Motorcycle boots are a must-have piece of protective gear for riders. Aside from keeping your feet safe, they can also help you feel more comfortable on your bike. But when it comes to choosing the right pair of motorcycle boots, there are a lot of factors to consider. There are so many different styles, brands, and materials out there that it can be hard to know where to start.
So, how do you know what kind of boots are right for your needs? The best way to find out is by learning about the different types of motorcycle boots available and knowing how they differ from each other.
In this article, I’ll teach you how to choose the right pair of motorcycle boots for your needs and explain some of the different types of motorcycle boots so that you can find the perfect fit for your feet.
Why Do You Need Motorcycle Boots?
Most hospital admissions show that motorcycle-related injuries focus on the lower leg, especially the feet.
When it comes to motorcycle safety, most people only think about helmets, gloves, and jackets and overlook biker boots. But motorcycle boots are crucial as they protect your feet, which are 15 times more likely to get hurt during an accident. Such injuries can be more severe or become fatal.
How Are Motorcycle Boots Different Than Regular Boots?
When you have ¼ ton of metal under you and are talking with fast winds, it’s obvious your tracksuit or Jordan’s won’t cut it if you have an accident. This is why you need to invest in bike gear that will protect you and keep you comfortable for long rides.
For instance, if ever you get into an accident, you will find that your regular sneakers can’t protect you. Your bike can crush your bones, and as your feet and ankles are fragile, they can quickly sustain a lot of damage.
So, you need something that is specifically made to protect you, like motorcycle boots. Don’t mistake these boots for just some other type of footwear. These boots are engineered like no other and can offer excellent protection.
This is the primary quality that makes biker boots stand out. These boots are designed to deflect any impact, and thanks to secondary protection, they keep your feet from getting over-flexed or crushed.
Comfort and Stability
Motorcycle boots are designed with comfort features, including ventilation and waterproofing. You can also develop better riding stability if you wear proper motorcycle boots. These boots will help you control your bike with ease.
There is no shortage of options when it comes to motorcycle boots. In other words, you don’t have to compromise on style or anything.
How Do Motorcycle Boots Keep Your Feet Safe During Crashes?
It’s an established fact that motorcycle boots keep your feet safe no matter how hard you hit the road. I am going to explain how these boots keep each and every part of your feet safe. I will also explain how these shoes protect you against everything, even if you don’t have proper bike training.
Shin protection was first developed in the 1960s and consists of a plastic hardshell that offers impact protection with a soft viscoelastic material behind it to absorb the impact force. It covers all of your shins. In some shoes, this is installed beneath the out shell and is completely invisible.
Ankles and Soles
Ankles and soles suffer the most during an accident. Therefore, all motorcycle boots are made with a disc-shaped hard shell installed at the ankles and soles. This is backed up by viscoelastic materials that absorb the impact force. So if your feet get trapped, your soles won’t be crushed. It will keep your feet safe, thanks to stiff hyperextension.
Heels and Toes
Toe boxers and heel cups provide flex resistance. These nylon shells are installed within the boot chassis to offer impact protection for both the toe and heel. Nylon shells have the protection of steel toe caps, but they are also flexible and absorb impact to a certain degree. They hardly deform from impact, and even if they do, they quickly return to their original shape.
Your leg can twist over the vertical center if you come off your bike. This twisting will affect the weakest point and can break your leg, ankle, knee, or even hips. To avoid this, semi-flexible braces are installed around the ankle.
If your joint is stretched to a certain limit, like your foot getting pushed too far and away from the shin, it will adversely affect your bones and ligaments. Motorcycle boots help you slow down this force and halt such movements to keep you safe.
This is the opposite movement of the natural angle of your joint. It happens when the front section of your foot is close to the shin of your leg. Boots have pads and shells installed to keep your feet from twisting, but these safety perks have their limit.
Your joints have their fair share of twists and turns, but lateral extension happens when the twisting goes beyond its limit. The shaft height helps prevent this overextension, thus keeping you and your legs safe.
These brace systems are used in high-end boots, especially the ones used in professional sports. It protects you from all four injuries I mentioned before. These braces offer a lot of protection and keep your leg from twisting. Yes, the old ones kept your feet from twisting back, but modern systems keep improving, which is beneficial for your ankles.
Toe Sliders and Metatarsal Protection
These are also some sort of protective ballistics but are kept inside the shoe. It ensures your toes are safe during an accident, limits hyperextension, and keeps the metatarsal bones safe.
Bike accidents can also affect your upper shin, and this impact can easily go up to your knee. If you want to protect that area, then you are better off investing in taller boots. They might be uncomfortable when your ankle gets injured, but they offer excellent protection, even in the worst accidents.
Depending on your budget or which type of motorcycle boots you get, all of them have a combination or a standard set of the above-mentioned safety measures to give you the best protection.
The Different Types of Biker Boots and Their Uses
There are 5 different types of motorcycle boots available, and they differ when it comes to their use (long drive, on-road, or off-road), comfort, and protection. Therefore, before you go out and invest in a pair of boots for yourself, I will help you learn about these types and show you what makes them unique.
1. Adventure and Touring
These are hybrid shoes that combine the comfort of long driving with the protection of off-road boots. Tourer boots are a bit taller than regular ankle boots. These boots protect the lower leg area and your foot against crash impact. These shoes have better durability than cruising boots.
- Taller height and supreme ankle protection
- An all-rounder boot popular among bikers
- Excellent weatherproofing quality
- Bulky design
- Expensive as compared to other categories
- Can only be used for bike riding
Cruiser boots offer a unique blend of comfort and safety. These shoes make your feet relaxed, positioned upright, and straightened right below your knees. Wearing these boots gives you a 90-degree ankle position while offering excellent safety and ankle support.
- Classic (vintage look) and great protection
- Can be used as your daily driver (apart from riding)
- Excellent ankle protection
Off-road boots are known for their durability and safety. These boots are very popular among the biker community, and even a cheap dirt boot will keep you safe from injuries during a severe crash. They are also called motocross boots, with qualities like body armor and some added comfort features.
- Designed for rough use
- Offers the best protection among all biker boots
- Comfortable long rides and excellent air ventilation
- Styling issues
4. Race, Sport, and Street
These boots are more style-centric and offer aggressive protection. They have better qualities to deter crash impact and protect you from abrasion. Yes, these boots have a smaller profile, improving their comfort, especially when tucked in an aggressive race posture.
- Lightweight with excellent protection
- Sleek and simple design compared to other types of boots
- Integrated protectors for the toes and heels
- Not for off-road use
5. Short and Compact
These motorcycle boots are not geared towards any particular riding. Instead, they are known for their supreme comfort. Short bike boots come with a rugged sole and a balanced height. If you need stability without compromising protection, this type of motorcycle boots is all you need, thanks to its added layer of armor and padding.
- Comfortable compared to taller boots
- Still lacks protection
Men’s vs Women’s Motorcycle Shoes
Men’s and women’s shoes differ, and these differences are not only limited to styling and size. Instead, it’s the whole DNA of the shoe.
Men’s boots are heavier and chunkier when compared to women’s. Some believe it’s a design thing. But the truth is that men have bigger feet than women in most cases. Therefore, their boots tend to be heavier.
Men’s boots are rugged and larger compared to women’s. Ladies usually have smaller feet, so they often have boots with a different design.
High Ankle Support
Men’s motorcycle boots have higher ankles. Once again, this could be a styling factor.
More Color Options
Women have more color options when it comes to boots. Sadly, men only have a handful of options here.
What to Look for When Buying Motorcycle Boots
This ultimate guide to motorcycle boots won’t do justice if I didn’t talk about the things you should look for when buying motorcycle boots.
There are many different riding styles: casual rides, off-road, highway, long drives, and others.
All these different riding styles also demand a different approach, as they have their own unique challenges. So, consider how you are going to ride your bike before buying motorcycle boots.
Knowing the safety rating is a smart way to start your search. These boots are vigorously tested and assigned a CE rating, ranging from level 1 to level 2 (with the latter being the highest). The following table will explain this rating system:
|Test||Description||Level 1||Level 2|
|Abrasion Resistance||Seconds needed to abrade||5 seconds||12 seconds|
|Resistance to Cut or Penetration||Outer layer penetration during an accident||20mm||15mm|
|Transverse Rigidity||Force needed to deform the boot||1.0KN||1.5KN|
|Sole Abrasion Resistance||Checks the volume loss of sole in 3mm|
|Lining Abrasion Resistance||Checks the number of times a sandpaper disc will oscillate across the fabric in both dry and wet environments before the outer layer starts deteriorating|
|Waterproofing||Checks if water leaks through the boot after being submerged in 2 cm water for 80 minutes|
|Sole and Upper Test||Tests the soles and upper boots’ durability in mm|
Your footwear’s height can be a personal preference, similar to almost any other shoe type. However, your options are limited here because anything that fails to protect your ankles is useless.
So if you want to keep yourself safe from ankle injuries during an accident, find motorcycle boots with ankle support and good shaft height. Yes, this may cost you your flexibility, but it’s for better safety.
The right fit plays a vital role, and it correlates with your comfort and safety. If you are buying in person, then try out both sides. If you are buying online, you should study the sizing guidelines and understand the differences between brands before choosing your fit.
Also, consider the socks you will use with these boots because their thickness can impact the fitting. Motorcycle boots tend to be stiffer than regular boots. Whatever you do, make sure you are not compromising your safety. Fortunately, most motorcycle brands today have created a good balance between safety and comfort.
Once again, you have plenty of options to choose from. All these materials have pros and cons (which we will discuss later). Just remember your usage, bike type, and travel requirements so you will pick the right choice. The following are the common materials used in making motorcycle boots:
- Leather (both high and low grade)
- Thermoplastic polyurethane
Also, don’t forget the sole’s material. You will need a non-slip design as it offers proper traction for riding and makes sure you don’t slip during off-bike use.
A well-made boot will go a long way. You need something that can last longer and put up against any rough condition or use. This will help you get more value from your money. As for stitching, make sure the seams have double or triple stitching. This will help keep your feet safe and the boot from tearing apart during an accident.
Motorcycle boots need to be comfortable aside from offering protection. The trick is to find the right balance for yourself. But like I said before, today’s motorcycle boots have the right balance of these aspects. You just need to find the right option based on your usage and how long you will ride your bike.
For instance, you need better protection for sports or off-road use, whereas you will be OK with a relatively comfortable option if you plan a long drive or drive on the highway.
Look for a pair with a secure closure. Check the laces, Velcro, buckles, etc. This depends on your preference, but whatever you choose, make sure it doesn’t come undone while riding. If you want our tip, then Velcro and buckles are a better option than simple laces.
This is the most important thing you should consider when buying motorcycle boots. Ensure the boots are durable, stable, and have a good grip. Sure footing will support your ankles and keep them safe during an accident. Check the sole and make sure it’s rugged and durable enough to take a beating without cracking or delaminating.
Also, you need to look for impact and abrasion protection. Padding with double or triple layers of outer materials will help absorb the impact and keep your feet safe and sound. Materials like Kevlar, Cordura, and leather protect you against abrasion, injuries, or loss of skin or muscle. So, keep an eye out for triple or double stitching, padding collar, and ankles with toe sliders and armor.
Style should be the least of your concern. Yes, looks matter, but safety and comfort should be your top priority when it comes to motorcycle boots. Never pick any motorcycle boots just because they look fancy. There is nothing wrong with buying whatever style you like best, but in this case, function comes before form.
Riding can get difficult during extreme weather, both cold and hot. But if you plan to ride during summer, then you need something with good breathability. You don’t want your boots to smell right after purchase. So make sure your boots have good ventilation, or else the smell will build up. Keep your boots in good shape, and clean them often to help keep the smell to a bare minimum.
Once you have decided to go with a pair with excellent ventilation, you also need to consider the weather-resistance capabilities of the boots (against sun and rain). The boots shouldn’t get too hot because they will affect your feet and should be waterproof to ensure your feet don’t get soaked in the rain. Lastly, the boots must have a sort of dirt resistance or protection because they can stick to the boot and ruin its look.
Soles and Insoles
The soles have to be rugged and sturdy as they play a vital role in keeping your feet safe. You need flexibility to an extent, or else you won’t be able to use the brake and gear. Look for anti-slip soles as they are helpful during rain. Rubber and steel soles, on the other hand, are oil resistant. Also, see if you can replace insoles when they wear out. It ensures your shoes will last you long.
Budget is important with any purchase, and motorcycle boots can get expensive. So you need to go with a set budget and look for something that suits it. Don’t settle for the cheaper option because you will only compromise protection, comfort, and durability.
Motorcycles are a lot of fun. However, they can also be dangerous. The right motorcycle boots can make the difference between a safe ride and a trip to the hospital. Therefore, if you want to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your bike, it’s important to invest in a pair of high-quality motorcycle boots.
After reading this guide, you should have a much better idea of what to look for in motorcycle boots. I hope the information above will help you find the perfect fit. Happy shopping and ride safe!