Originally Posted by Cuttle
Real motocross boots are tough to ride in imo; I owned some and found myself dragging the rear break by accident (no feeling with the boots) - not a good idea in gravel
Yup. I had the Gaerne SG12's and sold them. I could barely walk in them, nor feel the controls. Two rides, and that was it. I often wear the Gaerne Balance Oiled trials boots, but for trail riding they do not have adequate ankle support. After having my bike land on my foot during a getoff, I won't wear them on tougher trails any more. Ow. Sidi Adventure and Sidi Discovery boots are two other options a lot of people seem to like.
With regard to confidence, for me it comes and goes. This past year, I've improved my dirt riding a lot. But I biffed on my way up Webster Pass and screwed up my shoulder. I'm having rotator cuff surgery soon. And when I get back on the bike in Spring, I'll have to take some time on some easier stuff to get my head back in it. I don't know anyone who rides dirt who hasn't hurt themselves. The measure of your love of riding is whether or not you're able to get back on the bike and keep building skills. Every time you push yourself to do something that is scary, and execute it, you build that confidence. Lack of confidence can result in getting hurt worse.