Because riding exposes you to the elements and certain dangers, motorcycle riding gear is quite a bit more intensive than driving a car or truck, which isn’t to say that we haven’t seen – nor unsee – drivers, riders, and passengers with none at all. Now, you could put on a jacket, gloves, boots, and helmet, and ride to your heart’s content. On the other hand, if you want to be comfortable and protected, motorcycle-specific riding gear is an absolute must.
Some riding gear is obviously riding gear, such as gloves with carbon-fiber knuckle protection or certain off-road motorcycle boots. On the other hand, some gear is designed to look and feel like everyday wear, so some people wonder, “Why spend the extra money on a glorified leather work boot?”
Interestingly, while a typical heavy work boot and motorcycle boot have some things in common, they are not built with the same requirements in mind. For those who don’t want a motorcycle boot that looks like a motorcycle boot, knowing the difference can quite literally save your skin. Considering that motorcycle riders suffer the most instances of lower-extremity injuries in accidents, protection down there is of vital importance.
Motorcycle Boots vs Regular Boots
Motorcycle boots are constructed to improve your chances of walking away from even minor motorcycle accidents. Extra padding and abrasion-resistant materials on the ankle add extra protection for laydown and crush resistance. Molded plastic or carbon-fiber may be used to prevent twisting and over-extension, helping prevent strains and sprains in the ankle. High boots may include extra protection on the shin. Oil-resistant soles help prevent slipping when dismounting or balancing at a stop.
According to a 2008 NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) study of motorcycle-accident-related injuries, a nearly half were in the lower extremities, from the hips down. Of those, 20% were injuries to the foot and ankle.
Aside from protection elements you might not be able to see, motorcycle boots are made for riding in other ways. Extra padding may be included for the shifter and brake to improve wear resistance and grip. Some boots may include wind- or rain-resistant materials and construction. Many motorcycle boot fastening systems, such as laces, buckles, straps, velcro, or combinations of these, improve fit and comfort while not snagging on the motorcycle or each other.
Different Times Call for Different Boots
No matter what you ride or where you ride, wear appropriate riding gear. Just like a leather motorcycle jacket offers more protection and comfort than a discount leather jacket, motorcycle boots offer more mototcycle safety and protection from the environment and accidents than, say, a pair of work boots or sneakers. We can assure you the extra money would be worthwhile, and peace of mind is surely the best way to enjoy the ride.