What Are The Best Motorcycle Boots? A Quick Guide To Choosing A Pair For Riding
The best motorcycle boots protect your feet, are comfortable to wear for extended periods, and suit your style of riding and motorcycle.
It's a lot like choosing a pair of work boots. You start with what kind of boots are going to suit what you're doing, and then you get a pair of boots that does the job and that you can stand to wear.
That isn't a whole lot to go on, is it? Don't worry. We're going to give you a quick guide to picking a pair of motorcycle boots. By the end you should have a good idea about what sort of boot you'll want to get, and what to look for in a pair.
Why Do Bikers Need To Wear Motorcycle Boots?
Bikers need to wear motorcycle boots partially for safety, and partially for comfort.
Motorized vehicles produce a lot of heat. When you're in a car, the heat is directed elsewhere or otherwise doesn't get to you in the cab. Riding a motorcycle, the heat is right by your feet. Having a pair of good sturdy boots can keep your feet from getting too toasty.
The other issue is the pedals. Depending on what sort of bike you're riding, the controls can become uncomfortable if not punishing to the feet.
This is the same reason why linemen need to have solid boots to climb ladders, and why factory workers need serious boots or shoes to walk on concrete all day and why road construction crews need serious boots to be on pavement all day.
Then there's the worst case scenario.
If you have to lay the bike down, or crash or what have you, your feet need to be protected.
Tennis shoes will disintegrate. Leather boots can easily be destroyed, but can also absorb a lot of punishment before they fall apart, which can mean the difference between bumps and bruises and years of surgeries and rehab.
So, it's partially for protection and it's partially about comfort.
If a person also wants the biker image...well, it's also part of the look.
So, those are the practical reasons why a person needs motorcycle boots. Now let's talk about what kind of motorcycle boots to look for and what to look for in them.
Pick The Right Motorcycle Boots For Your Motorcycle
Unless you just really want to wear them, you don't necessarily need a pair of engineer boots or heavy motorcycle boots to ride a Honda Cub. Granted, a leather-clad biker stepping off a Cub is funny to think about, but you don't really need them for riding that bike.
The same is true for anyone riding a Vespa or other scooter.
So, where does it begin to matter?
It starts to matter when motorcycles separate into sport bikes and non-sport bikes.
Sport bikes, such as the Honda CBR series or most Kawasaki motorcycles or Ducati motorcycles put the rider forward, with your feet reaching back to the shifter. This changes the type of boot you need to ride this bike well.
Boots for sport bikes tend to be sleek, lightweight and flexible, almost like an overbuilt wrestling shoe. You want some padding, some comfort, but it also has to be flexible enough to actuate the controls in that position.
By contrast, a more conventional street bike or cruiser, like a Honda Goldwing, most Harley Davidson and Indian motorcycles and so on, have your feet either directly under you or slightly ahead, leaning back onto the seat.
In that instance, you need a motorcycle boot that supports your feet a lot more, and has a good amount of structure underneath them to protect you from road vibration and from resting on the frame.
That's why popular motorcycle boots for this kind of bike are barely distinguishable from most leather work boots. If there's any sort of difference, it's that some motorcycle boots have side zips for taking them on and off easily.
So, knowing that motorcycle boots are a good idea to have for comfort and for safety while riding, and that you want to pick a pair of riding boots suited to the kind of motorcycle you ride, what should you look for?
Invest In Good Motorcycle Boots, And You'll Love Every Ride
First is that you shouldn't try to save money in the quest to spend less on motorcycle boots. Just as with getting a pair of work boots, investing in quality pays dividends in comfort as well as longevity.
Your feet will feel better after a day's ride than they would with lesser quality footwear. You may even wear them when you didn't even ride your motorcycle that day if you like them enough.
If you need leather boots that offer the utmost in protection and reinforcement, start by looking for a boot that's actually made substantially, with quality leather and a generous footbed. You're looking for a boot that's built tough.
Ideally, you're looking for a boot that reinforces the foot, providing the support in the heel and the arch that keeps you comfortable but also absorbs the vibrations from the road so your feet don't feel like they've been in a rock tumbler.
A more supportive structure also increases the comfort while wearing them. If you take longer trips - beyond just commuting on your bike - that is going to make a huge difference. A boot that isn't comfortable to wear just won't be comfortable to wear.
Look for a welted or stitchdown construction. These construction methods use stitching to attach the upper, midsole and outsole instead of just gluing them on like most footwear these days. The result is a stronger mechanical bond than a mere chemical one.
And also make sure to pick a pair that looks good.