Expert Picks: The Best Horseshoe Sets In 2023

All About Horseshoes!

It’s mid-afternoon, and the food from a family barbeque is mostly tidied up. Kids run around, grandpa sits back in a reclining lawn chair and the dog whines to be let out. The scene seems subdued until… the youngest cousin launches a horseshoe at the back of the yard, his lip tucked under his teeth and eyes wide. The horseshoe sails through the air and then a clang and a swish as metal rolls on metal – a ringer! The audience of family erupts. Uncle Joe’s lengthy undefeated streak has come to an end.

The game of horseshoes is simple but has a glowing reputation for bringing people together. From toddlers to the elderly, everyone can get in on the game. Commonly sighted on the beach, in parks and backyards, you can play horseshoes almost anywhere. It would help if you had pits of sand 40 feet apart for an official toss, but backyard fun allows for modifications based on space limitations and different ground coverings.

Though horseshoes’ history as a sport is somewhat “in the air”, most enthusiasts believe it evolved from Roman discus throwing in the first or second century and was popularized by soldiers seeking recreation while at camp. Since then, many have hopped on the bandwagon, with the first professional tournament in Kansas in 1910 and backyard horseshoes a mainstay of picnics, beach days, retirement homes and schoolyards. 

Not only is horseshoes an inclusive sport, but its versatility also makes it worth having in your line up of backyard fun. You can play for 2 minutes or 2 hours, like a game of carefree fun or a sport of masterful precision in summer or winter. 

Which Set is Best for Me?

You don’t need much to get started playing horseshoes – merely a few horseshoes and two stakes are all that it takes. However, horseshoe sets vary significantly in price and quality, with minor feature differences depending on where you want to play, who is playing and how serious you’d like your horseshoe habit to get. Getting the set that’s right for you will ensure you get tossing soon and can keep playing for years to come. 

You’ll want to consider who, where and for how long you want to play. At 2.1 pounds, regulation horseshoes are pretty hefty for the youngest tossers, but perfect for youth and adults. If you plan to be breaking out the horseshoes in 2045, forged steel is the way to go. However, if moderately durable will suffice for a special event or occasional camping trip, you might opt for cast iron or other material. If you’re aspiring to the national championship, you’ll want regulation equipment with detailed molds for optimal performance. If the prize is the first scoop of chocolate ice cream, a basic shape might be perfect. Finally, if you want to impress, there are fancy pants horseshoes for that. If you need to impress your kids enough to keep them out of the kitchen, that’s also an option. 

While each of the following has cons listed in details, all are great sets overall, with better quality and value than the competition.

How to Play Horseshoes

To play horseshoes by the book, you must insert two stakes into the ground 40 feet apart. The stakes are usually in sand “pits” with an inground frame, a backboard and pitching platforms on the sides. If you are playing in the backyard, just a stake should still make for a good game. Making your sandpits is worth the investment, but you can still have a good time throwing onto dirt or grass if it is a temporary set-up. 

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To play, toss a coin to see who goes first. The first player throws both horseshoes from the platform near the opposite stake. Players score 3 points for getting a “ringer” (a horseshoe that surrounds the stake) and 1 point for having the horseshoe that is closest to the stake (other than any ringers). Note that if both players get a ringer, the points cancel each other out. 

Although it’s not too difficult to catch on to the real deal, house rules can also prove enjoyable. 

A Note of Stake Length

A challenge with at-home horseshoe set-ups is finding a long enough stake to stay sturdy when repeatedly hit with horseshoes. Most at-home kits limit the stake length to approximately 20 inches so that they are easy to insert. Many users with looser ground covering find this length insufficient, as there needs to be 14 – 15 inches above the ground to play by regulation rules. 

Shorter stakes are adequate if you are looking for portability. If you want a long-term set-up and have looser ground cover at your playing site, consider opting to purchase a 3-foot segment of re-bar, water pipe or other staking material as a substitute for what comes with semi-portable kits.

Best Regulation Horseshoes Set

St. Pierre American Professional Horseshoe Set

Who is it for?

This set of National Horseshoe Pitching Association-approved horseshoes is very durable and well crafted. Designed by a world-class horseshoe pitcher and made in the USA, it has a level of detail that more serious players will appreciate including: 

-more extended tips to grab the stake more easily;

-a tapered edge that makes the shoe more likely to slide onto the stake;

-more weight in the tips for improved control and;

-finger positioning marks that help beginners hold the horseshoe properly. 

While this is a definite step up from the basics, it’s suitable for general backyard fun as well. 


Included in set: 4 horseshoes, 2 stakes, plastic tote, official rulebook

Horseshoe material: forged steel

Horseshoe weight: regulation (maximum on 2.1 lbs)

Stake Material: solid steel

Stake Length: 24 inches


-Brightly colored, durable paint

-Durable steel materials (great for varied weather conditions)

-Detailed design for optimal performance

-St. Pierre company knows horseshoes and crafts products with expertise

-Longer than average stakes


-Stakes still may not be long enough for the loosest ground covering and may need readjustment from time to time

-The case is usable but flimsy, unattractive plastic and must be packed precisely to close

Best Budget Horseshoe Set

Franklin Sports Horseshoes Set (Family Edition)

Who is it for?

This set is one of the most affordable forged steel options, making it a durable value pick for backyard fun. This set is part of a line of Franklin horseshoes. The family edition only has a slightly higher price tag than the starter pack but has the same forged steel make-up and a similar design to much costlier, flashier editions. 


Included in set: 4 horseshoes, 2 stakes, 1 carrying case

Horseshoe material: forged steel

Horseshoe weight: 2.1 lbs

Stake Material: solid steel

Stake Length: 20 inches


-Official size and weight

-Forged steel horseshoes

-bright, easily distinguishable colors

-Relative affordability


-Stake is too short for long-term use in most situations (this could be a “pro” if you plan to frequently move or reset the stakes, as they are easier to get in and out of the ground)

-Crude molding (not entirely smooth)

-The case is workable but tediously unbalanced

-Not remarkably detailed form 

Coolest Horseshoes Set

Viva Sol Premium Horseshoe

Who is it for?

This set is for the pitching enthusiast ready to step up the razzle-dazzle. With a stand-out, two-tone walnut finish, hemp-rope case and some shimmer, this unique set is an investment in your intimidation factor. 


Included in set: 4 horseshoes, 2 stakes, wooden case

Horseshoe material: forged steel with a powdered coating

Horseshoe weight: regulation (maximum of 2.1 lbs)

Stake Material: stainless steel

Stake Length: 23.5 inches


-Case looks excellent compared with classic fabric or plastic alternatives, it is also very functional with a foam mold on the inside

-Indentations on the horseshoes give them a “wild west” look

-Precise molding, smooth and well crafted

-Powder coating (which adds the color) also is slightly slick, so less dirt sticks to the horseshoe

-Stakes are longer than in many kits


-The light blue and green color may not be for everyone

-Stakes still may not be long enough for the loosest ground covering and may need readjustment from time to time

-Colors can be difficult to differentiate from each other

-Horseshoe coating is not functionally rust-proof, so they must be dried and stored in the case between uses

-Relatively expensive option considering the shape is quite basic

Best Children’s Horseshoe Set

PikDos Horseshoes

Who is it for?

Horseshoes is such a fun outdoor game for kids! This horseshoe set is the right choice as a toy for children, although it is still durable and fun enough for adults to want to get in on it. The set comes with stakes to use on grass or sand and a small platform with a peg that works well on flat, hard surfaces such as concrete or decks. It is incredibly portable, and even small children can set it up independently. This set could be used in a gym, garage or unfinished basement, but use discretion in the living room, as the horseshoes do have enough weight to take down a vase or scratch a wall. 


Included in set: 4 rubber horseshoes, 2 rubber mats with posts, 2 stakes

Horseshoe material: rubber and plastic

Stake material: (hollow) plastic


-Extremely portable and easy to set-up

-Great for toddlers and kids who would be unable to toss a heavier horseshoe

-Very affordable

-1 year Amazon warranty

-Bright, fun colors

-Usable on the floor, concrete, wood and indoors


-Not official size or weight

-Less durable and weather-resistant than metal sets

-Stakes are very short and not particularly sturdy for use on grass or sand

You’ll be pitching in no time!

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