Apparel Gear Riding

Winter Riding on a Budget (Horze Utah Thermo Boot Review)

utah thermo boot horze
Written by Horse Rookie

Winter, Do Your Worst!

I’m no stranger to freezing temperatures, snowy paddocks, and wind chills that make your eyes water. After six Montana winters, I know what it takes to survive the season and enjoy the ride.

Since moving to the Treasure State, I’ve only worn one type of cold weather riding boot—an older model from Horze. But, after so many hard winters, the boots finally broke down at the end of last season.

So when Horze (now Equinavia) reached out and asked if I’d like to try the new Utah Thermo Boot, I happily accepted. After all, it was already December and winter was coming…

Utah Boot Made for Montana

In appearance, the Utah Thermo Boot was quite similar to my beloved boots that I had to throw away last year. I was eager to see if they felt similar to wear around the barn and in the saddle.

First things first, they run true to size and fit as expected.

With that hurdle cleared, let’s get into the weeds about the most notable features of this boot.

Super Cozy Interior

Compared to my previous pair, the Utah Thermo Boots definitely have an upgraded interior. They have a snuggly faux fur lining that is quite soft, warm, and allows the boots to work with pants of varied thicknesses.

I don’t end up with chilly space between the boot and my leg because the lining fills in the gaps. (That said, I often still use heated insoles to keep my feet even warmer.)

Plus, the grey lining looks really cute peeking out of the top of the boots.

winter riding boot

Semi-Fitted Profile 

Finding a winter riding boot that fits as nicely as your summer boots is impossible. In order to add the necessary insulation, there will be an unavoidable amount of bulk.

Hook-and-loop fastening straps minimize some of the bulk by letting you “cinch up” for a snugger fit. 

If you have wider calves, the straps also let you achieve a looser fit. This features makes the boot work for a wider range of riders.

They’re also really easy to slide on and off, so you don’t need a zipper.

winter riding boot

Durable Exterior

Oxford fabric on the exterior is rip-resistant, sheds hair and dirt easily, and has reinforced seams to help them last year after year.  There’s also a grippy panel on the inside calf for in-saddle security.

The exterior is similar to my previous boots, which lasted at least 5 years.

While the look of the boot leans more toward utility than beauty, I don’t mind the overall style. The priority is not having my feet freeze and fall off while I’m riding, so I’m willing to sacrifice some fashion points.

winter riding boot

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Snow-Proof Sole

Trudging through snowy fields and icy paddocks to catch my horse isn’t the most joyful experience, and I need boots that can stand up to the elements.

The waterproof rubber sole and foot area mean I don’t have to keep switching between muck boots and riding boots.

Plus, the traction on the tread is really good for ice and snow.

winter boots

My only critique on the rubber footbed is that the sides come up a little too high. The rubber-to-fabric transition lands directly over my ankle bone, which is pretty uncomfortable. It isn’t as noticeable when I’m riding, but gets ouchy when I’m walking around the barn. 

Everyone’s legs and feet are different, but for me this is an unfortunate comfort issue.

In-Saddle Performance

The big question is, of course, how are the boots for riding? Overall, they are similar to my previous pair and work for English or Western riding. My feet stay pretty warm, especially once I start riding and am moving more.

For English, they feel a bit bulkier than I’d like for my slab-sided pony. So I’ve been using them more in my Western lessons, where I don’t need as much of a close contact feel. 

The footbed fits fine in my Acavallo safety stirrups, though some riders might find them too big if they have smaller stirrups. I struggled to get my spurs onto the thick sole, so I’ll likely put them on once and leave them.

winter riding boot

winter riding boot

Parting Thoughts

Winter riding is all about priorities, and my top requirements are boots that keep me warm and dry. The Utah Thermo Boot does a great job meeting those goals, and I’m confident the quality is high enough to last several seasons. With the right gear, it is possible to still enjoy your horse time in sub-zero temps–and these boots are a great start!

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About the author

Horse Rookie

I began riding horses at age six, and I'm just as infatuated (OK, more!) with the sport decades later. My AQHA gelding exemplifies the versatility of the breed -- reined cow horse, reining, roping, ranch riding, trail, dressage, and jumping. We're also dipping our toes (hooves) into Working Equitation!