Half chaps, which are worn with paddock boots in place of tall riding boots, have grown in popularity so much over the last two decades that variations continue to appear.
Lighter, thinner materials have been tried in various ways, and we’ve seen fabric used successfully as gaiters. Now sock-like materials are also being tried as another form of leg protection.
The Chapless Sock, which has a faux leather panel sewn on the inside of a nylon stocking, is being promoted as a lightweight alternative to chaps. The heavy elastic Equestrian Leggings are intended to prevent rubs when worn under your pants.
We tried these products by themselves over breeches and also under half chaps and tall boots. In addition, we wore them under jeans, with and without chaps.
The Chapless Sock provides more stability than just breeches alone but not nearly as much as with regular half chaps. They’ll work in a pinch if you leave your boots or chaps at home or if you want to tote your leg protection in your pocket.
Both The Chapless Sock and Equestrian Leggings shine as additional protection worn under jeans without chaps on top. They’re also both useful if your chaps or tall boots tend to be a little loose, much more so than just with an extra pair of tall socks.
The Chapless Sock is easy to launder, which is important because as socks that also cover the foot they need to be washed after each wearing, unlike regular half chaps or leggings. You can increase the time between washings if you pull them on over your regular socks, and we found them thin enough to do that and still be comfortable.
The one problem we had with the Equestrian Leggings is that they don’t come with any washing instructions. We got a quick response from Bit of Britain when we asked for advice. We then washed one in delicate cycle/cool wash and dry, as we would have expected without directions, and indeed it shrank a bit and the material had pulls. However, this didn’t affect its performance. The one washed with the instructions we requested did better.
Bottom Line: These stretchy leg coverings offer extra protection and stability under jeans or under loose chaps or boots, but don’t expect them to serve as an adequate replacement for chaps or boots.