Safety stirrups – what are your options?

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  • The best safety stirrups are designed to release your foot quickly in the event of an accident – but which are the safest stirrups? There are a variety of designs and release mechanisms available, including peacock stirrups, shaped irons and breakaway stirrups with mechanical or flexible arms.

    • Peacock stirrups – characterised by the rubber band on the outside of the stirrup, these are the most traditional of safety stirrups. They are only recommended for children.
    • Shaped irons – stirrups with a distinctive bend have been designed to help prevent the foot becoming caught in the event of a fall. If you aren’t keen on the full breakaway effect, this style of stirrup can offer some reassurance and are usually much cheaper than the breakaway style.
    • Breakaway stirrups – the most recent of designs have a flexible or mechanical outside arm that releases the foot when put under a specified amount of uneven pressure in the event of a fall. Many designs also have features associated with technical stirrups, which has resulted in a wide range of price points.

    When considering which of the best safety stirrups are right for you, it’s important to consider which you consider to be the safest stirrups – breakaway or ergonomically shaped irons – as neither can be guaranteed 100%. You should also check that the style and colour are permitted by your governing body if you plan to compete as many are available in a wide range of colours. Finally, it can be easy to spend a lot of money on a pair of safety stirrups – although you can’t put a price on safety, it’s still an important consideration.

    Best safety stirrups on the market

    Flex-On Safe-On stirrups

    Flex-On Safe-On stirrups

    Colours: 11 frame, 3 footbed and 17 elastomer options | Weight: 500g each | RRP: £224.95 | Review: 9/10, H&H Approved |

    The outer branch of the Flex-On Safe-On is designed to open in the event of a fall when at least 40kg weight is exerted on it – it can quickly and easily be re-attached using the tool supplied. The elastomers provide shock absorption to protect joints, while the off-set leather slot ensures the stirrup sits at the optimum angle.

    The choice of tread angle helps the rider to maintain the correct leg position for their particular discipline and needs. They are also available in a junior size (for riders under 40kg).

    Read H&H’s independent Flex-On Safe-On stirrups review.

    In the UK? View now at amazon.co.uk or elandlodge.com

    Jin Air technical stirrups

    Jin Air stirrups

    Colours: 16 | Weight: 430g each | RRP: £218 | Review: 9/10, H&H Approved |

    These stirrups have an anatomical footbed that provides a high level of comfort, grip and stability, while also helping prevent you losing your stirrups. The smart-release mechanism with flexible arch allows your foot to exit in all directions should you fall before automatically returning to its original position.

    Read H&H’s independent Jin Air stirrups review.

    In the UK? View now at amazon.co.uk
    In the US? View now at amazon.com

    Equipe technical stirrups

    Equipe safety stirrups

    Colours: 12 combinations | Weight: 455g each | RRP: £315 | Review: 8/10 |

    These stirrups feature a mobile silicone gullet that allows for a simple release in case of a fall. No tools are required to restore the stirrup. The simple release system has no springs, hooks, magnets or other elements that could break or get stuck, while the lower section of the silicone gullet works to prevent the stirrup from loosening under conditions of normal use. The black tread has a special scratch-proof treatment.

    These Equipe stirrups scored 8/10 when reviewed as part of our independent testing scheme – read the full review.

    Read H&H’s independent Equipe safety stirrups review.

    In the UK? View now at rideawaystore.com

    FreeJump Soft’Up Pro+

    FreeJump Soft’Up Pro+

    Colours: 8 combinations | Weight: 490g each| RRP: £249 |

    These Freejump stirrups are composed of a single branch with flexible steel core so the outer open branch can bend, meaning that the foot is easily released in the event of a fall. They offer a high degree of shock absorption and an extra-wide footplate with raised studs for good grip. The angle and position of the stirrup eye is designed so that riders can easily find a lost stirrup.

    In the UK? View now at amazon.co.uk, rideawaystore.com or naylors.com
    In the US? View now at amazon.com

    LeMieux Vector Balance stirrups

    LeMieux Vector Balance stirrups

    Colours: Black, silver or black/silver | Weight: 419g each | RRP: £179.95 |

    These lightweight stirrups have an ergonomic footplate set at 5° with a cross-track grip surface that is mounted on an impact-absorbing cushioned layer with a 70% compression rating. The footplate is supported by a twin balance arch system that distributes the weight evenly across the base of the stirrup frame, while the stirrup sits at a 45° outward orientation, making it easier to locate and regain a lost stirrup.

    The integrated safety arm has a two-stage release system, preventing unintentional opening. When pressure is put onto the arm of the stirrup, rather than evenly across the stirrup, such as if the rider falls, the arm releases allowing the foot to come out of the stirrup.

    In the UK? View now at amazon.co.uk or equus.co.uk

    Tech Stirrups Venice Evo Safety stirrups

    Tech Stirrups Venice Evo Safety stirrups

    Colours: 24 combinations | Weight: 540g each | RRP: £255 |

    These stirrups have been designed with rider comfort and safety in mind. They have a safety mechanism with a wide opening that goes back to closed position automatically after a fall. The grip on the footplate is designed for jumping and the cross-country, ensuring the maximum wet and dry adhesion.

    In the UK? View now at amazon.co.uk or elandlodge.com
    In the US? View now at amazon.com or statelinetack.com

    Fouganza Stirrup Irons 500

    Fouganza Stirrup Irons 500

    Colours: Black | Weight: 600g each | RRP: £54.99 |

    These stirrups are designed to guide the foot into the right position, making the flexible release arm easier to open in the event of a fall. They have a wide footplate with good traction and grip.

    In the UK? View at decathlon.co.uk

    Shires Bent Leg stirrup irons

    Shires Bent Leg stirrup irons

    Colours: Silver | Sizes: 3¾–5in | RRP: £47.99 |

    These bent leg stirrup irons are designed to help prevent the foot becoming caught in the stirrup in the event of a fall. These are a good option if you prefer not to have a release arm. To choose the correct size, you should allow for ½in of space either side of riding boots.

    In the UK? View now at amazon.co.uk, rideawaystore.com, naylors.com, gooutdoors.co.uk or equus.co.uk

    Shires Fillis Peacock stirrups

    Shires Fillis Peacock stirrups

    Colours: Silver | Sizes: 3¾–4½in | RRP: £43.99 |

    Peacock stirrups are designed for children and are the original safety stirrups. They are made from stainless steel with a thick rubber band that will detach easily under pressure. To choose the correct size, you should allow for ½in of space either side of riding boots.

    In the UK? View now at amazon.co.uk, viovet.co.uk, rideawaystore.com, naylors.com, equus.co.uk or elandlodge.com
    In the US? View now at statelinetack.com

    Rid’Up stirrrups

    Rid’Up stirrrups

    Colours: Black, black/red, black/brown, black/blue or black/grey | RRP: £240 |

    These stirrups feature a patented hinged junction with the stirrup leather, which is is based on ski-binding technology – remaining firmly shut under severe but normal pressure, but releases immediately in the event of abnormal twisting forces.

    The wide-bevelled footplate has stainless steel spikes to give an efficient grip without the need for strong foot pressure. Underneath this there is a shock-absorbing sole, which relieves concussion to the rider’s joints horse’s back, while the eye of the stirrup is angled at 90°, making it easier for the rider to access and allowing the leather to lie flat.

    What are safety stirrups?

    Safety stirrups are designed to help release your foot faster and more easily in case of an accident. They are sometimes referred to as quick-release stirrups. Traditionally you would see peacock stirrups, but these are only really safe for children or very small adults. You will also find break-away stirrups, which usually have an arm that detaches in some way in the event of a fall, bent-leg stirrups, which are shaped to prevent your foot becoming caught, and magnetic stirrups.

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