-stirrups

If you don’t find exactly what you’re looking for in this guide, don’t be discouraged. Even if you found a style you like, but it’s out of your price range, don’t give up.

Try monitoring websites that offer rotating products at discounted rates like Tack Of The Day or Horseloverz. You may find your desired higher-end product on sale or discover a similar off-brand product that suits your needs.

Happy jumping!

Shelby & Milo

If you’d like to follow our journey, you can find us:

On YouTube
Online at Milestone Equestrian
On Instagram
On Twitter

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About the author

Shelby Dennis is a well known YouTube equestrian vlogger and horse trainer. Shelby has over 17 years of experience with horses. From the Arabian circuit to hunter/jumper and exercising race horses, Shelby’s experience with different kinds of horses makes her a well-rounded horsewoman. Shelby attributes her history with horses to shaping the hardworking, patient and driven individual she is today.