I won’t even lie – I love breeches. A great pair of breeches makes me feel like I can tackle anything, from a dressage test to cross country. From bright colors and bold patterns to conservative tan, I’ve lost count of how many pairs of breeches I actually own.

Most recently, I’ve fallen in love with the Smartpak Piper breeches. I own a bluejean and brown knee patch pair and a charcoal and light grey fullseat pair. Please don’t ask me to choose between them because I don’t think I could! I also have a pair of the Smartpak Bradley Elite Knee Patch breeches in tan; I was lucky enough to find this pair used!

Since I’ve ridden in both styles of breeches, I decided to do a review and comparison of both! They’re all fantastic, so it’s impossible to pick a favorite; however, I do have things I like about both styles.

Piper Knee Patch and Fullseat

Bluejean Pipers looking sharp in the jumper ring. Suzanne Fisher Photography
Bluejean Knee Patch Pipers looking sharp in the jumper ring. (c) Suzanne Fisher Photography

I adore the fabric of the Piper breeches. With the perfect amount of stretch, these breeches move with me perfectly. I do find that I have to wear a belt with them or they sag slightly when I’m riding, but I wear a belt anyway, so it’s not a big deal!  I’ve also found that the calves fit slightly tight. If I wear the Pipers all day, my legs definitely have the marks to show for it when I take them off.

The Pipers are perfect for schooling or showing. Even the bright colors can look great in the show ring – I rocked mine in the jumpers at the New Vocations Charity show this year! I also love that Smartpak has come up with a “Piper Classic” breech in more conservative colors. The time isn’t always right for the bright colors, and I love having the option. Plus, I’ve heard it from Smartpak on Twitter that they’re working on a pair of white Piper Fullseats that I am 100% going to buy for dressage.

So ready for white Piper Fullseats.
So ready for white Piper Fullseats.

The fullseat Pipers are just as great as the knee patches! I’ve never felt so secure in my seat as when I wear these breeches. The first time I rode in them it was a whole new experience for me. I’ve always been a knee patch kind of person, coming from the hunter jumper world, but these fullseats have made a convert out of me. I’m pretty sure I will eventually buy every single color that Smartpak makes.

With a totally reasonable price of less than $100 for knee patch and fullseat options, the Pipers are a fantastic breech for everyone. Like the tagline says, they’re too fun to have just one!

Bradley Knee Patch

Bradleys in a lesson with Canadian Olympian Bruce Mandeville. Sophie Dash Photography
Bradleys in a lesson with Canadian Olympian Bruce Mandeville. (c) Sophie Dash Photography

I bought my pair of Bradleys used, but I’m pretty sure that they’re the Bradley Elite Knee Patch breeches. I’m not sure that I like them as much as the Pipers that I own. I don’t like the fit quite as much as the Pipers – the Bradleys sit lower, which doesn’t work as well for my body. I also found the fabric to be a little bit scratchy.

These breeches do look great! I recently wore my pair in a clinic with Canadian Olympian Bruce Mandeville, and I think they looked as sharp as my Tailoreds. I’m pretty persnickety about looking good in lessons and clinics, so I was pleased that these were able to fill in for my more expensive breeches, but I still looked just as put together.

I’d love to try the soft-shell version of the Bradleys as well. Maybe that will be my next Smartpak purchase! The Bradley breech runs a little bit more expensive, coming in just over $100 a pair.

Overall Thoughts

Overall, Smartpak has made two fantastic product lines. I love finding breech brands that offer a range of sizes in bold colors and patterns, all for a reasonable price. I found that the sizing ran a little bit small overall, and I went for the 36 instead of a 34. I absolutely adore that Smartpak is making breeches for larger riders. So many companies only make up to a size 32, 34 if I’m lucky. It’s frustrating, to say the least.

I would absolutely recommend the Smartpak Piper and Bradley breeches. The breeches are a quality product at a fantastic, affordable price. I love that I can get a show ring ready look on a budget, which is exactly what this blog is all about!

Shop Piper Breeches

Shop Bradley Breeches

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