May 15 Motorcycle Awareness Month
I am going to talk to you about choosing proper footwear for when you are riding. I will try to explain why you should wear good boots when riding and give suggestions on what to look for.
When riding a motorcycle, you should wear over the ankle sturdy boots with good traction. This is not just to look like a “biker” but also to save you from injury. Believe me, if you have an injury to the ankle is takes a long time to heal and sometimes it is always a weak joint after the first injury. I know from experience. A good pair of motorcycle boots will reduce the impact on your feet, ankles, and legs should you be involved in a crash. Motorcycles produce heat from the engine and the exhaust pipes. Boots will prevent your legs from getting burned if accidentally brushed against a hot engine or pipe. Motorcycle boots are designed with good tread which will help you keep the bike stable when stationary at a stoplight or when maneuvering it into a parking spot.
Now I know “Motorcycle” boots can be expensive but there are many boots on the market that are affordable that are just as good if not better. I know there are a few of you who only wear “Harley” boots and that is fine but that is not best option for everyone. Everyone is different so there is no one perfect boot. Here are the important things to consider when looking for riding boot:
- Fit – Boots should fit you correctly. They should be over the ankle and some people will prefer longer boots and some like me need shorter shaft boots. Boots should not be too big. You don’t need your foot moving around inside the boot in an accident. That would be asking for broken toes. Boots should not be too small. You don’t want to cut off blood flow to your feet.
- Comfort - Boots need to be comfortable. You may be wearing them all day long. You should also consider that you may be stopping and walking around on your ride so you need boots to be comfortable enough so you can walk around in them as well as ride. I have a pair of Justin boots that I can ride all day in, but I cannot walk in for any length of time. They rub in the wrong place when I walk so, I don’t wear them very often at all. I had a pair of Survivors work boots that I could ride in all day and then hike Starved Rock National Park with no problem.
- Traction – Traction will help when you put your foot down at stops and so your feet don’t slip when you are pushing the bike when backing into a parking spot. I prefer hiking boot tread but there are other tread types. A small heal also helps to grip pegs and can be extra traction. I know some people prefer “Cowboy” boots to ride in. I have both Justin and Ariat “Cowboy” boots but they have traction soles. I attended a Harley Garage Party a few years ago and they were pushing their new “Cowboy” boots, looked these over and personally would never ride in them. They had no traction. They were like “Real Cowboy” boots. I have talked with people who do ride in these types of boots and they don’t have a problem but I think you have to be used to them.
- Lace-up verse Pull-on verse Zip-up – Lace-up boots can be tightened down for a better fit, but they take longer to put on. Lace-up boots have gaps where water can get in even if they are waterproof. Pull-on boots are fast to get on and off but they can be loose and in an accident they may come off easier. Pull-on boots are usually more watertight depending on material they are made from. Zip-up boots are quick to put on depending on if they also have laces or the placement of the zipper. I have a pair that you always have to re-tie every time you put them on so what is the point of the zipper? The zipper is a place for water to seep in.
- Steel toe or not – Steel toes are an option and some people love them and some hate them. They can help protect your toes from the shifter on a ride or during an accident. They can also get very hot if too close to your engine and in some accidents, they can cause damage if they are pushed down into your feet.
- There are also Riding Tennis shoes on the market. They are reinforced in the protection areas and are made to ride in. May sport bikers wear them and a few of our sisters have also found they like them. They allow more air flow in the hot temps and they usually more flexible and so are more comfortable if you don’t wear boots in your non riding time.
I personally have a shoe addiction and have several pairs of riding boots. I have dressy ones, different color ones to go with my work slacks, old broken in ones, and everyday ones. I have “Cowboy” boots, work boots and Biker boots. My personal favorites are my Justin Steel Toe boots. They are waterproof, steel toe with good traction and they are good for long trips. I also found a shoe cobbler that will replace the soles with hiking tread for $50.00 so I can keep my boots longer. In Leather & Lace MC, we do not allow sisters to ride in the pack unless they have boots on. It is the Road Captain’s job to worry about your safety and I will not let you ride in unsafe shoes. Every time I see someone in tennis shoes or sandals or flip flops, I want to grab them and shake them or show them the pictures of feet trauma from motorcycle accidents.