Karen Reviews: Renegade Hoof Boots

I love my Renegades for my wide- round footed horse.  They are super easy to get on, and with a couple of exceptions, they don’t fall off.  You don’t need to wrap or tape your horse’s feet. The heel captivator moves with the foot, minimizing the amount of rubbing you get.

I have been using them for a year and they have only come off twice. The Renegades fit my round-footed horse much better than Easyboots. I had a pair of old-style Easyboots that I ended up giving away to a friend because we just couldn’t get them to stay on Rosie.  But they worked out great on her horse.

The first time a Renegade boot came off was in VERY sticky mud at the Fort Howes endurance ride. The other time was when my husband went on a Poker ride with Rosie. He didn’t notice right away when, on a steep hill, one boot came off and, thanks to velcro, stayed tethered around her ankle. She ended up with a small cut just above her hoof, which may have been from the boot wire.  (Click HERE for a picture story about repairing her hoof after the cut evolved into a hole in her hoof).

A summary of  great things about the Renegades:

  • Easy on
  • Easy off
  • No taping
  • No rubbing, even on my thin-skinned thoroughbred.  So far I have used them for up to 20 miles during one day’s ride, pretty much all trotting and cantering. The only time I’ve seen any rubbing was mud related, and it was very minor.
  • Forgiving fit. No boots fit my horse perfectly, but these work quite well.
  • Lots of colors for fashion conscience e-riders, many of whom like to be color-coordinated.  I tend to fall into that category.
  • Made in the good ol’ USA

The cons:

  • The lower velcro straps have trouble sticking completely once they get mudded up and after you’ve used them on 101 rides. I have to say though, even when the velcro is not stuck on its entire length, the boots still stay put.
  • It’s a little bit of a pain sticking the ends of the velcro through the little loops, but once you get the knack it’s not too bad.

My tweaks.

  • I replaced the velcro straps with my own home-made ones. You don’t have to mess with sticking the ends through little loops when your hands are cold or the ground is muddy. I purchased a 1′ long length of 1″ strapping for each boot, and and one of those buckles that has a squeeze clamp, and I sewed the strap onto the buckle. This was actually my husband’s idea, and, OK, he did the sewing, too!  Here is a picture of the strap:When you take the boots off you don’t even need to pull the strap all the way out of the buckle.  After you slip the boot on you just “tighten by pulling on the loose end of the strap”, and you’re ready for take-off.  I can’t say what will happen in the event of unexpected turbulence though. 😉 The strap also makes it VERY easy to tighten the boot after you ride for a bit.
  • The 1″ buckle does stick up a bit so it may not be a good solution for back feet where they could end up clipping the front heels, as it is metal. I am going to try a 3/4″ strap and hardware. Story to follow! Also, make sure the strap you use is somewhat soft so the clamp can grip it. Very thick straps may not work as well. So far this is working great with the strapping I bought at the hardware store.
  • My horse has low-angled feet so I sometimes stick a piece of foam in the front of the boot to keep sand and pebbles out of the gap. Mostly it stays in there all by itself, but I may try gluing it too. I don’t have the foam in in this picture, and there is an extra large gap because of the hoof patching. You can see that on the right side of the photo. As her feet are continue to improve, the foam may not be necessary.

I’ll do another post detailing the replacement straps in the near future. I think many people who use boots (of all types) have their own particular tweaks. Some people find using that dog collars or stirrup keepers work just fine in place of boot straps.

If you have any ‘customizing’ you’ve done that has worked well for you, please send me specifics and I will post it here to share.

  1. Karen says:

    Just an update on my “testing” of this strap. I went back to using the original Renegade velcro straps. The straps with the metal clamp did not hold up – where they went through the metal they wore through quite quickly. I’m finding now that Rosie’s feet are forming into a more ideal shape, we have no more gaps! Even though my velcro is quite old, the boots are staying on great and I no longer need to put foam in the front. Progress!! We have done 3 poker rides and 2 endurance rides this year with no boot issues whatsoever :)

  2. Linda Brooks says:

    Buying my first pair of boots and I’m obsessing! I know nothing about boots, but have heard good things about these. Took the shoes off 8 weeks ago, they have great feet, and I think are also kind of “round” Need to measure again but I think I got a width of 5.25-5.5 and a length of 5.25. Are there any others I should try?

    • Karen says:

      Are you doing pleasure riding, endurance riding, or ??? I LOVE my renegades, but the Easyboot Gloves are probably most popular boots for endurance. I have not used them but from what I hear they are usually a little harder to deal with. They are a little less expensive though, so if they do work for you they are probably worth trying. But there is a learning curve when starting out with boots so I think the Renegades are good ones to start with since they are easy to use once you get the initial adjustment. They are also pretty forgiving if you don’t have a perfect fit (ie weird shaped hooves or you are between trims). The gloves apparently require a very close fit so if you are not rasping between farrier visits that could be an issue.

      If you are just doing pleasure/trail riding, keeping under 15 miles and not solid trotting, you might want to check out Boa boots. I use them on my other horse. They are less expensive, easy to use, and stay on. I have had the cables and the dial break a couple of times though and it’s a real pain replacing the cables. There is also the new Easyboot TRAIL that I’ve heard a lot of good things about.

      If your horse has wide/round feet you may want to get the WIDE version when going with easyboot products. I think Renegade also has a wide version, but I have not used that even though my horse has wide feet, and I think they’ve come off 3 times in almost 3 years. Once in mud, once when I think they were put on too tight, and once when my horse slid down a bank.

      Good luck with your boot adventures! Let me know what you choose – if Renegades I can give you a few more pointers if you have any issues. Also check out the Renegade Boots facebook page.

  3. Amie says:

    I thought I’d throw my input in this! I tried the Easy Boot Gloves. They didn’t work for my guy. He is a little 14.2 hand morgan quarter horse with a standardbred trot. He riped the Gloves to SHREADS! I beleive I went thru 3 before I called it quits. I even squared his toe in the hind to try and “slow” his hind down. So I would not recommend them for an over reacher. All I am seeing for these renegades are good reviews. I am planning on purchaseing them to give them a whirl! I am excited to try them on my new horse. He’s an arab that I just recently rescued. He’s never had shoes nor will he ever. Hes never even had a bit in his mouth! I am going totally natural on this horse! Thanks for such a very descriptive review! Happy Trails!!

  4. Karen says:

    Thanks for your comment Amie! Also, to everyone, just an overdue update on my home-made straps – they didn’t last very long. I am back to using the Renegade straps which are working well.

  5. Karen,
    When you say about the Renegade “they’ve come off 3 times in almost 3 years”, do you mean that you had the same set for three years, or you had to replace them with time? If so, how often do they wear out (obviously it depends at least on frequency of use, length of rides and type of terrain – so please give us a brief description of these.
    Thanks, Amos

    • Karen says:

      Hi Amos,
      When I say they’ve come off three times, I mean a boot has come off of her foot three times, once due to deep thick mud, once when someone else put them on and rode steep hills, and once when the horse slipped off a ledge. I just wore my first pair out TODAY!! The toes were getting very thin and a tiny hole just broke through during today’s ride. I track almost all my miles on GPS and have tracked 401.90 miles on this pair of boots! There were a few rides here and there that I did not track so the actual mileage is likely almost 500 miles. I live in the Rockies. Any trail riding I do is fairly hard packed dirt with rocks. I also do quite a bit of road riding, and riding along highway ditches. If you want to see exactly where I’ve ridden, check out my Journal pages for 2012 and 2011 – they have my GPS tracks. My horse does not have a perfect heel-first landing so she wore out the toes first. Thanks for checking out my blog and let me know if you have any further questions. Are you an endurance rider?
      Karen

      • Thanks Karen for the detailed reply. 500 miles sounds like a good distance. I just ordered my first two pairs of Renegade boots as I am planning to turn one of my horses barefoot next month.
        As for your question – I did train my mare about three years ago according to what I learnt in a workshop for endurance riders, and I participated in one 40 km trail. I enjoyed mainly the process of seeing my mare improve in stamina with time. However, in the last 1.5 years I started riding her son, so I cannot continue training the mare at the right intensity. Her son is still too green for this kind of activity, but he has good potential for the future. If all goes well with her transfer to be ridden barefoot (with the aid of the boots) I will do the same with him too.
        Our terrain (I live in the Northern Negev Desert, Israel. See some photos in web site mentioned below) is quite variable and changes from sand to fine-grained Loess and in some areas stony substrate. I hope to use the boots only in the hard stony terrain, and allow them to build up the strength of the hooves while riding with no boots in the arena and on the trails with the gentle substrates. Anyone has experience with this type of partial use of the boots?
        Amos
        http://www.naomiridingcenter.com

  6. Lisanne says:

    Hi Karen. I just found out about these boots and like the way the mechanics look. I have had my TWH mare barefoot for 10 years and trim her myself. (She is 22 years young now.) Her heel bulbs are quite close to the ground. I’ve had problems with other boots (Old Macs) rubbing her heel bulbs raw, even when using gaiters. I ride for pleasure, some trails and around our property (which, being western Oregon is mud 9 months of the year). My big concern about trying these is that my mare’s feet are definitely not round. They are basically 6 inches long and 5-1/4″ wide in front. Do you think this is a big concern? Thanks in advance. And thanks for your blog!
    Lisanne in OR

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lisanne. I would suggest calling the folks at Renegade about sizing (928-692-2668) – they are really helpful. Looks like 2W might be his size. You may also want to check out their facebook page and pose that question to other riders (I don’t have any experience with long-footed horses as my issues are quite the opposite). The Renegade folks are very responsive on that page and often ask people with issues to post pictures so they can evaluate. They also have a page on using shims for narrower-footed horses: Renegade Shims Also check out their “Fitting” page. Don’t know if you’ll need to bother with shims or not; I have found the boots to be very forgiving with a less-than-perfect fit, but don’t know if “too long” is trickier than “too wide”. Are his feet just naturaly oblong, or do you struggle with long toes? I’ve found with my horse (who, although she has wide feet, also gets long toes and stretched white line) it really helps if I get agressive bringing back her toe. I’m not suggesting trying to fit the hoof to the boot. But I’ve gone as far as trimming all the way back to the white line, as shown under ‘Photos of a white line strategy trim’ pictures on this page White Line Strategy (once I got brave enough!) and found it really help with her long toes, low angles and flare. Your horse may not have this issue though. I don’t agree with everything on the barefoothorse.com website, but learned a lot from it.

  7. Lisanne says:

    Hi Karen. Thanks so much for the quick reply. I will check out the facebook page. (I put in a “join” request but it has to be approved.) I was already thinking about shims as a possibility. Otherwise the boots I think the boots would not stay on straight — I’ve had that problem with other boots. My mare’s foot elongation is not due to flare or long toes. She actually has a very short toe. I keep them trimmed back, and used to consistently trim back to the white line across the toe when I first had her barefoot, and after she got laminitis a couple of years ago. X-rays taken when she had laminitis showed what I suspected, which are elongated coffin bones. She may have been born this way, or it may have been due to earlier shoeing practices before I bought her (leaving shoes on way too long and squeezing the bone – ouch!!) The coffin bones are also asymmetrical left to right. Again, thanks for your assistance!

  8. Alisha says:

    I have Renegades for my Thoroughbred and I LOVE them. I have been trail riding in them for about year now and have had no problem at all. After a dirty ride, just really try to get the velcro clean but that’s about the only maintenance they need.

  9. Alexa says:

    Hi Karen

    I have been trying to find boots that will work for my pony, and was so pleased to find your detailed comments re renegade boots. I must confess that I have not started endurance riding – yet! – and hope it’s ok to ask on this forum. We have Easyboot Edge on front hooves and Easyboot trail on back but both come flying off particularly after mud or at higher speeds up hills – we live in England and ride some pretty muddy tracks. Also, have found the Trail velcro is pretty poor quality and hasn’t held up to 3 months of wear. We go about 10-15 miles at a time, over stony tracks and mud, not generally fast. Renegade are next on my list of things to try, so advice would be gratefully recieved! Many thanks, alexa

    • Karen says:

      Ask away! Definitely give the Renegades a try. I believe they have just improved their velcro and mine has lasted quite a long time, though I live in a dry climate without a lot of mud. I think the trick there is to clean them right away after riding; they even make special velcro brushes to clean them. I find Renegades to work well even when they don’t fit perfectly.

  10. Ditte Phillips says:

    Hi Karen,

    I am looking into switching to Renegade boots from Easyboot Gloves, which can be really slippery when wet. I had no problem fitting or using the Gloves, but had an accident after my horse slipped on a wet ledge.

    What is your experience with traction on wet surfaces, especially rock, with the Renegades.

    Best,
    Ditte Phillips

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ditte
      I haven’t done a lot of riding on wet rocks as I live in a pretty dry climate. I think with any boot when riding on wet surfaces, even grass, you will want to use boots that are not too old and worn. I have done quite a bit of riding in snow and found the traction to be very good. You might also consider waiting for the Renegade Vipers to come out this fall – I heard they are improving the tread.

  11. Ditte Phillips says:

    That could have been part of the problem – but we have several other riders in my NATRC region who have also had falls on wet rock with these particular boots. Here in the SE Appalachians we have rock, roots, rain, clay, you name it.

    Are the studded boots safe for distance riding over varied terrain as above, do you think? For me, distance is 12-22 miles. I have heard comments about the risk for tendon injuries with studs.

    I will look forward to trying a pair of Vipers, and thank you for your thoughts and time.

    • Karen says:

      Ditte, I have no experience with studded boots but would only use them on consistently wet, muddy or slippery terrain. I am planning on getting some for winter riding since we recently moved to a mountaintop with lots of snow and ice. You may want to look up Karen Chaton’s blog and ask her opinion – she is a very high mileage rider who has used strap-on renegades in 100 mile rides and I think has done som riding in snow as she lives in Nevada. Or she may know someone in the SE with more experience in the wetter terrain. Out here we are either very dry, or when it’s wet it’s “gumbo” mud which I try to avoid – it’s very sticky and even 4wd trucks can get stuck in it -studs would not help much,you can barely walk in it – very different from the mud I grew up with in NJ :)

  12. Pamela Dyer says:

    I live in subtropical northeast Florida. Is anyone in my area using Renegades or Easyboot Gloves? My Florida-bred Arabian mare has a thin sole and I am trying to transition her to barefoot and doing all of the research I can to help with this process and working with my farrier.

    • Karen says:

      Pamela – I don’t of anyone specifically but I’m sure there are. The Renegade Facebook page would be a great place to find an answer to your question

  13. Konrad says:

    Hi Karen
    Just wondering if you know of anyone using renegades for barrel racing type riding, in other words a lot of hard turning but not a lot of miles. I have used “Old Mac’s” but have a problem with them rubbing and turning.
    Cheers!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Conrad,
      I don’t know of anyone using Renegades in barrel racing, but I also don’t really know any barrel racers. I think the problem you might have ther is the boot twisting on tight turns, especially the back boots but that is just a guess. I would suggest borrowing a pair to try out, if possible. You might also try posting your question on the Renegade Hoof Boots Facebook page. I’d love to hear how they work if you do try them!
      -Karen

  14. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Karen,

    I recently had my gelding’s shoes removed, as his hooves were so cracked from nail holes etc. I couldn’t keep traditional shoes on him!

    My horse’s measurements for his hind feet are technically a “Size 0” in Renegades, but I am looking at purchasing a “Size 1”, because I am worried that as his hind feet grow out (they are quite small due to breakage up around the old nail holes right now) he will need a larger size boot. So, I would just like to purchase the larger boot right away and use it. Have you ever had/heard of riders using a slightly bigger size boot? Your comments seem encouraging — you find they are quite forgiving in their fit? I only do minor trail riding along edges of fields, gravel trails — I am an English rider who mainly schools in outdoor arenas and over fences.

    Also, what are the boots’ traction like in snow? I like the idea of being able to use them come winter, but I don’t know whether or not I should bother, as the studs can only be applied and removed in the factory..

    Thank you!

    • Karen says:

      Hmm, They are forgiving but I’d be cautious of ordering a “too large” size especially on the back feet which can sometimes have more issues with boot retention. I would recommend ordering the zeros, and then if he outgrows them quickly, you can get pretty good prices selling them used (check out the Yahoo Hoof Boot Exchange group). If I didn’t already have extras I’d buy them off of you :) It’s a good idea to track approx. how many miles you put on them so you can provide that info when you sell them. Also – you can just buy the bottoms – I think 0 and 1 use the same size heel captivator so you’d only have to “upsize” the bottom part and it’s a lot cheaper that way!! I find them to have good traction in the snow, but for icy conditions you’d want studs (I have not tried studs yet but may get a backup pair with studs for this winter as I am now living on a mountain). We just bought Renegades for our other horse and she is going great in them too. Rosie is temporarily (I hope) in shoes though because she’s got very thin soles and I think she was wearing them down to much in our new hard-ground pasture – not 100% sure what’s going on with her yet. But still using boots in back and hope to have her back in boots on all 4 soon :)

  15. Amos says:

    I have been using Renegade boots for more than a year and a half now, trail-riding in desert terrain. Normally I start the ride with no boots, and only if I reach a stony terrain or if I notice my horse is sensitive when he steps on stones, I attach on the front feet the boots that I carry in the saddle bag. I am quite happy from this arrangement. However, from time to time, during a canter, my horse loses a boot, and it is quite annoying to have to ride back to look for the missing boot… I do tighten the lower velcro tightly, and only the top one is left slightly less tight, according to the instructions. When they drop off – the velcro straps do not open. Somehow the boot gets off. Has anyone had this problem and tried overreach bell boots above the Renegade boot? Any other suggestions?
    Thanks, Amos

  16. Debra LaComette says:

    Hi Karen,

    I am in the SE in Tennessee. I am an endurance rider. About 5 years ago, I tried out the renegade boots, but since there is a lot of mud here, they just kept coming off, or the bottom part would and the pastern area part of the boot would stay on. I finally gave up and went back to shoes.
    I’m considering the boots again and wondered if there have been any improvements and is there something else I can do to make them work better for my horse. The mud here is still the same and in the summer gets worse. Any thoughts you have would be appreciated.
    Thanks Debea

    • Karen says:

      Hi Debea,
      I have been using Renegades since 2010 and the ones I use have not noticeably changed. I’ve only had them come off in very deep mud. Of course fit is important. But there is a new model of Renegades available now, called Vipers. I don’t know if they’d be any different in terms of staying on, but they are supposed to have better traction. You might check out the Renegade Facebook page, where people who have used them could give you more details. I wonder if EasyBoot gloves would be any better in mud since they don’t really have a separate top and bottom other than the gaiters. Good luck!

  17. Gabi says:

    Hi, I’m really interested in these boots and I’m doing myy reaserch before purchasing them (I’m from Europe and not many ppl here have them, so no chance in checking them myself)
    I read almost all comments and still have one question – did the boots ever break or crack? Unfortunately I live in an area with little natural roads – a lot of them are pebbled so I’m concerned with durability of these boots. I understand that with time they will naturally get thinner on the sole, specially if the horse has movement from the toe (mine does in one leg). You posted your mileage and it’s impressive, no mention of cracs.
    I’m looking for light boots for pleasure rides in between dressage training sessions – my horse has very delicate and thin soft tissues so any heavy boots are not good for him.

    • Karen says:

      I have never had these boots crack. They do of course wear eventually – mine wear at the toes first. My horse shuffles her feet and we get from 300-500 miles on a pair. Others with better moving horses (high mileage endurance rider Karen Chaton) have reported in the neighborhood of 1000 miles. My horse is a very thin-skinned TB who rubs and gets scrapes easily, and never a rub with these boots so I think they’d be a good choice for your horse. As with any boot there is a bit of a learning curve as to getting them adjusted perfectly, but my horse had wonky shaped feet and they still stayed on great, even though they were easy to put on and take off.

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