The Best Ice Boots for Horses - Buyers Guide
Posted on March 22 2022
Ice boots are a practical solution for icing your horse’s limbs after exercise or injury. Choosing the best ice boots for your horse depends on your budget and the facilities that you have available to you. There are a few things to look out for to help you choose.
The best ice boots for horses will have extended coverage that provides a greater area of cooling for the tendons and ligaments of the lower limb. Economical alternatives will only cover the area between the knee and fetlock. While this is often a key area of concern and some cooling benefit will naturally spread, it should be noted that tendons attach to the muscle above the knee and extend all the way behind the fetlock, attaching to the bones of the pastern.
Compression is an additional feature of some ice boots. On a basic level, compression helps to improve cooling by maintaining more direct contact with the skin. Effective compression may also improve recovery by helping to halt inflammation and reduce fluid accumulation, and then flushing the area with blood once the compression is removed.
Practicality is likely to be a key deciding factor when choosing the best ice boots for your horse. Most use gel packs that are entirely separate from the boot making them ideal for popping in your home freezer. Better icing coverage inevitably comes with a larger gel pack for freezing. Cold water boots are an option for when freezing is not possible.
Vibrating Ice Boots
Vibrating ice boots for horses are available but our research could not justify their use. It is generally advised that vibration should not be used with acute injury, nor should it be applied directly to joints, this rules out most uses in horses. There is also a notable lack of research in athletes relating to the combination of ice and vibration therapy, which suggests a lack of usefulness. The only study we could find concluded that adding vibration to icing did not improve measures of circulation, contradicting the idea that this could provide the best of both worlds (1).
To remove accumulated fluid it is more effective to use compression and promote circulation. Hoof socks are excellent for the lower limb and can usually be used on your horse’s knee or hock, just be careful they’re not too tight.
The Best Ice Boots for Horses 2022
Retail prices accurate as of March 2022.
1. Cryochaps Compression Ice Wraps for Horses (RRP £91.99 / pair)
Top of our list, the Cryochap is an original and much-copied English design. It has been developed to maximise coverage and compression for excellent cold transfer and recovery support. They are a highly technical ice boot offered at a fair price.
Cryochaps offer excellent coverage that extends behind the knee and around the fetlock joint. The longitudinal panels in the gel pack help the boots to conform to your horse's leg allowing for effective compression by the fitted outer wrap.
Recent Cryochaps updates have increased the amount of gel for improved contouring and longer storage time ahead of use.
The gel packs are lined with a comfortable felt-like material, designed to go straight against your horse’s skin. The outer wrap is attached which means that there are no separate parts to keep track of, but they are less convenient for keeping in your household freezer.
Cryochaps ice wraps are available in front or hind pairs, or you can save with a quad pack for post-exercise recovery. They are supplied in a drawstring carry case.
Cryochaps is a British company, their boots are made in China.
2. Kentucky Cryo Ice Boots for Horses (RRP £133.99 / pair)
Always popular, Kentucky Horsewear's take on the ice boot for horses also offers good coverage that extends behind the fetlock.
The gel inserts are easy and clean to keep in your home freezer. The gel sits inside a mesh liner that detaches from the neoprene outer. They are also contoured with longitudinal panels, helping them to conform to your horse's leg.
Kentucky has lined their ice boot with a reflective material that is designed to help keep the boot colder for longer.
Kentucky Cryo Ice Boots are available in one size, suitable for use on front or hind legs. Supplied in a simple, zipped carry case.
Kentucky is a Belgium company, Cryo Ice Boots are made in China.
3. Premier Equine Cold Water Compression Boots (RRP £52.00 / pair)
These are a great little boot if you do not have the luxury of being able to use a freezer.
Premier Equine’s Cold Water Compression boots conform well to your horse’s leg, offering good compression which may help with cooling and to speed recovery.
The cooling fabric encases the fetlock joint for better coverage compared to more basic ice boots.
Incredibly easy to use, these boots simply need to be soaked in water for 5-8minutes to activate the fabric. Water absorption starts a chemical reaction that reduces the temperature to 6-12 degrees beneath ambient. The mesh outer allows airflow to help maintain the cool temperature.
Cold water boots will not achieve the same level of cooling as ice, but they are still effective and a great choice if you are unable to use a freezer or to keep on the lorry.
Premier Equine Cold Water Compression Boots are available in sizes M, L and XL for use on front or hind legs. Supplied in a simple zipped carry case.
Premier Equine is a British company, Cold Water Compression boots are made in China.
4. Woof Wear Ice Boots for Horses (RRP £59.99 / pair)
A simple ice boot that wins the best value for money award. The gel inserts sit alongside your horse's tendons helping to cool the area most often in need.
The ice packs are inserted into a simple 'sports medicine boot' style wrap, which is very quick and easy to apply and remove.
While they will not perform as well as our top ice boots, they are an excellent choice if you need something more economical. The gel packs are easy to freeze and take up little space, and they are easily replaced if needed.
Available in one size for use on front or hind legs. Supplied boxed without a carry case.
Woof Wear is a British brand with great heritage, their Ice Boots are made in China.
5. eQuick eArtick Ice Boots for Horses (RRP £125.00 / pair)
There's a lot to love about the eArtik ice boot for horses. It is of great quality and we find it the easiest and most convenient to use. The downside is that it is one of the more expensive options despite offering less cooling coverage than Cryochaps or Kentucky Cryo Ice Boots.
As with the Woof Wear Ice Boot, the eArtik uses standard gel packs that slip inside a mesh insert to cool the tendons. These are longer than the Woof ice packs, maximising coverage of the main tendon area, but they do not extend around the fetlock.
The boot itself has an excellent quality, tough outer. The more rigid shell makes the boot easier to handle and put on, and insulation helps the eArtik to stay cold during transport and wear.
eArtik ice boots are available in one size for use on front or hind legs. Supplied in branded carry case, purposely designed for the ice boots.
eQuick boots are made in Italy, they are one of the very few Ice Boots made within Europe.
If you would like any advice on choosing the best ice boots for horses, you can contact us. We scour the market for all of the best horse boots and are always happy to offer experienced, impartial advice.
(1) G. Hobbins, L.N. Zaidell, K.M. Mileva &. S.P. Hunter (2015) The effects of ice and vibration on exercise performance, haemodynamics and vasoreactivity after intense exercise. Sport and Exercise Science Research Centre, London South Bank University, London, UK.