I see riders wearing tennis shoes every day and I am always amazed. Penny loafers slaps and dress shoes just do not have any place in your protective equipment inventory. I have even seen people riding barefoot. I mean, how do you even shift? That must be brutal. So, in my book, what goes on your feet is a pair of boots. It is not a question of “if” it is a question of “what type” of boots. As with all the other protective gear, your boots must be comfortable. You do not want your focus distracted because your feet hurt.
Two Important Characteristics
There are two main things that you want from a pair of motorcycle boots, ankle support, and non-slip soles.
• Ankle support is important while you are riding for strength and endurance and if you should go down, to protect your ankles. Any boot height lower than your ankles is not the boot you want.
• The non-slip soles help keep your feet on the foot pegs or floorboards. When you stop at a light and put your foot down, you do not want it to go slipping away from you. Any grip in the sole helps stabilize you when you are standing still or walking your bike.
So, what kind of boots are you going to get?
I wear engineer boots and sometimes cowboy boots. I must be careful with my cowboy boots as sometimes when you put your feet down at a red light, you will lose your footing, really quick. My engineer boots have treads on the soles which help prevent this problem.
I am absolutely convinced that spending the money on a quality pair of boots is the smart way to go. As a lineman, climbing telephone poles in my early career, I bought a pair of “Wesco” climbing boots. After three years and a couple of thousand poles, they were still in fairly good shape. Good craftsmanship and good materials make the difference. When you are selecting your motorcycle boots, you can choose a low-quality boot but I think you will be back buying a second pair a lot sooner than if you had purchased a high-quality pair. How do you know low from high quality? This is easy, it’s the price.
• Get heels tall enough to comfortably hook on the foot pegs but not so tall that they can catch on stuff that you do not want them to catch on.
• Some (high quality) boots have a shifter guard sewn onto the top (above the toe) of the left foot. This is great as without it, you will see a noticeable wear spot on your left boot after a couple of thousand gear shifts. Do you really need this shifter guard, no, not really, it’s just nice?
• Gore-Tex is a miracle textile, it breathes. It lets the heat go out of your boot and keeps the rain from coming in. This is on hiking boot styles only.
• Are your boots going to be double duty, riding and other uses? Keep this in mind when you are selecting your boots. Walking and riding are two different actions and your double duty boots must be good at both.
Like I said at the beginning, you must wear boots when riding your bike. I know it’s tempting to just jump on and ride but just remember that boots are as much of your protective gear as your helmet.