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Concave shoes improve traction through a combination of the profile of the concave section, which enhances the natural concavity of the sole, and the depth of fullering from heel-to-heel. Concave stock also makes good self-cleaning shoes.
Concave horseshoes seem to be making inroads in the United States market, but there’s no doubt they have nowhere near the share of the market they have in Europe, particularly the United Kingdom.
“Probably 90% of the horses I shoe in England are shod with concave stock,” says Billy Crothers, a farrier from Wales, who now sells his concave, Handmade Horseshoes through Anvil Brand in the United States. Crothers admits that his long familiarity with this type of shoe is one big reason he’s an advocate for its use, but he also maintains he’s not saying it should be used exclusively.
“You can’t say all horses should be shod with concave any more than you can any other kind of shoe,” he says. “You have to look at the horse, what work it’s doing and where it’s doing it.”
That being said, Crothers does feel that concave shoes offer some very solid advantages.
“The main one, in my mind, is that you can get more coverage or height and protection for less weight,” he says. “Because of the concave inside edge in the stock, you’ll save about 25% in the weight of the shoe. That also means you can get the additional traction from concave with less weight.”