FormaHoof Vs Hoof Boots Vs Traditional Horseshoeing - The Pros And Cons

Embracing new technology isn’t easy. And in an industry like ours where tradition, experience and ‘feel’ have such a huge role to play in horse care and management, it can be all too easy to stay doing what has ‘always been done’, simply because that’s what we know and understand.

It is also important to stress that FormaHoof is not designed as a “forever” solution. We are firm believers that once a hoof has been successfully repaired (or grown out), horses should return to a natural barefoot state (always taking into consideration the work that is being performed).

The radical new technology of FormaHoof was launched little over a year ago and in this time we have been overwhelmed by the positive response and feedback from early adopters of FormaHoof. In this time FormaHoof has already helped countless horses around the world recover and rehabilitee from hoof injury and disease and helped improve the comfort and performance of countless others.

After a year of successful operation and upcoming expansion into new markets, we believe it is a good time to dispel some of the myths circulating around FormaHoof and its “space” in the hoof care market.

In Comparison

Firstly, if you are considering FormaHoof for your horse, you should be aware that it should not be compared with traditional or existing ‘alternative’ shoeing methods such as glue-on shoes, horse shoes, boots, casts etc.

This is because FormaHoof is something completely different.

FormaHoof LFM (Liquid Filed Moulding) technology has been created from the ground up to address many of the most common problems experienced with existing horse shoeing practices, techniques and products. FormaHoof offers a viable, non-invasive, and cost-effective alternative that allows equine professionals (vets & farriers) to offer highly effective hoof rehabilitation services, while providing immediate pain relief to the horse, without the use of drugs.

FormaHoof Forever?

It is also important to stress that FormaHoof is not designed as a “forever” solution. We are firm believers that once a hoof has been successfully repaired (or grown out), horses should return to a natural barefoot state (always taking into consideration the work that is being performed).

Hoof Damage Hero

In cases of extreme hoof damage, either through illness (Laminitis/Founder, White Line Disease) or injury (Hoof Cracks), FormaHoof really comes into its own.

We all know that good farriery is an extremely skilled profession. But when it comes to shoeing for extreme hoof damage, the skill required to successfully rehabilitate a horse using traditional treatment processes and methods reaches a whole new level. This means that there is great variability in the success of any treatment, which is hugely dependent on the treatment method chosen and on the skill of the farrier (or vet) applying the shoe, cast, glue-on, or any ‘alternative’ method selected. Unfortunately, this means that there can be great variability in the success of any ‘traditional’ treatments because the human skill element is notoriously unpredictable and variable.

The liquid-fit process of FormaHoof conforms to any hoof, regardless of damage levels, offering a consistent, conformationally correct and protective support base to the injured hoof, that is repeatable to the same exact standards, time and again. The need for complex fabrication is eliminated and the treatment process is simplified, with the human skill variability factor removed.

The application process for FormaHoof is quick and painless (non-invasive) and because an applicator follows the exact same steps on each application, regardless of the condition being addressed, it is highly repeatable. Additionally, as FormaHoof is so quick and easy to deploy and the fabrication time required for custom shoes is removed, FormaHoof helps get horses on the road to recovery far sooner and prevents damage from worsening whilst waiting for a custom solution, which is unfortunately all too common an occurrence.

Shortening The Treatment Cycle And Saving You Money

Since FormaHoof applications grow out with the hoof, there is no uneven wear of the hoof capsule during the application’s lifecycle. Consequently, there is no need for an “in-between” correctional visit by the vet or farrier to adjust applications.

The FormaHoof treatment cycle varies between 2 – 4 applications (depending on the severity of the damage), with the application changed every 4 – 6 weeks. This means that for a theoretical maximum treatment cycle of 24 weeks, you can expect only 4 required farrier visits, with a reduction in unforeseen visits reducing the overall cost of treatment still further.

Some glue-on shoes may offer a similar support mechanism, however they lack the capability to support the entire hoof structure in 3D, as FormaHoof does. The 3D nature of a FormaHoof application balances the weight of the horse on the hoof, spreading it evenly over the application. This increases the surface area over which the horse’s weight is spread, drastically reducing the final force imposed on specific areas of the hoof.

To Hoof Boot Or Not To Hoof Boot?

In our opinion, Hoof Boots are not a viable mechanical aid to the hoof because they lack the ability to affix to it, so the support they offer is limited. They are best utilised to protect a healthy hoof over rough terrain.

Casts can often work as a remedial solution for extreme cases. However, they completely remove the ability of the owner to ride, train or exercise a horse, which may lead to further downstream problems.

The Hot Stuff

Recent thermography studies of FormaHoof on horses indicate that because the application correctly aligns the hoof based on the horse’s most comfortable, natural stance, the entire muscular-skeletal system is positively affected, with better limb alignment and fewer pressure points.

There is early evidence to suggest that using FormaHoof will build muscle in a much more sustainable way, much in the same way as a human athlete may have customised insoles in their performance shoes to offer similar orthopaedic advantages. None of the traditional shoeing methods can as easily offer these benefits, because they lack the ability and scope to precisely conform to the hoof in the way that FormaHoof’s liquid solution does.


Another area of interest for horse owners is undoubtedly the “rideability” that a shoeing solution might offer. Hoof boots are a great solution for trail rides as they protect the bottom of the hoof. However, they may struggle with wet and sandy conditions as they tend to create an abrasive environment, allowing finer particles to get trapped in them. Boots are also notoriously difficult to size for, as the fit has to be perfect or they do not stay in place.

Some barefoot enthusiasts saw boots as a good alternative to other non-invasive methods of shoeing, such as glue-on shoes. Even though glue-on’s have the benefit of being non-invasive, they come with their own set of challenges. Rideability is affected to a higher degree than boots, as they are prone to disconnecting from the hoof when a higher force is exerted during the riding process.

Worse still, with glue-on shoes there is a definite risk of pulling off any of the hoof that has grown under the application, as very strong adhesives are required to keep the glue-on shoe fixed to the hoof. FormaHoof remains on the hoof primarily through the bell-shaped geometry of the application and this, together with the very mild adhesion, removes the risk of such an injury.

Traditional metal horseshoes offer decent protection and support to the hoof. However, this is limited to the outer rim of the hoof. If a horse should step on a sharp object or stone during a ride, the sole is fully exposed.

To Sum It All Up

The benefits of FormaHoof are summed up in the diagram below. By offering an effective solution to rehabilitate a wide range of hoof problems, combined with ease of application, a reduction in treatment costs, and the ability for most horses to remain in work through the rehabilitation process (or at the very least considerably reduce lay-off time), FormaHoof offers next generation hoof care, giving your horse the care it deserves.

FormaHoof Benefits Diagram

Back To The Future

Future generations of FormaHoof products will seek to further differentiate the benefits that are currently offered, by enhancing existing capabilities and adding new ones. This is the first time that a product in the hoof care market has been able to combine all the benefits of existing product offerings, whilst removing any negative aspects.

The FormaHoof system is highly functional, allowing for normal owner/horse interaction, and has incredible rehabilitation potential, allowing equine professionals to rehab even the most severe cases of damage to the hoof, all whilst maintaining a clean, safe and in some cases, medicated space to accelerate hoof growth.

If you are unsure as to how FormaHoof can help your horse and how to tackle your horse’s individual hoof and soundness challenges, we have recently launched our dedicated consultancy service.

These one-to-one live sessions allow for online interaction between an expert FormaHoof certified applicator and your vet or farrier, to discuss dedicated treatment options for your horse. Our consultants have thousands of applications completed and are ready and willing to transfer the knowledge required and help devise a plan to get the best out of FormaHoof for your horse.

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