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
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.
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
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, 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!