Gentlemens Boots – The Paddock
Horse riders of the nineteenth century needed something less cumbersome than the standard riding boot. Bookmakers responded to this need by developing the lace-up Paddock boot. As the name indicates, this lace up ankle-height leather boot was ideal for Victorian gentlemen to wear around the paddock when training horses and seducing the fair maidens riding them. It stand to reason that the Paddock boot descend to us from the English riding tradition.
Paddock boots are still worn for equestrian work and Ariat makes athletic grade pairs. These are not the kind for a gentleman to wear in his regular wardrobe. I am using the term Paddock boot to apply to the ankle boot for men that fastens by laces (as opposed to the buckle of the Jodhpur and the rubber sides of the Chelsea) and where the boot's collar is no more than a few inches above the ankle. It should go without saying only Paddock boots made with both leather sole and vamp are appropriate for a gentleman. (I'm speaking to you, Michael.)
There are other styles of lace-up ankle boots for men. The elegance and lightness of the Paddock set it apart from the other types. The light and durable design of the Paddock boot proved very popular and they became the alternative footwear used with horses instead of the knee-high 'tall' riding boots of the time.Continued on the next page