The older I get, the more a long ride hurts. My knees I keep happy with jointed stirrups and longer leathers, but this year my feet started to go numb. Not during every ride, but longer rides with shorter stirrups did it every time.
This summer I started to think about replacing my stirrups — I remembered that years ago, when my husband has a Western saddle, I had endurance stirrups on it. They had wider footbeds that were also padded. They were so comfortable!
There are very few traditional English stirrup irons that offer you a padded, wide bed. I also already own jointed stirrups and was loathe to trade them in as I think they are key to keeping my knees happy.
While browsing at SmartPak I came across the Super Comfort Stirrup pads and bought one set to try. They are easy to install (you remove your existing pad and wrap the Super Comfort pad around the iron, securing them with three cable ties) and I found that they are 1) more comfortable (they make the footbed wider and give a more cushiony feel) and 2) are MUCH more secure. The surface is very grippy and I’ve found that even in wet weather, my foot doesn’t move at all.
I hunted with these stirrup pads all fall and they definitely have helped. I never lost my stirrups or felt my foot slip. The numbness is much improved — actually, I realized how much better my feet feel with these stirrup pads when I switched saddles for a hunt and rode in regular stirrups. It was a long hunt — about 3 hours — and my feet were completely numb. I think I’ll have to buy these stirrup pads for my other irons, too.