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Grips in breeches — everything you should know. A unique compendium!

Published: 2022-04-12 14:56:16 Categories: Guides Rss feed , Products Rss feed


One of the crucial criteria while picking a specific pair of equestrian breeches is the right grip. What should you know so that you can pick the most appropriate one? Good equestrian breeches are crucial for the rider’s comfort and safety, however, the diversity of models and variants may make your head spin. Various brands, types of material, sizes, waist types, and finally – full or knee grips – mean a lot of possibilities. With our guide, you will pick the breeches that will serve their function properly.

What is the purpose of a grip in equestrian breeches?

Equestrian breeches are designed in such a way as to provide the rider with maximal comfort. Breeches are tight pants with no seams in places where they touch the saddle, they smoothly stick to the body and do not create any folds or breaks (and to look elegantly), and the elastic material provides freedom of movement. Cavalry breeches are a special variation. They are boofy on the seat and thighs, tighter on the calves. However, today, we will focus on standard equestrian breeches used in horse riding.

An important element that distinguishes breeched from regular pants or leggings is the grip. It provides the rider with better stability and adhesion to the saddle, which is especially important for beginners. Grips also guarantee better protection from chafing and prevent quick wearing of the material. Thus, they prove so practical, they are commonly used in equestrian breeches of many various producers.

Two types of grips — full and short one

A grip is a type of reinforcement of the pants in the places of contact with the saddle. The two available grips differ in size. Modern breeches with full grip are the ones where the reinforcement goes from the middle of the calf through the inner side of the thighs to the buttocks. That means that the reinforcing material improving adhesion covers the whole surface of the rider’s body that touches the saddle, at the same time providing better protection from chafing. A knee grip (or: a short one, half-grip) appears only on the knees (on the inner side). Its advantage is better elasticity and breathability of the horse riding breeches.

Kingsland Classic breeches with silicone grip
Example of silicone full seat breeches (silicone grip marked in red)
Kingsland Classic silicone grip breeches
Example of knee grip breeches (silicone grip area marked in red)

Choosing the right type of breeches grip

If you are wondering which grip to pick for your equestrian breeches, keep in mind that full grips are usually recommended for beginner riders as they significantly improve stability and stick to the saddle excellently. They facilitate keeping the proper position while riding and they allow riders who have not yet mastered a stable seat to feel more secure in the saddle. Full grips are usually preferred by dressage riders. Breeches with full grips were designed for them. Breeches with knee grips, on the other hand, are dedicated to jumping riders and people with more experience. However, this division is just a hint. The choice should always be made based on what you expect and what you need.

Grips in breeches — various materials

Through the years, various materials have been used to make the grips in breeches. The most popular options are:

  • material grip — the simplest and cheapest type. It is created by sewing a second layer of material (e.g. cotton) in proper places. Some riders value this type of grip because of its low cost, elasticity, and elongating the durability of equestrian breeches. A material grip will not provide better stability in the saddle.
    Women's riding breeches with material grip
    Example of material knee grip in Makebe women's breeches
  • leather grip — formerly, it was made of natural leather. Currently, this option is rarely used because such a grip is difficult in maintenance. Modern-day leather grips are usually made of suede-like material or synthetic leather. This solution allows them not to shrink in washing and not to stiffen after months of use. Even though it is the stiffest material, it is very durable. This option looks great for a long time and serves its purpose. The structure of the material provides better stability in the saddle and excellently protects from chafing.
    Women's, navy Pikeur breeches with full seat leather grip
    Example of breeches with leather grip
  • silicone grip — currently, the most popular type that has taken over the equestrian market and comes in many variants. It provides excellent adhesion and minimizes the number of seams, at the same time providing breathability and perfect fit to the rider’s body. Each of these may be used for both full and knee grips.
    Beige women's breeches with full seat silicone grip - Equishop Team collection
    Example of silicone grip breeches

Equestrian breeches with silicone grip — functionality first

Breeches with a silicone grip are made by overprinting small points or shapes of synthetic material in the area of the grip directly onto the material. Another type is made of silicone elements melted into the material, which provides better durability than overprinting elements onto the fabric. With such technology, the breeches have fewer seams, which positively affects the rider’s comfort. Equestrian pants with this type of grip remain breathable and comfortable, and the grip’s material guarantees excellent adhesion and makes it easier to stabilize the seat.

Samshield women's full grip breeches
Samshield silicone full grip breeches
Animo women's full seat silicone breeches
Animo Italia silicone full seat breeches

It is worth mentioning that every brand uses slightly different materials to make their silicone grips. As result, e.g. denim breeches with a silicone grip from Animo may vary from a similar model from Samshield with the stickiness of the silicone elements. Click here to see the chart with a comparison of the adhesiveness of silicone grips from various producers.

Samshield women's silicone knee grip breeches
Samshield breeches with silicone knee patch
Bryczesy z lejem kolanowym damskie Animo
Animo Italia breeches with knee patch
Bryczesy z lejem kolanowym damskie Pikeur
Pikeur breeches with silicone knee grip

Does the silicone pattern on the grip affect the comfort and adhesiveness?

Silicone grips take the form of overprinted dots, logotypes of the producers, stripes, or other details. Even though the shape of the patterns has no meaning and at the first glance they are all similar, the size of particular elements and placement matter greatly. Silicone decreases the elasticity and breathability of the material, which is why small elements seem to be the better solution. However, big silicone elements – especially when it comes to full grips – may cause the adhesiveness to the saddle (and everything else you sit on) to be… too great. Big elements wear off more quickly. The best option would be breeches with a full silicone grip made of small separated elements.

Leather, material, or silicone grip? Which one?

Breeches with silicone grips are currently the most popular ones and they have dominated the equestrian market with producers offering various models with this solution. After testing out a few models, you will easily find your favorite one. This type significantly increases adhesiveness in the saddle. However, you will still find riders who keenly pick grips made of leather as they value their durability and protection from chafing – even at the cost of worse elasticity and breathability. Material grips (made e.g. of cotton) – even though at attractive prices – are less and less often picked by riders due to their poor effectiveness.

The most versatile and currently accessible are equestrian breeches with a silicone grip. However, if you are considering another option, just try it out and check what you need! Full comfort while riding should always come first on your list of priorities.

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