It's probably safe to say that motorcycle boots are one of the most overlooked items of riding gear. It seems that many times we do not pay much attention to what footwear we choose for sport touring adventures. Although high speed accidents involve your head, hands and arms injuries, the most common accidents are at lower speed and these will involve your feet and ankles.
Needless to say that one should never consider going with
shoes that they find best for walking or hiking as they find them comfortable
and waterproof and they seem to do the job. Riding boots are designed for
specific purposes and whilst it's true that some are rather uncomfortable to
walk around now there is so much to choose from that you will always find a
Today's market offers motorcycle footwear ranging from trainers
looking shoes such as the Alpinestars Riding Boots Joey Blk to sport or sport
touring motorcycle boots. However, for the purpose of sport touring we choose
not to consider the extremes that are the street shoes or the highest end race
boots both types shown below.
Any way your perfect motorcycle boots should combine all the
necessary features for your specific riding style and your expectations on how
far you would walk wearing them once you're off the seat. In other words you
will think about them whilst being on and off your motorcycle. Remember that
the first category (on the bike) is hugely important, at least for the purpose
Riding boots come in various heights offering different
degree of protection such as ankle support, protection from flying debris or
insulation from engine or exhaust heat. Obviously as the boot gets higher it
will generally be less comfortable for walking around. Often the compromise is
found somewhere around 10 to 12 inches (25 – 30 cm) in height.
Inspect the sole. It should be oil, chemical and slip resistant. The thickness should not be less than 0.5 inch (13mm). The pattern
on it should resemble a thread on a tire so you know the grip in any condition
will not disappoint you. Bear in mind that a lot will depend on it. Imagine what happen when your foot slips out
from under you. Once your motorcycle starts to fall over, often there is not
much you can do to rescue it. If this happens don't try killing your leg, just
lay the bike down and save yourself a leg injury. It happens!
As for the attachment of the sole to the boot upper there
are two options: welted or cemented. Welting (stitching) is made with a much
stronger thread than cotton and the examples are nylon or Kevlar. Welting makes
the boot stiffer but more durable and stable. At the same time it will take a
while before they start to flex properly and so become more comfortable. The
cemented construction is most common for sport touring and definitely more
flexible and comfortable when taking out of the box.
Look for other features like reinforced toes, ankle
protectors, heel reflectors, and reinforced shifter pad on top of the left toe.
These will be present on a decent motorcycle riding boots. Don't forget about
ventilation if you intend to use them mostly as summer motorcycle boots.
Pay attention to what materials were used in the
construction of the boot. Leather is the most frequent choice as it is natural
breathable water resistant material. Just bear in mind that not all leather
will perform the same. Look for a full grain at least 1.5 mm thick. Often the
water-resistance is accomplished by combining leather with breathable
water-proof membrane like Gore-Tex. This
is perhaps the best combination out there.