Suede or Silicone?
My Thoughts on Breeches Knee Patches
MES x KAVAL
When it comes to hunter/jumper breeches, suede knee patches are a tried and true classic. Over the last few years however, brands have been breaking the mold and designing breeches with silicone knee patches. This grippy material is often considered modern, sporty and ideal for the jumper ring. More recently, you will see these silicone patches integrated into the hunter and equitation rings as well.
My opinion? I really do like both. When considering which is my favorite, I thought through two factors: functionality and style.
Functionality is obviously important because if my breeches are uncomfortable or not doing their job well, I cannot do my job to the best of my ability. Quite honestly, I don’t notice a big difference between the two styles once I start riding. Realistically, only the very top portion of the knee patch is visible once tall boots or half chaps are on. The knee patch has always been part of the traditional riding habit, but I think English riding has changed since then. We really don’t (or at least shouldn’t!) rely on our knee for strength or stability while riding. Activating the knee joint inward toward the saddle engages the inner thigh, and because the knee is a hinge, the other part of that joint often relaxes. This pinching with the knee often causes a rider to not drop down into his/her heels resulting in not properly using the lower leg against the horse’s side. So all that being said, I think the knee patch is used more as a decorative tradition. I do think it does help for added durability for the pant. Because I feel this way, I do not have a strong functional preference between the two types of knee patches... which means it now comes down to my other factor: style!
I think the type of patch all comes down to the type of outfit I’m going for. Of course if you want to look classic, the suede patch is hands down the way to go. If you are going for more of a modern edge, the silicone design is really cool.
I got four pairs of breeches from KAVAL that I just love, all for different reasons! Two are suede patches and two are silicone. The grey pair is the classic Tailored Sportsman breeches with a gorgeous darker grey patch. These breeches go with so much because they really work with both stable and street styles! The second pair are the gorgeous stone colored breeches by Callidae. I love these breeches! They are amazing show pants (or everyday riding) and I think they look so classy and sophisticated. I will say, I do find suede patches to feel a little sturdier, which isn’t necessarily better, but if you prefer more of a secure and structured feel to your breeches, suede may be your go-to.
The silicone feels a bit different. The two KAVAL breeches I snagged we’re these white Equiline breeches with black piping and the navy MakeBe breeches. The MakeBe pants feel almost like spandex or leggings but with the security of a waist band and zipper. They are both very modern and sporty! I tend to enjoy these when the weather is warmer, as they feel a bit more breathable and stretchy. I love the added pattern to the look when I wear the silicone breeches.
I paired all of these breeches with tops you could swap out from your 1/4 zip riding top for easy transition to run errands in or go to lunch! You can get all of these breeches and more on KAVAL’s website!