A couple years ago, a particular stirrup leather made the rounds as the hottest new tack item – a leather with a wider surface area, intended to create stability and comfort, similar to the wide fenders of a western saddle. The thing that’s kept me from getting a pair of these leathers has been that they’re not nylon lined and therefore more susceptible to stretching, and whenever I’ve seen them in person they’ve appeared thick and stiff.
This year, Total Saddle Fit came out with their version of a wide stability stirrup leather, which features a nylon-lined calfskin portion attached to a wide buffalo leather portion. Right out of the box, they were soft, flexible, and didn’t seem like they’d need a lot of break-in time. I put some conditioner on the wide buffalo portion and rolled the leather with my hands to help break in and soften the leather, and within two rides they were no longer rubbing my saddle and completely disappeared under my leg. These leathers feel high-quality and well-made, and they didn’t look one bit out of place on my dark chocolate brown Voltaire saddle. Voltaire leathers aren’t the most durable in my opinion, as the holes have stretched a significant amount and the leather around the holes doesn’t hold up. After a month of riding in the TSF leathers, they don’t seem to have stretched at all, look brand new, and are super easy to wipe down.
As for how they perform: these leathers do what they are advertised to do and provide stability and support, but truth be told I prefer my old ones. It’s purely personal preference, like how some riders prefer a flat seat to a deep seated saddle. While some feel “stuck” in a deeper seat, I prefer it and often feel perchy in a flatter seat. In this case, I’ve found that I prefer the option to have more range of motion and a better feeling of contact in my leg (something I never would have realized unless I tried these). I thought I loved the stability until I rode in my other leathers for the first time in a month the other day. You can definitely tell a difference – I’d describe it as a more secure, supported feeling in your lower leg. Whether or not that difference is for you is going to be preference. They cost $139.95, which I think is a great price for a nice pair of leathers, especially ones that I expect will be very durable. TSF has such phenomenal customer service (including free shipping both ways and a great return policy), so if you think you’d like that added stability, they’re absolutely worth a try!
Size Tip: My Voltaire leathers (and my CWD ones before that) are both 54″, so I figured that would be a good length but I should have gotten the 48″ – I was on the very top hole in these leathers.
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Disclosure: Total Saddle Fit Stability Stirrup Leathers were provided for the purpose of this review. All opinions in this review remain 100% truthful and my own. Links are not sponsored.