December 28, 2020

Product Review: MDC Comfort Stirrups

Last month CGP rode Connor before me in a lesson, and I forgot to bring my stirrups to the indoor and had to use hers, which we were MDC Comfort stirrups set in the 90 degree position.

Now, I've always been a "Fillis irons are fine" person. Never even tried anything different, besides some super bendy Herm Sprengers once that I hated. The fanciest stirrups I own are the $30 composite wide tread ones that live on my jump saddle, and the irons on my Dressage saddle are the ones my mom got for Little Red three decades ago.

Good enough for my mom, good enough for me. Side note, didn't realize til I went to dig up this picture that those Gary Mundy leathers are almost four years old! They literally still look brand new. He's retiring this year and I really need to get a backup pair, for fifty years from now when this pair wears out I guess.

It took about ten minutes of riding in the MDC Comforts before I realized what wasn't happening. I didn't have my right foot pronated and cocked to the outside. My lower right leg wasn't swinging as much as it normally did. And something about them made the whole act of riding seem more effortless, like there was something I had to fight in Fillis irons that I didn't in the MDCs.


The Pivo was plagued by a software problem that week so the only proof I have of this lesson are some blurry screenshots of CGP on him.

Had I just become a fancy stirrup person? Maybe, but I tried to deny it a little longer.

It was in a subsequent lesson when I went back to using my regular Fillis irons that she really got onto me about my 0 to 100 posting that lacked enough tone, and she said some of my mechanical posting problems seemed to stem from "something about the way your feet are in the irons."

I knew exactly what she was talking about: my tendency to have all my weight on my big toe phalanges on the right foot but spread evenly across all toes on the left. She didn't say a word about my equipment being part of the problem, but I made a mental note that everything she said had been easier to fix or not a problem in the MDCs.

In regular Fillis irons earlier this month. Peep my right foot cocked out to the side.

I placed an order for them from on the 21st and had a voicemail from Martin, the owner, later that day wanting to confirm that my feet really are small enough for the 4.25" irons and if that was a mistake to please call him before he shipped them out the next day. It wasn't, and I didn't, but I was touched that he took the time to do that. They arrived in what qualifies for warp speed for the USPS right now on the 26th.

My right lower leg is usually MUCH flingier than this. The left is always stable.

You can kind of see it here

Check out those relatively even foot angles!

Reminder that this is my normal foot position, with the right one cocked out like this

Since I'm going to tag this as a product review, let's a get a few review-y things out of the way before I end this, shall we:

  • These come very specifically in foot sizes. I'm a 6, so I got a 4 1/4"
  • There's a whole line of MDC stirrups out there, and if you're not sure which one is right for your particular body, Martin will consult with you about that, per The 900 Facebook Pony's blog post from way back.
  • They're heavy. That's part of the deal, these stirrups are supposed to be a safety play as well. The 90 and 45 degree offsets, in addition to helping fix my right foot problem, also make it easier to pick your stirrups up if you've lost them, and the weight helps with that as well. After riding in composites for a long time on my jump saddle, can confirm, much easier.
  • I had to raise my stirrups a hole (which is a half hole on my CWD child's leathers) to account for the stirrup strap hole being slightly higher on these than they are on a Fillis iron
  • They have an "if you don't love them, you get your money back" policy.

Bottom line: I am not saying these exact stirrups are right for you or will change your riding life like they did mine. I am saying that non-traditional irons have a lot to offer for those of us with weird asymmetries and biomechanics issues, and they're worth investigating. Also these are just so dang comfortable, it's kind of amazing.

What: MDC Comfort Stirrups

Sizes: 4.25", 4.5", 4.75", 5" (based on shoe size)

Colors: Stainless

Price: I paid $179.95 at They're often manufacturer restricted on coupons and are extremely difficult to find used.


  1. I adore mine. Amanda turned me onto them and Martin was just as responsive to me when I bought my pair (which has been quite a few years now) They still look brand new and they help me so much with my knee and ankle pain. I have turned a few more people at my barn onto them. They are worth the money and I won't go back to a regular pair. So glad you got some. Enjoy! :) I am a 9 and got a 4.75 and he went back and forth to me to make sure i got the correct size and correct stirrup type. I got the Flex type and got them in 2015!! I just looked it up! HA

  2. I've used the jointed wide foot bed MDCs for years and would never go back to regular stirrups again. And since they seem to last forever, I shall have no need! The top swivel puts my foot in the right direction and the slightly giving side-joints provide a tiny but critical amount of give, easing knee and back pain.

  3. I have a pair of the "S" flex MDC's and I certainly get much less knee and ankle pain riding in them! I would hope my position is better too.

  4. I've been considering the offset irons by Herm Sprenger that are permanently fixed in the 90° position, and without flex. Is it worth it to have the adjustable angle?

    1. If you haven't tried them to know your preference, I would say yes. MDC included a lot of informational paperwork in my package and one anecdote in there talked about a woman who rode with one in 45 degrees and one in 90 because that felt straight to her. Also I don't know how the HS ones deal with being run up, but I have to adjust mine back to flat in order to run them up, so the adjustability is nice there too.

  5. One of my saddles has these, but I've never actually turned the knob... maybe I should try that! Glad they're working so well for you!