I think it’s high time I start actually getting around to reviewing things since I have no life right now haha. I’ve had a lot of things for a good long while now, so I should start getting them out. One of those things are the Composite Reflex Wide-Track Stirrups. I’ve had them since June 2017, so it’s been nearly 2 years that they’ve been in my possession. I’ve had the regular, Composite Lightweight Stirrups for a much shorter amount of time, but this will be a bit of a compare and contrast for the two stirrup types.
First I’ll go over the composite lightweight stirrups. I believe I bought these probably when I got my saddle – April of 2017 (sorry guys my memory doesn’t go back that far and I’m too lazy to really go back through my pictures lol. Because it could’ve also been like Jan or Feb 2017…. lol). After watching eventing in 2016, and beginning to follow some bloggers’ adventures, the ERM series, and anything else eventing that I could latch on to, I was very intrigued by the black stirrup look. I grew up riding in the hunter ring, so it was navy coat, tan breeches, black boots, oakbark tack and Fillis irons. I had also been out of the English world for 13 years, and eventing was so very different from the other English disciplines as well. It was bright, it was fun, there was color, and after riding Western with all that bling I was really loving all the xc possibilities.
After trying out my mom’s regular Fillis irons, they were heavy and the balls of my feet would hurt like crazy with those – so much so it’d make my toes numb. So I searched around for a stirrup with more padding, and that’s when I found the composite stirrups. I was immediately interested in those – perhaps they wouldn’t be as hard as metal, and they’d be lighter as well as having a nice, thick pad. So, I grabbed the composite lightweight stirrups – in royal of course because 1) color and 2) it matched all of Amber’s royal accessories and 3) because why not? I really liked them when they first came; they were just as light as advertised, and I loved how the royal looked so fun with Amber’s stuff. They were nicely padded, and I could tell that my feet felt a lot better in these.
But, after only 3 or so rides, the balls of my feet started hurting again. And I was really disappointed. I really liked these, but numb feet are no joke and quite painful. Since there were good things with these stirrups, I decided to stick with the composite but search for other options. At that time, a few bloggers were discussing how their feet felt better in a wide stirrup bed – distribution of pressure and all that. I hadn’t ever really thought of that, especially after being away from English for a while, but once I read that it made so much sense – my feet never hurt like that in Western stirrups, even when the length was short. Of course – wider foot bed. So with that light bulb in mind I went back to RW, found the composite wide tread stirrups, and snapped them up.
I was quite hesitant with these at first. There was no padding – only a lot of grip that I was afraid would still hurt quite a bit when I used them. I nearly got the black with the blue again, but I thought the all-black would be a good compare/contrast for me. And it turned out that I just really love the all-black look with my saddle. Can’t quite tell you why, but I do lol. But, since I’ve been using them for about the past two years, I’ve never looked back.
At first, my feet hurt a little bit. I wasn’t used to the grate on stirrups, so I’d take my feet out, roll my toes and check to see if my toes were numb. While the pressure was different, I didn’t have any numb toes. And then, after about 3 rides, my feet stopped hurting. And they haven’t hurt since. The only time my feet did hurt was when it was cold, I was wearing the wrong socks with my non-winter tall boots, and my entire foot was numb haha. But that wasn’t the stirrups’ fault haha. Once my foot got used to the newer stirrups, my feet have been great. My arches have hurt less, and these definitely distribute the pressure a lot more evenly than a narrower foot bed. Personally, I think these have helped my knees a little as well, but to be really honest I can’t completely tell. I still get a few pangs, but they’re few and far between than the once a week when I rode in the Fillis irons and the narrow composite ones.
The grate on these stirrups is super grippy. I think my feet have come out of these stirrups exactly twice – once in my lesson with Lit when he spooked at the canter and I nearly fell off the side (and once I jammed my foot back in the stirrup I had to actually lift my leg up to reposition my foot), and the second time when Soxie got too close to the rail and knocked my foot out of it lol. So these have a lot of really good grip to them. I’ve even used them with my dressage saddle, and I really like that even with a draped leg, my feet stay in the stirrup right where I place them – no slipping and sliding. Plus, because they’re composite, they’re very light, which is a wonderful change to very heavy western saddles. Granted, English saddles are generally much lighter, but I liked that these added very little weight.
This isn’t to say that the lightweight composite stirrups aren’t good. Not at all – I really liked them when I used them, especially with their fun, colorful options, and they’re a great stirrup for a lot of people. And at a little over $30, you really can’t beat that. For me, though, I needed something with a wider tread that distributed pressure, and those are a better fit for me than the regular ones. The wide tread comes in at a little over $40, so these absolutely don’t break the bank, either. Also, the regular composite stirrups don’t have the grip like the wide tread does, so I could see my feet coming out of those easier than the wide tread. The padding is a pretty good grip – it’ll stick to the bottom of your boots, but if you’re jumping or running xc where it’s a lot easier for your feet to slip around, I would suggest going for the wide tread versus the regular.
For that, I give the Wide Tread stirrups a 5/5, and the Lightweight stirrups a 4/5.
For anyone eyeing these stirrups, I hoped my review helped!