About Flex-on stirrups
Flex-on has totally re-invented the stirrup, creating a revolutionary design based on the founders' unique combination of high-tech engineering expertise and high-level competitive riding experience.
What makes them special
Flex-on stirrups provide an extraordinarily stable and comfortable ride that has to be experienced to be believed. They feature a number of unique design features:
- Ultra-lightweight yet strong frames: The carefully designed frames and footbeds use aerospace-grade aluminium (Pro model) or high-tech composites with steel core (Balance model) to produce a stirrup weighing only 450g. The composite model's steel core protects against the risk of breakages experienced with some composite-framed stirrups.
- Innovative frame design: Unlike normal stirrups, the stirrup-leather slot in Flex-on frames is off-set and skewed at an angle. This, combined with a carefully designed inclined footbed helps achieve an ideal leg position, dramatically adding stability and confidence and reducing stress and strain on the hip, knee and ankle joints
- Shock absorption: Elastomers built into the base of the footbed, plus the carefully designed flex characteristics of the frame itself, help the stirrup absorb shocks and vibration, again improving comfort and reducing strains.
- Ergonomic footbed with "Ultra-grip" studs: The footbed is inclined at a carefully designed angle to match the natural heel position, while small studs built into the footbed (which don't pierce boot soles or the skin) grip the rider's boot to help prevent slipping and give an excellent connection with the horse.
The range: Balance composite vs. Pro aluminium
The range consists of the standard "Balance" model and the premium "Pro-Balance". Both incorporate the same engineering with all the features outlined above, but the Pro model features a frame of milled out of solid aerospace-grade aluminium, rather than the less expensive to manufacture reinforced composite of the standard model. In addition, the Pro model features four-point support between the frame and footbed rather than the two point support in the composite model, which can provide greater stability when coming down hard off jumps.
In general terms, we would recommend the Pro model for high-level competitive jumping and event riders. For others, the composite model typically works equally well at a rather lower cost, and offers a greater range of options to customise the colour scheme of the stirrups.
Flex-on offers a uniquely wide range of options, outlined below, that allow the rider to customise the stirrups to their requirements and tastes.
Based on our own testing and feedback from riders we've selected what we believe to be the best technical options. We hold stock of stirrups made with these recommended options, and in the most popular colours. We are able to order from Flex-on any other configuration of options desired, with a typical lead-time of 1-3 weeks, but charge extra for these to reflect the higher costs of one-off orders.
Frame/elastomer colours: The Pro stirrups come in three frame colours, the
composite model offers many more options. Both models also allow you to choose the colour of the elastomers under the footbed (the effect of these is more visible with the larger elastomers of the composite model). See the product pages for detail on the colour options available for each model.
For the Balance models, we hold in stock for immediate delivery the most popular colour combinations, with the rest available with 1-3 weeks' lead time. We hold stock of all three Pro frame colour options.
Custom Inserts: Both models incorporate plastic inserts that sit in slots built into the top part of the frame: these are held in place by magnets and can be easily swapped. Flex-on supplies the stirrups as standard with black inserts, with the "on" in Flex-on coloured to match the elastomers. But there is a large variety of inserts with various colours and designs, including national flags, that can be ordered to replace these - see the "Custom Inserts" product for more detail.
Our stock products come with the standard black insert provided by Flex-on. We also have a limited stock of "Carbone" inserts that we can supply free for those who prefer this design.
- Footbed options - shape: Flex-on offer two main footbed shapes: a "Mixed Inclination" footbed that has two sections at different angles, and a simpler "Inclined" shape with a single angle - see diagram. There is also a flat footbed option, as well as a specially shaped deeper footbed for endurance riding which is offered on the composite model only. In our own testing with various riders, the mixed inclination footbed was universally preferred, both for jumping and dressage: this is the one we recommend, and fit to our stocked versions. Flex-on themselves tend to recommend the inclined footbed for jumping, but it must be borne in mind that French jumpers are trained to ride with a shorter leg than is normal in the UK.
- Footbed options - "Grip" vs "Ultra-Grip": Flex-on also supply their main footbed shapes in two variations: "Grip", with a plain composite gridded surface, and "Ultra-grip" which have additional stainless steel studs embedded in the surface for extra grip. We strongly recommend the "ultra-grip": it greatly adds to grip and stability; we supply ultra-grip as standard with our stocked stirrups (the only exception is for children and very light-weight adults, where we recommend the version without studs). We have had no negative experience with the studs damaging boot soles or causing injury, nor holding the boot in during falls. The studs are also legal under Dressage rules.
- Interchanging footbeds: The four main footbed types - mixed & inclined, grip and ultra-grip, can be readily interchanged on an existing stirrup. We keep stock of the studless version of the mixed footbed and are happy to swap over to these where a customer wishes (eg for children). We can also obtain the "Inclined" footbed types should customers want these instead.
Elastomer hardness: On the Pro models, the shock-absorbing elastomers under the footbed can be chosen in two levels of hardness: hard (coloured black & designed for jumping) and medium (coloured grey and designed for dressage). Our stock models normally come with hard elastomers, though we also keep a small stock of black framed Pros with medium elastomers. Flex-on also recommend a hard elastomer for heavier male competitors, even for dressage.
The Balance model comes with a standard general-purpose elastomer between the Pros' medium and hard, toward the harder end.
Note that elastomers cannot be swapped after manufacture.
- Footbed surround colour : The footbed inserts described above are always black. Traditionally these have been set into a light grey composite platform on the Balance stirrups, but Flex-on now offer the option of specifying with a black or white surround. Our standard stock Balance stirrups come with light grey surrounds, except for the black framed version where we also offer them with the black footbed surround, which some riders prefer. Unless otherwise specified custom orders will also be supplied with light grey surrounds.
Scientific testing results
Flex-on have submitted their stirrups for a scientific study comparing their effects to those of two other brands, including another high-end design. The study, conducted by Sport Controle, a respected French organisation specialising in biomechanical and other sport-related assessments, measured both the riders' posture and movement through kinematic analysis and accelerometer measurements. These showed improved riding position and less stress on the riders' joints compared with the other stirrups, which was also borne out by the riders' subjective comments.
See Flex-on's own site here for further details.
See our Flex-on range here
See reviews of Flex-on stirrups here
See also the video below setting out the Flex-on range and options