Why should I be considering the GSM before I purchase my riding leggings?
Have you ever bought a couple of pairs of riding leggings from several different brands and been shocked by the huge difference in all the pairs you have? Some may be great or the complete opposite, see-through, rip easily at the seams, not enough stretch, lose shape in the wash or simply poor quality which baubles after one sit in the saddle. If so, have a read through our quick fire-guide to help you choose and get the best out of your riding leggings. Here at Horzehoods our focus is always on the fabric manufacturing, at which we create our own specially blended fabric roll made in a mixed content chosen by us. We work alongside a special textile specialist in our team to ensure our fabric meets the needs of every product we develop to make them fully functional for the purpose of use.
Let us discuss GSM, what is GSM?
GSM in technical terms simply means “grams per square meter” and it is used to measure fabric weight. On average the GSM ranges from as low as 100 to 360 GSM. Following on from extensive research in to all types of riding leggings, we set a task to create them in all GSM weights and have our team physically ride in them for over 12 months to develop our ‘perfect gsm’ we found a good all year round GSM would be in the middle at 280GSM. This is a perfect middle ground, meaning they are warm, yet lightweight, stretch with the flexibility needed for long hours riding and more importantly are non-see through/squat proof. We found with leggings for performance in the saddle keeping them lightweight but bounce back.
At Horzehoods we also played about with textile to combine with leggings & base layers to make them with breathable ‘AirMesh’ Panels for over the 280 GSM Fabrics to create extra warmth with double panelling that is fully breathable and creates air circulation. This can be seen on the black panels of all our ‘AirMesh Venters’.
For White Leggings & light Competition colours we always use a thicker weave at a huge 320+GSM. Our original pairs we brought out were not good enough for us (were very picky!) so we reduced them and brought out the new 'ContraFlex' with grey seat. This gives further squat proof asset and minimalist chance possible of the embarrassment of see through underwear. You cannot go higher than a 350GSM without the fabric losing design, flex and fit and then not becoming a legging and more of a breech. We suggest before purchasing riding leggings from any brand always check out the GSM before purchasing to help you know exactly what you will be receiving in the post.
Your seat? What seat would you choose? (Yes their is a huge difference in how a full seta is made)....
When choosing your seat type one could think there are literally two options 1)Full Seat or 2)No seat. In theory, yes those are the two types that are descriptively sold, however there is a lot more theory around the seat.
Below: Non Seat Venters
Below Full Seat Venters:
Non Seat can be slippy depending on the fabric. Regardless of how experienced your seat is, if your using a recently polished saddle and have non seats on sat on a sharp youngster then of course any help such as seat stability is appreciated. You also have on the market full seat's, but do look into this more as a full seat can usually be sold when it is more than a full seat, they may have thick gel covered throughout the back seats and all the way along the inside and back legs right to the ankle. We tend to avoid a Full Leg Seat, they can cause friction and thick gel really can become to sticky and restrictive giving you that held in feeling. We do several contrasting designs, so our Venters have very subtle tiny diamond silicone seat panels, these are purposely shaped down in to a V shape just on the seat panels, they are perfect for all riders from amateur, happy hackers to Dressage and Show Jumping riders as they really do not hold any form of restrictions in both 2 point or deep seat. They are a sole performance tight and built for in the saddle.
The ContraFlex design we do has a more fuller seat but again is silicone not gel and dotty shaped to avoid a stuck in feel, with this we panelled it further down the leg to finish 3 quarter way.
Further more the Jeggings only have a partial seat of silicone, so simply on the buttocks and top back thigh area.
When purchasing leg wear do look into what you want them for and whether they are gel or silicone, are they subtle or would they cover the full seat 'and' leg area in thick gel holding you in to much. We try to design everything to enhance your riding. We do not use thick gel and we do not cover the full leg to the end seam.
Perhaps you have just had a baby, c section, surgery or simply just do not want an elasticated waist band. Perhaps you prefer on your figure to have a high waisted leg range or a mid waist, all very important in choosing what suits you and your needs. Our Venters are built high waist with a deep thick elasticated waist band that is double stitch locked both sides (trust us there is nothing worse than a waist band that constantly twists and rolls around when riding). Our ContraFlex are High Waisted but the fabric is double rolled to create a deep waist band rather than use an actual elasticated waist inside. These two options are a great offering, the waist band really helps to stop any movement down yet some customers say they like the ContraFlex non waist for comfort.
What happens if I choose a lower GSM??
Perhaps you do a sport that require such a low GSM? However, if you do choose a lower GSM it is worth noting they will rip much easier, be less squat proof, and wear out of shape quicker with a few washes. We do not suggest a lightweight legging below 200 for riding horses.
With each fabric textile you choose comes a ‘good’ and ‘bad’ for both.
You do not want anything to bulky as they do not absorb sweat and dry as quickly, yet something to light can give you embarrassing sweat marks and stains.
Horzehoods Venters Rider Leggings are made with a special squat proof stretch knit fabric, 280gsm fabric weight, it is single jersey with a moisture wicking function and a bounce back yarn meaning they retain shape wash after wash year after year. If your in between sizing always jump the size up as with a stretch yarn excessive stretch no matter how good quality the fabric is can cause transparency in the seat & squat this is because stretch yarns used on products like leggings open up at their maximum stretch so it is important you get the fit right to ensure no transparency and the fabrics can do what they were designed to do which is be squat proof.
Is a Cotton type Good?
Cotton would stretch much easier without bouncing back to shape, after several uses and washes they would begin to sag without a bounce back, therefore we do not recommend them as a riding legging.
What are Most Leggings Made Of?
The most used technical fabric mixes for riding leggings are Polyester, Nylon and Spandex. Some manufacturers also combine a mix of two to three of these for more improved quality. A good brand would have a manufacture blend the mixes for the chosen sport they are designing for, test and then produce to give the best results.
What are the Different Types of Leggings?
Leggings have a variety of types depending on fabrics. In order to find a good GSM for your leggings, it is also important to know the differences between the materials that are most used in leggings production.
When your legging is 100% pure cotton, you are definitely going to enjoy how breathable and soft they are; however, the cotton easily gets stretched out either through your use or through several times of being in the laundry. It can also immediately lose its shape and be loose on some parts of your legs, your groin, thigh, or knee area. This is something to consider when deciding to buy cotton leggings for horse riding.
However, it is still a good thing to have a mix of polyester in your leggings because this fabric itself is hydrophobic. It is water-resistant and moisture-wicking. This helps if you do not want to get those embarrassing sweat marks because it absorbs moisture. treatment.
Most athleisure pieces including leggings will have spandex in them. This material is what makes them stretchy and tight-fitting. This fabric should be a part of your leggings if you want one that is elastic and can hold, shape, and support you as it moulds to your body.
The most important things to consider is that your leggings should be comfortable and fit like a second skin.
Features to Look for in Legging Fabrics
Each of the fabrics and their combinations, along with the GSM, has their pros and cons which are important for you to remember. Alongside those, make sure to not overlook these features to so you can make sure you are investing a truly high-quality legging.
Polyester leggings have a great advantage on this one because of its hydrophobic fabric. This is needed with all horse riding and performance tights.
Find leggings that are made with strong and durable materials that do not get easily stretched out too much that they end up ripping. There are leggings made of a blend of fabrics that are lightweight and still designed to be high-performance.
The best value leggings are of course the one's you can wear all year round, our Venters are a very popular choice, they are lightweight yet warm, they are quick dry in down pours and fast drying. For Summer the AirMesh panelling really kicks in. Did you know all our Venters come with an inbuilt 'V Crotch' section (an absolute must ladies!). Perfect for hotter climates.
Our ContraFlex are also great all rounders. During winter we also do winter versions of both for extreme cold:
ThermicRide are kept exceptionally lightweight as the whole purpose of the Venters design is for saddle performance and training, therefore we have made this version with a very light micro fleece lining, so light they will not feel bulky or any different to our All Year Round version.
ContraFlex have a little more bulk to their insulation lining, exceptionally comfortable and possibly a more popular choice for disciplines such as hacking and general training in cold weathers.
If you are wondering what a good GSM for leggings is, the general rule of thumb is about 200-280. Less or more than that could be too thin or too heavy for you depending on your choice of discipline and what and how you would like to use them. Leggings may not be for everyone as with anything there are always pros and cons. We also create Jeggings, Breeches, Joddings and several different weight leggings along with different style and cut options. We have a vast majority of such diverse customers that it is important to ensure we are creating product options so there is something for everyone’s different tastes.
See the table below with different leg wear options we currently have available