Long ago, the game of horseshoes was played with the same shoes worn by horses. Today, things are a bit different. Horseshoes designed for playing the game are quite a change from the horseshoes used by farriers. They’re designed for throwing instead of walking, and they have many features intended to aid in getting that perfect throw.
Things go even deeper as horseshoes for gaming can be designed more with flipping or turning in mind, providing players with different throwing styles the proper tools for the task. On this list, you’ll find reviews of the six best horseshoes for flipping, made specifically to help you flip your way to victory.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2024
|Gordon Professional Pitching Horseshoes
|Cadet Pitching Horseshoes
|Bronco Professional Pitching Horseshoes
|Challenger Professional Pitching Horseshoes
|Mustang Professional Pitching Horseshoes
The 6 Best Horseshoes for Flipping
1. Gordon Professional Pitching Horseshoes – Best Overall
Today, if you want to ensure you’re using proper horseshoes, you need to choose a pair that’s sanctioned by the NHPA for tournament play, like these pitching horseshoes from Gordon Professional. They’re drop forged out of premium AISI C1035 carbon steel, ensuring they deliver top-tier durability and won’t be easily damaged from a perfect ringer.
Improving longevity even further is the durable powder coat applied to these horseshoes. This gives them a great feel and grip while also protecting the horseshoe from damage and corrosion. These shoes are even warrantied against breaking because they’re so durable. All this means they’re also a pretty pricey pair, but it’s worth it for the quality you get.
Built for tournament play, these horseshoes are a matched pair. Their weight is within five grams of each other, ensuring that every throw goes exactly how you plan. No matter what your pitching style, we think you can’t go wrong with the Gordon Professional pitching horseshoes.
2. Cadet Pitching Horseshoes – Best Value
Ultra-lightweight at just 1.5 pounds, the Cadet pitching horseshoes are perfect for smaller players such as children or those that have a hard time pitching a heavy horseshoe, like seniors. But don’t let the light weight of these horseshoes fool you. These are serious horseshoes built for competition play, and they’re NHPA sanctioned to prove it.
For improved strength, the Cadet horseshoes are drop forged from premium steel and powder coated. This makes them very durable and gives a great texture for a solid grip. They’re so durable that a one-year warranty against breakage is included with purchase.
Made for the serious horseshoe player, this pair is matched to within five grams. Each horseshoe features full-size hardened hooks to grab onto the stake and a large thumb cleat to make it easier to flip. With an affordable price and high-quality build, we think they’re the best horseshoes for flipping for the money.
3. Bronco Professional Pitching Horseshoes – Premium Choice
When you look at the Bronco professional pitching horseshoes, they seem almost oversimplified. The traditional thumb cleat is gone, replaced with something far more subtle. Instead, the whole rear of the horseshoe is ramped up, which allows flippers to position their thumb anywhere along the backside of the shoe. This versatility makes it possible to adjust your pitching in styles in ways you’ve never been able to before.
What’s even better about the Bronco horseshoes is their versatility. While these are perfect for any flipper, they’re also great for turn players. If you happen to play doubles and change partners often, these horseshoes will be just as easy for any type of player to throw.
These are full-sized horseshoes that weigh in at 2.5 pounds. They’re officially sanctioned by the NHPA and completely legal for tournament and league competition. Built to withstand professional play, they’re incredibly durable and come with a two-year warranty against breakage. However, the finish does leave something to be desired, as it’s pretty rough and there are many visible imperfections, though they don’t affect the shoe’s performance.
4. Challenger Professional Pitching Horseshoes
The Challenger model of professional pitching horseshoes is made by Thoroughbred Horseshoes, which is the same company that produces the Bronco model that earned our premium recommendation. We like the Challenger as well, but not quite as much as the Bronco. Rather than the cool ramped backside of the Bronco, the Challenger has a more traditional thumb cleat that some users may prefer, though it doesn’t offer as much versatility.
This horseshoe features double-sided tip cleats that make it very easy to flip since the weight is at the open end of the shoe. Unfortunately, this shoe is cast instead of being drop forged, which brings up questions of durability. However, the two-year warranty against breakage speaks to its longevity, though it does seem that these cast horseshoes get dinged up much quicker.
5. Mustang Professional Pitching Horseshoes
At first glance, the Mustang professional pitching horseshoes seem like a great choice, and they’re definitely good horseshoes, but not our top choice for flipping. They have a uniquely shaped thumb cleat that makes it difficult to use many holds that flippers might already be used to. Some people might like the shape of this thumb cleat, but others will undoubtedly be turned off by it. It’s still a flappable design, but probably a better bet for those who turn instead.
Like the other shoes on this list, the Mustang is NHPA approved for tournaments and leagues. This shoe is cast from a unique iron alloy rather than being drop forged. While this might have you questioning the durability of this shoe, the two-year warranty brings some peace of mind. Unfortunately, these shoes tend to corrode and rust quite quickly, especially if left outside.
6. Competition Tournament Pitching Horseshoes
From competition horseshoes, these pitching horseshoes are pretty pricey, though they fail to deliver for flippers. They’re made to resist stake bounce off, though they have undersized hooks that don’t offer as much chance to grab the stake. Still, they’re drop forged from AISI steel for premium durability, though they only have a one-year warranty covering them. The finish isn’t too inspiring though, as there are obvious imperfections in the powder coat.
Matched within five grams of each other, this pair is made for competition play, and it’s NHPA sanctioned for tournaments and leagues. But some of this horseshoe’s traits make it a lackluster choice for flippers. The thumb cleat isn’t too bad, even if it’s a bit short. There are only tip cleats on one side though, making it more difficult to get a good flip. With many better options on the market, we wouldn’t pick this pair for a flipper.
Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best Horseshoes for Flipping
Anytime you’re purchasing something for competitive purposes, it’s easy to over scrutinize every detail and get caught up in comparing every feature of different models. Luckily, horseshoes are pretty simple items. There’s not too much there to compare. Still, if you want to flip your way to victory, there are a few things to keep an eye out for, which we’re going to discuss in this buyer’s guide.
For most, horseshoes is a fun backyard hobby played when the family gathers together for a cookout. But some people take horseshoes much more seriously and wish to play in tournaments and leagues. If you’re in this boat, then you’ll want to make sure you pick out a pair of horseshoes that’s sanctioned by the NHPA for league and tournament play. The NHPA is the National Horseshoe Pitching Association, and their stamp of approval is on every horseshoe we’ve reviewed on this list.
A standard horseshoe is 2.5 pounds, but this can be a bit heavy for smaller pitchers or those who are very old or not physically strong. Some horseshoes are much lighter, weighing in at just 1.5 pounds, though retaining the same physical size. If you find that pitching a heavy horseshoe is difficult for you, then you might consider giving one of these lighter-weight alternatives a try.
How Does It Hold
Everyone has their own unique way of holding and pitching a horseshoe. There’s no technically right or wrong way of doing this, but you’ll find that each horseshoe is shaped a little differently, which means it will feel different in your hand. If you get used to a particular pitching style, you might find it very strange to hold a different horseshoe that’s not shaped the same as the one you’re used to.
Many horseshoes feature thumb cleats that allow you to get a good grip with your thumb. Some have large thumb cleats, others are small. Not all horseshoes even have thumb cleats though. Others may have a smooth backside or they might have a thumb cleat alternative like a thumb ramp. Each of these will hold differently, so you might want to try experimenting with a few different designs and see which one you prefer the feel of.
Once you pitch a horseshoe, its flight characteristics depend a lot on how it’s designed. Some horseshoes flip better than others. One thing to look for is double-sided tip cleats. These are little cleats on the tips of the horseshoe. On some horseshoes, these cleats are on both the front and back while other horseshoes have cleats on only one side. If the cleats are on just one side, the horseshoe won’t flip as well as a one with double-sided cleats.
Horseshoes designed for serious play almost always come with a warranty. After all, you’re throwing a heavy metal horseshoe at a metal stake and trying hard to hit it. There’s going to be a lot of banging. But the best horseshoes can hold up to many impacts without sustaining damage. A warrant ensures your investment is protected. Some horseshoes are warrantied for just a year, but many come with an impressive two-year warranty against breakage.
Back in the day, horseshoes was played with real horseshoes that had probably already been through their useful lifespan on a horse. Today, horseshoes for pitching are specially designed with sport in mind, featuring large hooks to catch the stake and durable builds that won’t be easily damaged. In our reviews, you read about six of the best horseshoes for those who pitch with a flip, but the following three are our favorites.
The Gordon professional pitching horseshoes are our top choice, with superior durability from their drop forged carbon steel creation. The pair is matched to within five grams, is NHPA sanctioned for tournament play, and features a pronounced thumb cleat for flipping.
Perfect for smaller players or those who need a lighter horseshoe, the Cadet pitching horseshoes weigh just 1.5 pounds, a full pound lighter than most horseshoes. They’re NHPA sanctioned for tournament and league play and warrantied for one year against breakage.
The Bronco professional horseshoe is our premium pick with contoured side blades and a long, ramped rear that makes it possible to flip your pitch with many different grips that aren’t possible on a normal thumb cleat.
You May Also Like:
Featured Image Credit: Amazon