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If the boot fits

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July 29, 2013 by Rider Newsletter Staff

 

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Wearing quality motorcycle boots is essential, but there’s a lot to consider

When it comes to motorcycle safety gear, one could argue that boots are the most important of all. Why? The human foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles and tendons. That does not include the ankle. Many of these bones are small and thin, making your foot vulnerable to serious injury. When you ride, your feet are constantly in peril. There is a hot exhaust system within inches; the pavement is just below; and, in the case of a fall, your feet are in danger of being trapped under the bike which may still be in motion. Not good.

High-quality riding boots can be costly, but they are a worthy investment. They will not only help protect you, but will also ensure comfort, both on and off the bike. Riding boots have to do their job on the road, but it’s nice to be able to count on them when walking, hiking or hitching a ride when your bike breaks down (just kidding).

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some important factors to consider when selecting riding boots.

They Must Be Boots

If you think riding in sneakers, flip-flops or moccasins is wise, you really need to keep reading. These kinds of footwear can cause injury even if nothing goes wrong. One false move and your ankle is burned like a cheap steak on the family barbecue. Your feet are also more likely to slip or move around on the controls enough to make bad things happen. We don’t even wear this kind of stuff to move the bike from the driveway into the garage. Well, maybe then.

Go High, Go Long

To provide serious protection, your boots must be high enough to cover at least half of your calves and shins. This also (in our opinion) looks cool. Think of your bike lying on its side with your leg beneath it. That gives you an idea of why short boots won’t get it done. There are mid-length boots available and lots of folks wear them. They are better than the short stuff, but not ideal. You may pay for the extra protection with a slight loss in mobility and comfort, but after the crash, you’re more likely to be able to walk away.

Material Benefits

Historically motorcycle boots have been made of leather. Simple as that. In our high-tech world, that still holds true and, if you select good leather that’s been waterproofed and is thick enough, it should do the trick. These days, however, many riders prefer modern materials such as Gore Tex and Kevlar. They provide superior protection and allow for improved ventilation. In addition to strength, a key element in selecting the best material is its ability to resist water. Riding in the rain, or on wet pavement can be bad enough without also having soaking wet feet. Check out Motorcycle Cruiser for a comprehensive review of waterproof boots.

Getting Closure

To protect your feet, your boots must stay on. That can be a challenge in a crash. Boots that simply pull on are more likely to slide off during a fall. Closures can keep your boots in place no matter what. You’ll find boots with laces, Velcro, buckles and various other closing mechanisms. Laces can be a concern because they can get caught in moving parts. No matter which type you prefer, boots that can be securely fastened will do a better job protecting your feet.

The Glass Slipper

As in the famous fairy tale, fit is critical with riding boots. It’s also a highly personal decision. This can make it difficult to buy boots online. Most Web-based retailers will allow you to return the boots without charge, but you may spend a lot of time to save just a little money. You’ll find motorcycle boots at many department stores and shoe retailers, but you may find a better selection and higher quality at a motorcycle shop.

No matter where you decide to shop, choose your footwear carefully. As with most motorcycle accessories, you get what you pay for. And what you’re paying for, in this case, is protecting a very important part of your anatomy.

 

See MotorcycleCruiser.com’s exhaustive test of waterproof boots here.

MotorcycleUSA.com has several reviews of riding boots at this link.

A dedicated rider called “Booted Harleydude” put together a lengthy piece on how to select boots that is worth reviewing.

 


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