PONY'TUDE Approved: Composti Reflex Stirrup Irons

I can't believe it, but I actually LIKE these things!

After my second unfortunate parting of ways from Dino during the Lainey clinic, I ended up being dragged when my foot got stuck in my stirrup iron.

I'd been riding in these same consignment bargain-basement, slightly smaller than average, basic steel Fillis irons forever, and never had an issue. Until I got dragged. The rider who got on to school Dino afterwards declared the irons too small and "grippy in a bad way", and suggested that I get new ones.

Not wanting to have the frightening experience of my foot getting caught ever again, I took her suggestion to heart.

Now, let it also be known that I was formerly a strict traditionalist when it comes to stirrup irons. I loathe the "bendy" jointed irons with every fiber of my being, and plastic stirrups seemed cheap and flimsy. While I can appreciate the quality of trendy European irons like the Jin or Lorenzini irons, they are just way too out there for my traditional hunter princess sensibilities. And let's face it, ain't nobody got that kind of money to spend on stirrups. However, I did really like the feel and stability of a wide-tread stirrup iron when I rode in friends' saddles, and was leaning towards trying something new. After all, if I needed new irons anyway, why not test out some of this newfangled technology instead of just going with a bigger Fillis iron?

Stainless Steel Fillis Irons: The ONLY Way To Go...... OR ARE THEY?!
My online wanderings and previous experience led me first to the MDC irons. Truth be told, I'd been ogling them for quite a while. They make a hunter-style wide-tread iron that looked perfect for me - just 'techy' enough to be more sophisticated than plain Fillis irons, but still with a traditional look and feel.

But at well over $150 retail, the MDC's were WAY out of my budget. I was looking to spend half that price - or less.

Eventually I realized that the only way I would be able to affordably branch out from plain stainless steel stirrups was going to be trying out some of these trendy lightweight "composite" irons. AKA, plastic stirrups.

My inner tack snob (she's in there, deep inside) was put off at first. Wouldn't plastic irons break? Would they be easy to pick up if and when I lost them? Would they look horribly cheap on my lovely saddle?

These are the important questions, people.

"How do you guys feel about black plastic stirrups?"
After reading tons of reviews and chatting with friends who owned them, I settled on the Composti Reflex Stirrup Irons. At only $38 from Riding Warehouse, they were certainly the most cost-effective option. Plus, with RW's great return policy, if I really hated them I could always scrub them up clean and return them. The Composti irons had the wide footbed I was looking for, and a sleek modern look. They were definitely the least offensive of many of the composite stirrups out there!

When my Composti stirrups arrived, I found myself pleasantly surprised and impressed by the weight and construction. While yes, they were plastic, they didn't feel cheap and brittle. They had a good weight to them, and seemed solid. The stirrup pads also have a little bit of a shock-absorbing quality, and squish down just a few fractions of an inch when you press them.

Despite my original aversion to black plastic stirrups, I think they actually look pretty cool on my saddle.

My first ride in the Composti irons left me uninspired. While I liked the weight, the traction, and the wide-track style, I was iffy on the shock-absorber pads. The stirrups just felt bouncy, and I felt myself wanting to push off of my toe more often than usual. But, considering I was a lifelong plain Fillis girl just switching over, I decided to give them a few more rides.

Composite stirrups: not as heinous as I thought they'd be.
After another ride in the Composti stirrups, I didn't notice them at all. The "bounce" factor was undetectable, my feet felt secure, and I could ride without giving my stirrups a second thought. I was totally comfortable and could just focus on my ride. That makes any pair of stirrup irons a winner in my book.

And that, friends, is the story of how this staunch stirrup traditionalist made the switch to the plastic stirrups all the kids are riding in these days. If you, too, are looking to branch out from plain Fillis irons in an affordable way, I highly recommend the Composti Reflex Stirrup Irons. They're understated, comfortable, and do their job the way they're supposed to. Even if they ARE plastic.


  1. How does the traction feel? I am considering either these or a pair that has a cheese grater pad because I hate having my foot slide around in my Fillis irons. Traditionalist here, too! Thanks for the review!

    1. The traction is just grippy enough - it's not sharp like the cheese grater irons, but definitely much less slick than a traditional rubber Fillis pad. The pads have raised plastic bumps - kind of like the pattern on diamond plate sheet metal - and I have not had any slippage issues so far!

  2. My dressage saddle came with a pair of composite stirrups. I wasn't sure how I'd like them because I've got a pair of flexi on my other saddle, but I loooove them. :)

  3. I'm anti fillis. Glad you upgraded!!

  4. I ended up with a pair of these with bright pink treds. They just didn't work for me but I have used a pair of traditional Composti irons for a few years now and I LOVE them. I like the black and I like how light they are. Glad to hear that you enjoy them!

  5. I can only ride in the bendy jointed irons. I got a pair of these for free when I bought my jump saddle and I HATED them. To each his own! :)

    1. I feel like I cannot ride in the bendy irons at all! My heel just keeps going, and going, and going down until I feel I have no support. Good thing there's a type of stirrup out there for everyone!

  6. Yay for fun stirrups!! I saw a ton at Rolex but then cried a little (lot) at the price tags. Compositis will be jusssst fine for me haha


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