I chose to purchase a pair of after attempting to save some money and getting a pair of SmartPak lined leathers. They were ridiculously thick and didn't seem like oiling them would do anything. Buy quality and only cry once is pretty much my favorite idiom (my husband always adds that we're still crying). Anyway, I'm not a fan of lined leathers and wanted something of quality that would last a while.
I ordered the 53" in brown while they had a sale going on. I'm 5'6 or 7 but have a long torso with shorter legs. In hindsight, I probably should have ordered the 49" as I tend to ride with them on the fourth hole. Buying directly from the company usually means shipping time is lacking, but I ordered these on a Saturday and they arrived the following Wednesday.
When they arrived they were obviously quality leather, but also very thick and stiff. I broke them in a bit before riding in them by following the company's directions of running them back and forth each across a bar. I just used my dining table's leg and then generously oiled. They soaked up the oil super well and seem like they'll last a long time.
I really can't make claims as to whether or not they help me hold my leg in place, but they do prevent discomfort from too much bulk. I also wholly appreciate not getting pinched. The buckle's prong is quite sharp so you have to be careful when adjusting stirrup length while mounted.
All in all, I think that wider leathers are a brilliant idea and these ones are simple, well-made and just as affordable as comparable quality leather. Ten out of ten, would recommend. Though my trainer always makes comments like, "Oh, I've never seen anything like these before!" and makes everyone come and look and I'm like... okay, yes, I'm a slave to Instagram: YOU DON'T HAVE TO SHOW EVERYONE.
MDC Super Sport Stirrups
I've always, ALWAYS wanted some flexible Royal Rider stirrups. My ankles have been messed up since I was a kid, as equestrians everywhere can relate, and I wanted to relieve whatever pain I could as a weak and frail adult re-rider (seriously, when I stand up from my desk at work I have at least four joints pop audibly). However, my bubble was burst after finding out that black stirrups aren't legal in hunters and equitation. The search was on to find comfortable, flexible stirrups that were also show-legal. MDC kept coming up in my searches and I decided to give them a try.
The flexible hinge is the most obvious benefit, and it works really well, but I also really appreciate the adjustable stirrup positions: traditional, 45-degree and 90-degree. I usually use the 45-degree position per George Morris's recommendation on foot position. The inside bar of the stirrup (closest to the horse) should sit at the ball of the foot while the outside bar is angled towards the pinky toe. The foot bed is also plenty wide and I'm happy to report that my foot hasn't fallen asleep while riding since using these. I didn't realize that until writing this review, but this used to be a huge issue while riding when I was younger and using classic stirrup irons. Overall, these stirrups are well worth the money and I already know they'll last forever... and as my husband would say, buy quality in the horse world and just keep crying.