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When getting ready to go riding on your motorcycle, do you spend a while getting all your motorcycle gear on? After putting on your suit, helmet, and gloves, you may be wondering whether you really need those boots. So, are motorcycle boots worth it?
Motorcycle boots are worth every penny as an important part of motorcycle gear because they keep your feet and ankles protected while you ride. With the hot exhaust pipes and motor nearby, you need something to keep you from getting a nasty burn.
Motorcycle boots are your only protection for your feet in an accident as well. Whether you are the driver or just a passenger, being so exposed to the street and other dangers, foot injuries are common for those who do not wear boots. Let’s look at the 12 reasons that motorcycle boots are worth it.
Why Wear Motorcycle Boots?
People wear work boots when they work around machinery and snow boots when they go out in the snow. So why not wear motorcycle boots when you ride a motorcycle? While helmets are mandatory in most states, boots are not mentioned as part of that package.
The Experts Recommend Them
One of the most important reasons to wear motorcycle boots is that the Motorcycle Safety Foundation recommends them. All safety gear, including quality motorcycle boots, are recommended for riding or driving a bike. They list several things about motorcycle boots that you should pay attention to such as:
- They need to have good insulation
- Boots need to be sturdy
- They should be heat resistant
- Good motorcycle boots have rubber composite soles that resist oil and slipping
- They should cover your ankles
- No motorcycle boots should have high heels
- They should hug your calf tightly, so they stay on well
Why Not Just Wear Work or Hiking Boots?
Even though work boots usually have steel toes and non-skid soles, they are just not made for bike riding. First, they have laces that can get tangled. While some motorcycle boots can have laces, they are specially made to stay tucked into your shoes.
Hiking boots are made for walking and although they support your ankle, they do not usually have the toe protection that you need. Some of them have strong soles that hold up for hiking on rocks and dirt, but they are just not made for bike riding.
Boots Keep Your Feet Warm
Bikes have no protection from the elements like vehicles do. That means you need to have something warm on your feet as well as your body. Flying down the highway at 60 miles per hour can get cold even if it is 80 degrees outside.
And the good quality boots are also breathable, so your feet do not get too warm. Most of them are made of leather or another strong and breathable outer shell. The inside should be lined with a waterproof lining and even some type of padding.
They Protect Your Feet
All sports have risks but riding a motorcycle can be really dangerous if you do not prepare yourself. That includes wearing the proper safety equipment. Your boots will save you from more injuries than you can imagine. Here are some of the common ones:
- The reinforced sole protects the bottom of your feet from the street should your foot touch the ground.
- There is typically a rigid ankle protection area to keep from getting abrasions or broken ankles.
- Steel-toed motorcycle boots have a box of protection for your toes, which are typically the most common part of your foot to get injured.
- They have reinforced heels to keep your foot from getting crushed.
- Quality boots will act as shock absorbers to take the vibrations your bike puts out, so you do not feel like you have been using a jackhammer all day.
They Do Not Have Laces
One important thing that many new bikers find is that wearing tennis shoes or other shoes with laces can be dangerous. If your laces get stuck in the foot controls, you are likely to have an accident.
Motorcycle boots do not usually have any type of laces that hang or any other parts that may get tangled in anything. The ones that do have laces are made with laces that tie from the inside and they have lace protectors on them.
Motorcycle Boots are Comfortable
Besides being warm, good motorcycle boots are made for comfort. Most of them are cushioned on the inside and hug your calves so they fit like a glove. You must purchase a good quality pair.
Otherwise, you can end up with uncomfortable shoes that you will not want to wear. All it takes is one time of going out on your bike without your motorcycle boots and you could end up missing a toe or a foot.
They Provide Ankle and Foot Support
When you stop at a red light or stop sign, what is the first thing you do? Put your feet down, right? You will find out quickly why you should wear motorcycle boots after the first trip without them.
Your feet and ankles need extra support when they are supporting a 400-pound machine. Between the weight of the motorcycle and yours as well as your passenger’s weight, you are talking about a possible 800 pounds weighing on your feet at each stop.
Motorcycle Boots are Weatherproof
The wind is not the only thing to worry about when riding a bike. There is always rain and snow. Although a lot of people do not ride in bad weather, sometimes it is not intentional. But you should be prepared for anything.
The weather can change, especially if you are traveling from one state to another. So, your boots must be waterproof and warm while still being cool enough so that your feet do not sweat.
They Have Excellent Traction
When walking around motorcycles, you will likely see some type of fluid on the ground whether it is:
- Some other leakage
Motorcycle boots keep you prepared for that. The non-skid soles are also better for shifting gears and keeping your feet on the pegs where they belong. The traction also comes in handy when stopping at lights or stop signs.
You Have No Protection Like in a Car
When you are riding your bike, there is no metal box around you like there is when you are driving a car. That is part of the attraction for most riders. The thrill of it all.
But with no metal body around you, the more protection you can wear the better. The boots are second in importance, right after your helmet. You need your feet or riding a motorcycle is almost impossible.
Regular Shoes Will Shred in a Skid
In the event of an accident, your bike usually goes into a skid, which means your feet are skidding up against the rough ground as well. Along with your other gear, the boots you wear will protect your important extremities that are out there in the danger area.
When you skid, you may be shocked at how well your boots hold up. And skidding happens a lot. A lot of riders claim that without their sturdy and well-made motorcycle boots, they would have lost a foot by now.
They Look Great
Maybe one of the best reasons is how great they look. However, it is not all about the look. You have to remember that you need the protection as well as the awesomeness. Here are some recommended beauties:
These boots are 100% leather with:
- Full-grain leather uppers
- Mesh lining
- The inside zipper locks for safety
- Rubber outsoles with a Goodyear welt construction
Not only are they sturdy and strong, but they also look amazing with the Harley Davidson badge in three separate places. They come in brown or black and cost less than $200.
For a bit over $200 (at the time of publishing), you can get these tall boots with fashion straps and adjustable buckles for a snug fit.
- They are made of soft leather and
- Have a moisture-wicking liner, so your feet won’t sweat no matter how long you ride
- With rubber non-skid soles and an abrasion-resistant outsole, they will last for years
In fact, they have a 12-month warranty as well so you can be assured that they are well-made.
For a bit more money (about $260 at the time of writing this article), these 5-star biker boots are stylish as well as strong.
- The high-quality leather is breathable
- They have anti-slip rubber soles that resist oil and are antistatic
- The inner protective shell is comfortable and waterproof
- The leg strap is adjustable
- The laces are protected so they won’t get tangled as you ride
For the racer, these full-length molded boots
have a metal shank insert
and snap lock buckles that are adjustable.
- The mesh interior is cushioned and breathable
- Have a leather heat shield to protect you from burns
- They have a metal toe guard
- They come in four different colors
And the price is affordable for just about any rider at a bit over $115.
For the motorcycle rider on a budget, these Bruno Marc boots are an excellent choice for safety and style for under $40 (at the time of writing this article).
- They have a durable non-skid rubber sole
- Vintage design
- Great price
Although they have laces, they also have a side zipper, so they are easy on and off. And the laces are protected by a strap, so you do not have to worry about tangling.
Different Types of Motorcycle Boots
There are four basic types of motorcycle boots. While they are all made for riding, some have different elements that make them better for specific riding. However, they are all made of a strong breathable material like leather and have thick non-skid soles. Here are the four boot types:
- Touring and Cruiser Boots are the classic motorcycle boots. They are made to protect the feet and have the height needed to protect your ankles as well. Some are taller to protect your calves. Most of them have side zippers but no laces.
- Dual Sport and Adventure Boots are made for both racing and cruising. You will find these in all different heights and styles, with the focus on comfort as well as good looks. But they all have protective shells and skid-resistant soles.
- Motocross Boots are specifically made for varied terrain and impacts. They open lengthwise and reach all the way to the knee for full protection. With all types of straps and buckles to fine-tune the fit, they are made to stay in place during rough rides.
- Racetrack Boots are tall and protective, reaching up to and sometimes over the knees. They are usually lined with metal or plastic plates to protect from impacts. These are like motocross boots but made for asphalt and concrete rather than off-road.
Are They Worth It?
Absolutely. No doubt about it. If you ask any motorcycle owner who rides often, they will tell you that their boots have saved their feet many times. Going riding without motorcycle boots can be as dangerous as riding without a helmet. Speaking of helmets, let’s take a look at some of the other important motorcycle gear you will need.
The Helmet is the Most Important Part of Your Gear
The motorcycle helmet you wear can save your life. In all states besides Illinois and Iowa, it is a law that you wear a helmet when you ride. However, in about half of the states, it is only enforced for those under 18 or 21 years old.
Not only is it a law to wear a helmet, but you have to wear a helmet that complies with certain DOT standards. After analyzing more than 3,500 police reports of highway bike crashes, it was found that they save lives by reducing head injury.
Riding Gear is Important Too
The weather is an important factor in how you dress, but you should always dress to protect your body from a traumatic injury. Protective gear like riding suits and jackets are not just stylish, but they can be lifesaving in the case of an accident.
A basic riding outfit should have the following elements:
- Close fitting collar
- Zippered front with a wind flap
- Reflective stripes
- Secure and snug wrist cuffs
- Abrasion resistant material like leather
- Snug fit with a belt or close-fitting waist
- Thermal underwear or layers for cold weather
- Water resistant layers for wet weather
Do Not Forget the Gloves
Gloves will not only keep your hands warm, but they will protect your hands and fingers from injury in an accident. Full fingers and snug fit are both important for preventing blisters and abrasions. Insulation will protect you from the cold and rough weather while adding a layer of protection from the street in an accident.
Why Do Riders Need So Much Protection?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that motorcycle riders are more than 25 times as likely to die in a traffic accident than in a passenger car. Bikers have multiple things against them when riding. Many of them have nothing to do with their driving skills or experience. Some of these risks include:
- You are harder to see on a motorcycle than in a car. This may not be an issue for you, but if the other drivers cannot see you, it is more likely that you will be hit. No matter how much you go out of your way to be seen, motorcycles are just not as visible as automobiles.
- Balancing a 400 to 600-pound bike is more difficult than riding a car with four wheels. That means it is easier to lose control. It does not matter how long you have been riding, if you hit a patch of oil or black ice on your bike, it is much more dangerous than if you were in a vehicle.
- Not having a roof or windshield, you are more susceptible to being hit by items. The windshield of a vehicle does more than just protect you from wind. It protects you from rain and snow as well. Also, those small pieces of gravel or rock that can be kicked up from a vehicle in front of you can be dangerous without a windshield.
- Besides the windshield, you are also not protected by the metal frame that automobile manufacturers provide for safety when in a vehicle. Motorcycles do not offer that protection. And although that may be the reason you enjoy riding so much; it does not help if you fall off at a high speed.
It Comes Down to This
What it comes down to is this; being so exposed at a high rate of speed can be dangerous so you should wear as much protective equipment as you can. And boots are definitely one of the most important ones. You need your feet so keep them covered and protected while you ride.