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 and Safe-on models) to produce a stirrup weighing only 450g. The composite models' 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.
- "Ultra-grip" studs: 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: Pro aluminium vs. Balance composite vs. vs. Safe-on
The range consists of the original "Pro-Balance" model, the lower-cost "Balance" model and the newly-introduced "Safe-on". All incorporate the same core design and 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 steel 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.
The Safe-on model also has a composite frame, but this is constructed with an arm on the outside which is designed to open when placed under stress in the event of a fall. The arm can be re-fitted afterward using a special tool provided with 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. We hold in stock models configured with the most popular options, but are able to order from Flex-on any other configuration of options desired, with a typical lead-time of 1-3 weeks.
Frame/elastomer colours: The Pro stirrups come in two frame colours, the
composite models offer many more options. All 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 models). 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 in black, dark grey and brown frames with matching elastomers, with other options available with 1-3 weeks' lead time. We hold stock of both Pro frame colours, all with black elastomers.
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.
- Flat vs. inclined: Flex-on now offer two main footbed types: flat, and inclined (there is also a specially shaped deeper footbed for endurance riding). They recommend flat for dressage and general riding, and inclined for jumping, but we have found the choice is very much a matter of individual taste. It is also worth mentioning our experience that some riders experience real problems with the inclined footbed, in terms of ankle and calf pain and sometimes a tendency for the stirrups to be thrown forward: therefore trialling with one of our testers is strongly advised before going the inclined route. Flex-on used to offer a "mixed inclination" footbed which in our view offered a best of both worlds between flat and inclined, and which we recommended to most riders; unfortunately Flex-on have decided to discontinue this option.
- 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 adults under 120lb/55kg, 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: It is worth noting that it is easy to replace the footbed insert if worn or damaged, or swap over grip and ultra-grip footbeds (eg for a child for whom studless is initially appropriate, but with the ability to swap to ultra-grip when she grows). We offer replacement footbed inserts in both studded and non-studded versions.
- Footbed surround colour : The footbed inserts described above are always black, but are set into a surrounding platform that is aluminium for Alu stirrups, and composite for Balance and Safe-ons. In the latter case it is possible to order stirrups with either black or mid-grey surrounds. For our standard stocked stirrups we specify black surrounds for the black-framed stirrups, and mid-grey surrounds for dark grey or brown stirrups.
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