In the last ten years stirrups have seen a dramatic evolution. The traditional Fillis iron still plays a part, but you no longer have to settle for a basic look and feel. Stirrup options now include styles that take comfort and safety to the next level with new innovations.
Not only that, colour has become popular, providing riders with fun ways to express their style or team. Different disciplines can have specific stirrups rules, but for jumping stirrups, the sky’s the limit. So, what are the best stirrups for jumping?
1. Acavallo Opera Stirrup
Italian equestrian product innovator, Acavallo, expanded its product range into stirrups in the last few years. All their products are made in Italy to ensure only the highest quality is delivered.
The Opera stirrup brought a completely new stirrup design with its patented loop. You’ll notice that the slot where the stirrup leather goes is perpendicular to the saddle instead of horizontal.
This design keeps the stirrups hanging in the correct position and prevents any friction between the rider’s leg caused by the leathers twisting. By hanging in the right position, it is much easier to get your foot back in the stirrup should it slip out.
Another great plus of the Opera stirrup reported by riders is the comfort it gives their knees; a benefit of the wide footpad. The wide pad distributes pressure better, relieving tension that can affect hips, knees, and ankles; common areas of pain for riders. It also gives the feeling of stability, even though the stirrup itself is lightweight. The steel, cheese grater style pad provides excellent grip.
The Opera stirrup comes in two colour combinations, black and titan, and brown and titan. Perfect for the more conservative rider who wants a little bling without bright colours.
2. Freejump Soft’Up Pro +
The French company, Freejump, are pioneers in stirrup innovation. The company was one of the first to re-design stirrups for the modern, more discerning rider. The first result of this stirrup innovation by Freejump was the X’Up. From this came the Soft’Up and now the latest evolution is the Soft’Up Pro +.
The Soft’Up Pro + still incorporates the unique flexible stirrup branch that doesn’t attach at the top of the stirrup. This branch is made from Elastollan®. In the event of a fall, the branch pulls out, creating more room to help release the foot. The change from the classic Soft
Up to the Soft’Up Pro + is an extended footpad. The pad is now 1.6cm bigger, an increase of 27%, plus thicker. This extension provides even more foot and leg stability, something the classic version already does well. It also means more shock absorption to take the pressure off the rider’s joints.
The footpads of the Freejump Soft’Up Pro+ stirrups are very grippy, which in addition to the comfort provided by the design, make them excellent for jumping. The stirrups do not have a hole for leathers like other brands, but a unique bar that you hook specially designed Freejump leather onto.
Freejump stirrups come in a fun choice of colours, from the sedate black or brown to bright pink, blue or red.
3. Acavallo Alupro Stirrup Junior
The Avavallo Alupro Stirrup Junior is the brand’s version of a technical safety stirrup for kids. It is a kid’s version of the arena stirrup, developed after research and the popularity of the adult size.
The stirrups have a movable branch on the outside. When pressure is added during a fall, the branch will open wide allowing the foot to escape. The articulated arm is designed to prevent opening when not necessary and to avoid dirt getting into the joint.
The footbed has a wide tread to give children maximum stability and grip. The Alupro Junior is a big technical step away from the peacock stirrups of old, making jumping a safer activity for children.
The Acavallo Alupro Stirrups Junior are not only a great option for children’s jumping safety, but they also come in some pretty cool colours. It is important to note that these stirrups are made for children and have a weight limit of 80kg. They also will have a shorter space between the footbed and the top of the stirrup, meaning shoe size is important. Should your child be wearing adult sizes, the adult version is probably more suitable to ensure maximum safety.
4. Flex-On Safe-On Safety Stirrup
Flex-On took the equestrian world by storm with their fun and innovative stirrups that provided superior foot grip, stability, and shock absorption. It wasn’t just the excellent technical aspects that have made these stirrups so popular. The previously unseen selection of colours and the ability to change to the colour bar at the top of the stirrup saw riders rushing to get a pair.
On the success of the Flex-On stirrup, the French company has come out with its version of a safety stirrup, the Flex-On Safe-On. Keeping all the cool features of the original design Safe-On stirrups are a bit different than other options on the market.
Instead of an opening in the arm or a moving branch, the Safe-On stirrup’s outside branch will pop off under the right amount of pressure. You can re-attach it with a key supplied when you buy the stirrups.
The technical aspects of these stirrups provide an excellent base for the rider when jumping. Now with the Safe-On, there is an extra layer of safety. Flex-On stirrups offer the most diverse choice of colours compared to other brands. They even have a custom option where you can create your own colour combination.
5. LeMieux Vector Balance Stirrup
LeMieux has long been a brand known for offering high-quality equestrian products. The Vector Balance Stirrup is their new technical stirrup offering and is a great option for jumping.
Unlike some modern stirrups, the LeMieux Vector Balance Stirrup is made from a strong, lightweight aluminium instead of composite brittle plastics. The specially designed footbed absorbs a high percentage of shock and vibrations, an element that increases with jumping. It also has a cross-track gripping system that provides a secure feel on its wide footbed.
The shape of the stirrup has a slightly off-set frame to allow the stirrup to stay laying in the correct position, making it easier to find your stirrup if you lose it. On the outside of the stirrup is the safety arm with features that prevent it from activating by accident.
The arm is spring-loaded and will stay secure when the pressure increases on landing from a jump. However, when the rider’s weight isn’t distributed evenly in the stirrup, and the foot puts pressure on the arm in a fall situation, it will spring open allowing the foot out.
The LeMieux Vector Balance Stirrup comes in three colours – black/aluminium, aluminium, and black. The aluminium is great for riders who want a more classic look but features suitable for jumping and safety.
6. Tech Stirrups
Tech Stirrups, an Italian company, are the latest company to bring their innovation to stirrup design. They come in a couple of different styles to suit different needs. The best Tech Stirrups for Jumping are the Venice safety stirrups.
These come in three types, sloped, standard, and cushioned. The shock-absorbing stirrup has a footbed that moves with the foot. This is excellent for jumping as it ensures security at every phase of the jump.
The stirrups are made from strong aluminium and an articulating arm that releases from the top of the stirrup. Tech Stirrups claims that their stirrups have the widest opening of any other type on the market.
To prevent accidental opening the arm is secured with a magnet or rubber ring at the top, depending on which style you choose. The bottom of the arm has a feature that prevents the foot from sliding into the arm and mistakenly opening it.
The arm will only open when a certain pressure is applied, such as that which occurs in a fall. The spring mechanism allows that arm to close again after the foot is released. This adds another layer of safety, reducing the risk of the stirrup getting caught on something.
The choice for riders today is wide and varied. With new innovations always coming out, every rider will be able to find stirrups for jumping that suit them.