What is the Purpose of Motocross Boots? A Buyers Guide for Newbies.


What is the Purpose of Motocross Boots?

Fast Answers –

1. The first and most important is that they protect your feet and lower legs from serious injury when you crash at any speed. Have you ever hurt your foot or leg from falling off a bicycle? Times that injury by 1000 if you were on a motorcycle (see below injury).

2. Motocross boots protect your feet and shins from passing obstacles.There are so many obstacles when riding dirt bikes and your lower legs and feet are on the front line of the impact. Branches, rocks, flying debris can also seriously damage or even break your shins and feet when they are flying at your legs at any speed.

3. Motocross boots protect your ankles from twisting.  Motocross boots are super stiff and it is virtually impossible to twist your ankle while riding. They hold your ankle, foot and leg in a perfect position so they do not move laterally.

4. Motocross boots protect your legs from the heat of the exhaust.  Motocross boots are made with a heat resistant plastic heat shield on the side of the boot to protect your legs from serious exhaust pipe burns. Show me a dirt bike rider and I will show you a half melted heat shield on one boot. They work!

5. Motocross boots are responsible for vital dirt bike controls. Your boot is responsible for applying the rear break with your heel and changing gears with your toe, A pair of runners just wouldn’t be able to withstand the punishment that these controls exert on your foot. Only a good pair of motocross boots can take the pressure of this type of work.

6. Motocross boots keep you stuck to the pegs! Dirt bike riding means that you are placing all your weight on the pegs to move around and balance your weight on the bike. Motocross boots have super soft, grippy soles to allow the pegs to dig deep into the boots so you don’t slip off. Normal shoes or boots just aren’t built for this type of punishment.

7. Motocross boots make you a more confident rider. No doubt about it! When you feel safe you will be more confident to attempt more technical moves on your dirt bike. Protection and safety = confidence!

Introduction

There’s a lot more to know about motocross boots though then finding the coolest design.

Motocross boots are built by a few different brands that have their own ideas about design, shape, functionality, size and features.

A European boot for example will have different foot sizes then an American brand and so it’s important to buy a brand that properly fits your foot.

Just because a pair of motocross boots are awesome for a famous rider, doesn’t mean that they will be any good for you.

Motocross boots need to give you the greatest amount of comfort possible and allow you to perform at your very best.

In this article I will be going through 7 important points that you need to know when looking for the best motocross boots that work for you.

Do you need to Wear Motorcycle Boots?

YES! Besides your helmet, motocross boots are the most important part of your gear that protects your body from serious injury.

The shins and feet are the first part of the body to get hit by rocks, logs, branches and stones and even the occasional fence.

Coming off your bike unexpectedly will make a total mess of your feet if you are only wearing a pair of runners or flip flops.

Why? Speed is a killer for unprotected feet and lower legs!

 The next time you are at a hospital, ask some nurses about dirt bike riders that are rushed to hospital with mangled toes, feet and destroyed ankles from riding without the right boots.

They will be able to give you at least 2 horror stories that they could think of that occurred in the past few months.

   GORE WARNING AHEAD!!!    

Extreme foot damage from riding a dirt bike in flip flops.
Damn son! This is from wearing flip flops on a motorcycle and crashing. Photo courtesy of documentingreality.com

Don’t be one of these people! your legs and feet must be fully protected at all times!

Motocross Boots will Increase your Riding Confidence!

Apart from protecting yourself from injury, a good pair of boots also will make you a much more confident rider.

This isn’t only because they look awesome, it’s also because that you can tackle harder terrain, practice wheelies and attack more technical areas of the track, knowing that if you mess up and come off, your lower legs and feet will be completely protected.

Motocross boots are one of the main tools to allow you to be a better rider. So it really pays to get the right ones.

 I recommend that you also buy a set of knee guards when buying boots, because your knees and upper shins cop a serious thrashing as well. A rock to the knee at high speeds can do some serious damage and so can landing on your knees if you crash.

If you are on a budget and cannot afford knee braces, knee guards are a must.

fox knee guards.
The Fox knee guards are only about 35 bucks and protect your knees and upper legs from impact.

 

Okay, here my 7 important points to understanding motocross boots.

#1 Motocross Boots Construction.

Protection and strength is at the top of the list for obvious reasons. motocross boots must be made really tough to handle anything you throw at them.

a. Outer Armour: The outer armor of the boot should be made of a tough plastic that protects your feet, shins and lower legs against any collision you can throw at it.

b. Grip: They should also have really good under sole grip that won’t lose their grip from wear and will keep you up on the pegs at all times without slipping off.

c. Buckles: The buckles are the 3 or 4 fasteners that keep your boots secured to your feet. They are under a lot of constant pressure and have to be built super tough.

 Make sure you can replace the buckles on your boots if they get broken! moto retailers will sell replacement buckles for most types of boots so be sure to ask this question before you purchase.

d. Heat Shield: Your left boot acts as a heat shield against the heat off the muffler, so your boots also need to be able to withstand extreme heat.

Personally, on a few pairs of my boots I have had the outer plastic shielding on the left boot completely melted off!.  You would think that the boot designers would have figured this issue out by now but I know some boots to this day that still have melting issues.

Make sure your boots have accounted for this issue with extra shielding in the inner side of the boot leg.

In short, your boots need to cop an absolute thrashing without breaking down, melting, tearing snapping or falling apart. For the amount of money you will be paying for them, you have to demand this level of quality.

 #2 What are the Most Comfortable Motocross Boots?

 Comfort is very important! It’s no secret that motocross boots can be really uncomfortable. They can be stiff, heavy and hot. They can force your stance forward when standing and they can make it harder to change gears.

Motocross boots can also reduce your ankle movements to virtually nothing.

There are a few factors with comfort you need to consider:

 Put on a Pair of Motocross Socks First!

Don’t try on boots in bare feet or normal thin sports socks as this will give you a false comfort reading. Get some motocross socks first!

Motocross socks have extra padding and support that you won’t get from regular socks and it’s the best way to try on a new pair of boots.

use dirt bike socks when trying on dirt bike boots.
Always wear motocross socks when trying on a new pair of dirt bike boots.

Break in your Motocross Boots.

Just because your boots feel super stiff now, that doesn’t mean they will always feel like that.

Break-in times vary, but most boots will become a lot more flexible and wearable after the first couple of rides.

Don’t stress too much about stiffness when you first slide into your new pair of boots. Comfort is far more important than stiffness.

Motocross Boots Inner Padding & Booties.

I personally like inner padding that is soft and plush as they just fit me better and are more comfortable.

Boots that feel hard inside can be really uncomfortable I have found.

This is just personal preference but comfort should be the key here.

 If you are having trouble with getting the right fit or the inner padding is just feeling too uncomfortable for your foot, try a brand of boot that uses a bootie.

A bootie is a soft shoe made of foam that you slip on your foot.

A bootie can provide greater comfort and a more snug fit if you are an awkward foot size.

alpinestars tech10 booties
Alpinestars replaceable tech10 booties are great for a snug fit.
alpine stars tech 10 moto boots
Alpinestars Tech 10 moto boots are super popular and use the inner bootie system.

#3 Are Motocross Boots the Same Size as Shoes?

Yes they are. Manufacturers try to keep in standard with the sizing guides of normal shoes.

Saying this though, If you are (for example) a size 10 size boot, some 10 boots will be too big and others will be too small. Don’t just assume a 10 will be fine for you.

It’s a lot like buying a normal pair of shoes with all the crazy sizes that come out of China, Europe and the USA.

 It really pays to try a few sizes up and down the range to see which fits you best. 

Fitting Motocross Boots.

When you slide into the boot (with moto socks on), is it so tight that it cuts off your blood supply or is it too loose and it feels like your foot is swimming?

Or is it pushing too hard on one section of your foot or ankle?

These are signs that they aren’t right for you and you will need to try another size or brand.

 When buying boots, you will definitely need to try on a few sizes and brands to find the boot size that’s right for you. Every manufacturer is different in some way and so you may need to go through a few brands before you find something that’s right for you.

 My favorite online dirt bike store RockyMountainATVMC.com has a really cool exchange program. If you have bought boots from them online and they aren’t a good fit (and you haven’t ridden in them), you can swap them over for another set and Rocky Mountain will even cover the return postage on the first exchange.

Are you a Half Shoe Size?

Are you a ‘half’ shoe size? You are not alone. There are heaps of you guys and girls out there! (including me).

If you are a size 9.5 then you may need to go down a size and some you will need to come up.

 That being said, SIDI are a hugely popular Italian Motocross boot maker that make some of the finest motocross boots out there.

More importantly is that they make them in various popular half sizes. Definitely worth checking out!

Sidi Crossfire 3 SRS Boots come in half sizes.
Sidi Crossfire 3 SRS Boots come in 8.5. 9.5 type half sizes.

Motocross Boots Weight vs Comfort.

Dirt bike boots vary in sizes from between approximately 4 – 5 pounds depending on the brand.

 With weight, it pays to try a few brands first to get a feel for their weight.

You need to find boots that you feel comfortable with riding and sometimes walking around in.

So the goal here is to find a pair of boots that don’t feel too heavy for you.

 #4 The Function of Motocross Boots.

Motocross boots are responsible for a lot of really important actions on a dirt bike.

They shift gears, apply the rear break and they allow you to constantly re-position your body weight on the pegs without slipping off.

a. Shifting. You will want a pair of boots that will allow you to perform shifting with ease.

b. Rear Brake. You are pushing the front of your foot down so make sure you can do this easily without much effort.

This requires a decent amount of forward and reverse heel movement.

This will improve as you break in the motocross boot. If it doesn’t then it means that the boot is just too stiff and its performance will be impeded.

c. Pegs. Forward and reverse heel movement is also really important for balancing yourself on the pegs.

Riding dirt bikes is a constant balancing act and so ankle movement is really important for this as well.

d. Peg Traction.The last thing you want is to lose grip on your pegs.

A great pair of motocross boots will have a really tough sole that digs into your pegs like glue.

They won’t deteriorate quickly. A slippery sole is bad news so avoid that like the plague.

 If you have any of the above issues on an ongoing basis then you need to move onto another model or brand. These issues can turn into real headaches and regrets down the track, so don’t compromise with these points.

#5 Knee Braces and Motocross Boots.

If you are planning to wear knee braces, put the knee brace on first before trying on the boot.

Some boots just don’t give enough space below the knee to wear a knee brace so make sure you can wear both without any issues.

Make sure your moto boots fit with knee braces if you wear them.
Make sure your moto boots fit with knee braces if you wear them. Photo courtesy of southbayriders.com

#6 Motocross Boots Price.

After you have satisfied protection, comfort and usability, find a pair of boots that fit your budget.

 Boots range in price from about $130 to upwards of $600 so there is plenty of choice and you will find a pair that you can afford.

 Usually with boots, you get what you pay for but sometimes you can get a great deal that meets all the criteria but won’t burn a hole in your pocket.

fox comp 5 moto boots are great value!
Fox Comp 5 moto boots are great value at around $150!

#7 Motocross Boots Colors and Graphics.

This one is easy because motocross boots look awesome no matter what you’re buying. Boot graphics these days look stunning.

Remember that this should be last on your list because boots get completely  covered in mud and dirt. It really doesn’t matter what color they are, just as long as they are comfortable, usable and protect you.

Conclusion

Always look at protection, comfort, size, weight, usability and price and then put graphics and colors last on your list. 

Do this and there is a good chance that you will find a great pair of motocross boots. These boots will be really comfortable and do a great job of protecting your feet and legs.

Got a great pair of boots that you love? Had a pair of boots that were total shit? Let me know in the below comments and don’t forget to share this article with friends.

Happy riding!

 

In the next article, I will be talking about tips and tricks to keep your motocross boots cleaned and properly maintained to extend their life for as long as possible.

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