New Year, New Breeches

To give a little bit of background on this, I’ve had the same pair of white breeches for a LONG time, probably almost 10 years. I got them from a trunk sale at the tack shop I worked at from age 15 until age 20, they were a demo pair of a new brand that the company was producing, and they served me well for many shows. Lately, they haven’t been coming out of the wash as bright and white as they used to be, so I decided it was time for a new pair! 

Low quality shot of the breeches that served me well for many seasons.

Low quality shot of the breeches that served me well for many seasons.

I posted on Instagram asking for brand recommendations, so that I could try them and give honest reviews, and get myself a great new pair of breeches in the process! 

Full disclosure: I bought all of these breeches with my own money, from companies with good return policies. All of the information I’ll provide is accurate as of the time that I purchased and tried the breeches. All opinions are my own and all breeches except the pair that I decided on as the ‘winners’ were returned. I decided to try on 5 different brands, purchased from SmartPak, Dover and Horze. I also decided to keep the price limit per pair at $200, as I don’t think I would spend more than that in regular circumstances and I had several requests that were not brand specific, but only wanting a pair of breeches that were both nice and affordable.

 

The Lineup: highest to lowest price

1. Late withdrawal: Romfh Isabella Grip Full Seat Breech in White

Purchased from: SmartPak

Regular Price: $189.95

Unfortunately, these breeches were incorrectly listed as available, but my order was cancelled when SmartPak discovered that they did not actually have them in stock and could not guarantee that they would be restocked. I’ve never tried a pair of Romfh breeches before so I can’t make any estimations as to the fit or the quality.

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2. Ariat Women’s Heritage Elite Full Seat in White

Purchased from: Dover Saddlery

Regular Price: $139.95

First Impressions: I was a little bit wary of these, I love pretty much all things Ariat, but their breeches have not fit me well in the past. They are also obviously a suede full seat, but beautiful quality as I’ve come to expect from Ariat.

Pros: The fabric is light and stretchy, very comfortable; the details on the pockets, the vent in the back of the waistband and the stitching are all top notch; the suede full seat is not as grippy as silicone, but very supple and cushiony, I would imagine they’d be very comfortable in the saddle; the breeches also have an interesting cut at the bottom of the full seat, where your knees would bend, seemingly designed to eliminate bunching when you’re in the saddle, which I’ve never seen before but I love the idea of.

Cons: I don’t love the fabric at the bottom of the legs, it’s sort of a perforated, jersey-type fabric, which probably ventilates well, but I’m not sure it would be as comfortable inside tall boots as the normal thin, stretchy fabric that most breeches have; the fit, while these fit much better than the last pair of Ariat breeches I tried, they still sit a little bit higher than a mid-rise and a little bit lower than a high-waist, and I feel like I’d be constantly pulling the waistband up.

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3. Kerrits Griptek II Full Seat in White

Purchased from: SmartPak

Regular Price: $119.00

First Impressions: I have a similar pair of Kerrit’s breeches in grey that I typically use on cross country schoolings, because the full seat is SO grippy. Every time I wear them it takes me some time to get used to them because they really suck you into the saddle. They are an older style, probably one of the earliest pair of breeches with that full seat material, and they are a pull-on breech, which is not my favorite. I can also never quite decide how I feel about white breeches with a black full seat, in that I usually like them a lot when I see other people wearing them, but I’m not typically drawn to them when shopping for myself.

Pros: Nearly everything! These breeches are basically a correction of everything I dislike about my older pair; they are an off-center front zip, which is a little different, but once they are fastened and especially once you have a belt on, I don’t think anyone could pick out anything different about them; the black material that the full seat is made out of is grippy, but not as extreme as my older pair and seems to be just the right amount, it’s also a bit perforated which seems to help with controlling the grip; they’ve also done away with the old-style elastic band around the ankles which mostly served to cut into your calf inside your boots.

Cons: The fabric is the slightest bit sheer once the breeches are on, but it probably won’t be an issue once you’re wearing a white show shirt (unlike the black T-shirt I had on for the photos) and once you’re sitting in the saddle.

 

4. Horze Daniela Women’s Silicone Full Seat Breeches in White

Purchased from: Horze.com

Regular Price: $79.99

First Impressions: I’ve never tried a pair of breeches from Horze before either, so I didn’t really know what to expect. I love the little bit pattern of the silicone full seat and the fabric is very similar to the Original Piper breeches, maybe a tiny bit slicker. These breeches also have a bit more of an old-school style waistband, wide in the front and wider in the back with a little vent above the very back belt loop.

Pros: For the price, these breeches are a lovely quality. The fabric and the full-seat material are very comfortable; they also don’t have a seam where the silicone ends on the front of the breech so that would prevent any possible bunching on the saddle or inside your boots; I also don’t mind the higher waist with a wide waistband, it provides a little extra support and you don’t have to worry about the waist of the breeches sliding down in or out of the saddle.

Cons: The front pocket is somewhat oddly placed, it runs vertically almost all the way on the hip/outer thigh of the breeches and is a bit bulky when they’re on; the breeches are also a bit long, I’m 5’3’’ for reference, and there was quite a bit of excess fabric around my ankles; the seat of the breeches seems to be a bit oddly stitched, there was a baggy area right at the top of the full seat that I couldn’t seem to correct no matter how I wore them, it probably wouldn’t be an issue in the saddle but doesn’t look great out of the saddle.

 

5. Piper Knit Breeches Mid-Rise Full Seat in White

Purchased from: SmartPak

Regular Price: $79.95 – I paid $68.36 with my SmartPerks and Association discounts

First impressions: I was so excited to try these breeches, I love all the Pipers I already have and I’ve been wanting to try a silicone full seat. When I first pulled these out of the package, the fabric reminded me of my very old school cotton jodhpurs, kind of heavy and overly smooth, definitely not the same fabric as the Original Pipers (duh, because they’re Knit Pipers!). The paisley-ish pattern of the silicone full seat is super cute.

Pros: Once I actually got these breeches on, I did a complete 180 about the fabric. It has a similar stretch to the Orignal Piper fabric but is a bit thicker and smoother; the silicone full seat seems to have the perfect consistency for good grip without being too much; these also have the omission of the back pockets which can be the slightest bit bulky in the saddle, while still having the front pockets which are polished and can come in handy.

Cons: I’m still not completely sold on the white on white, and I’m not sure how the silicone design will hold up to repeated use and washing; I wish these breeches had the slightly thicker waistband of the Original Pipers, they just have a single button closure in the front which feels a bit flimsy, I wish they’d kept just a bit more of the original design and incorporated the silicone full seat.

 

6. Bonus pair: Piper Breeches Original Full Seat in White

Purchased from: SmartPak

Regular Price: $89.95 – Eligible for SmartPerks and Association discounts

First Impressions: I got these breeches as a Christmas gift from my mom, who knew that I was ready to retire my current white breeches! These are the same cut, fabric and style as all of the (dozens of) original Piper breeches that I already own, so we both knew I’d love them right off the bat. 

Pros: The super stretchy, comfortable Piper fabric (if you haven’t tried these yet – in any color – where have you been?!); the light grey accents and full seat, I love the grey as a compromise between all white breeches and white breeches with a black full seat, I think it provides a little bit of dimension without being too extreme.

Cons: The full seat is still suede, which can certainly be remedied with a little bit of sticky spray, but I am interested in riding in some silicone full seat breeches to experiment with that extra built-in grip.

 

Honorable Mentions: There were a few brands that were suggested that I decided not to include in the comparison for various reasons. Some were out of my price range, some were unavailable in my size, some were only available from smaller or international websites where I wasn’t completely comfortable with the return policy situation. I’ll list the brands here in case you’d like to check them out!

 

Struck Apparel Women’s 50 Series Show in White

Regular Price: $299.95

These were obviously outside of my price range, however, at the time of writing, they did have certain colors and sizes on sale for HALF OFF ($149.95)! If you’re one of the lucky ones whose size is on sale, let me know how you like them!

 

GhoDho Pandora Show Breech in White

Regular Price: $225.00

I eliminated these for a few reasons. First, they were outside of the price range, but not so much that I wouldn’t have considered them. Second, they weren’t available in my size. Third, and probably the most important, I only saw them in knee patch, and I prefer full seat, for competitions especially. Again, these were on sale at the time of writing for $112.50 in size 28 and 30.

 

The Tailored Sportsman Trophy Hunter Full Seat Breeches in White

Regular Price: $229.95

I had a bit of a difficult time finding TS full seat breeches. I did find some, that also come in white, but I vetoed them because of their price, and because I have a few pair of hand-me-down TS breeches and I don’t love the way they fit me.

 

FITS PerforMAX Full Seat Breeches in White

Regular Price $269.00

These were the third highest priced breeches that I looked at. I actually have an older pair of FITS that I really like, they are so comfortable and have great grip. I moved away from the ones I have because they’re pull-on style, which is kind of a pain, especially when you’re changing in a tiny trailer tack room. These are front zip, which is even better, but I didn’t include these in the comparison because of the price and because I wanted to try some breeches with silicone grip, rather than deerskin.

 

Samshield Adele Breeches in White

Regular Price: $375.00

I am so out of the loop, I didn’t even know that Samshield made breeches until someone suggested these! They are obviously almost double the budget that I set for this experiment, but they are definitely gorgeous. I haven’t seen these in person or know anyone who’s worn these, so I can’t really speak to anymore than that!

 

Equiline Full Seat Breeches with X Grip in White

Regular Price: $375.00

Again, these are obviously almost twice the $200 limit that I set for myself, and I don’t know anything about them firsthand, but the fabric and fit look stunning.

 

Ovation Ladies’ Celebrity Euroweave DX Full Seat Breech in White

Regular Price: $99.95

These breeches are well within the price range, but the full seat is suede and I’m looking for something with a little bit more grip in the saddle.

 

HKM Breeches

I had a difficult time finding these in white. The breeches that I found were all priced under $200 but they were all in various colors, not white. 

 

The Winner

 

Winners I guess that is. After eliminating the Ariats and the Horze breeches, I had it narrowed down to the two versions of the white Pipers and the Kerrits breeches. I don’t think I can part with the Kerrits, they are really everything I’d like in a pair of show breeches, aside from the fact that I feel like the black and white is a bit too extreme of a contrast for the dressage arena (my personal opinion, I know lots of people who do wear them in dressage and more power to you!). That being said, I had to decide between the two Pipers. While I love the silicone full seat, I think there are still some kinks to work out in the design, and the Orignal Pipers just can’t be beat! As of now, my plan is to use the Pipers for Dressage and the Kerrits for Cross Country and Show Jumping. Here’s to the 2019 season in new, bright white breeches!

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