How important is it that boots be motorcycle boots?

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by ChildlikeWonder, May 3, 2013.

  1. ChildlikeWonder

    ChildlikeWonder Been here awhile

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    I have hard to fit feet (size 13 wide with an accessory navicular). I simply cannot find a pair of motorcycle boots that fits me, largely because in addition to needing wide, I need a flat arch. How important is it to safety that the boots be motorcycle boots? Wolverine 1000 Mile Boots fit me. Would those be safe?
    #1
  2. Warin

    Warin Retired

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    There are people making custom motorcycle boots ...

    Boots designed for motorcycle riding SHOULD be safer in a motorcycle crash ... your call on the boots that fit you.
    #2
  3. ChildlikeWonder

    ChildlikeWonder Been here awhile

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    Can you list any names of custom motorcycle boot makers in the US? All I can seem to find are overseas.
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  4. kamikazekyle

    kamikazekyle Been here awhile

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    Tag because I'm interested as well (custom made boots, that is). Aerostich's boots are made in the US I think, but don't offer any more protection than your standard work boot. Fox Creek Leather has several boot lines but again, they don't offer the protection of a full-on moto boot. They're more like really good work boots with some fashion sense. And I think they're just a reseller for boots and their custom work is all in their jacket lines (really nice jackets, though).

    Really, for an every-day type boot, there's only two key things (in my opinion) that separate a motorcycle boot from a standard work boot. Firstly is the use of buckles or velcro to keep laces from snagging on the bike. You can pretty much advert this by tucking in your laces. Secondly, reinforced or armored ankles. They take the "over the ankle" requirement a bit further by adding plastic armoring or the like. Personally speaking every time I've crashed with a foot/ankle injury it was due to torsion of the ankle, which only some racing and MX boots would have helped (ie: I didn't have any boot damage).

    Dedicated moto boots do go beyond the basics and offer more protection -- toe sliders, armored shins/toes/heels, replaceable soles, torsion/twist prevention, shifter pads, thicker leather, etc. But for general purpose riding a stout work boot that goes over the ankle will provide the majority of the protection you'd need. Are they as good as a dedicated moto boot? No, but on the other hand they're far better than tennis shoes. And, usually, the more protection a moto boot offers the less usable it'll be off the bike. For the same reasons you didn't see knights walking down a street in full plate doing grocery shopping. So there's also the "how much protection do I want before it interferes with daily activities" tradeoff you have to consider.

    Looking at the Wolverine 1000 Mile boot line, they should fufill the basics if you stick to one of their taller versions with full leather. There's no specs for things like leather thickness, but it looks to be enough (again, on their taller models).
    #4
  5. PeterW

    PeterW Long timer

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    90% of the damage will be prevented by any leather boot that covers the ankle. Beyond that it gets more spendy for less (relative) protection.

    Also - the really protective boots are good at saving you from damage when you crash - but, stiff and inflexible for me means more likely to crash in the first place so - maybe not a net win unless (like a competative MX or Enduro rider) you know you will be crashing.


    Pete
    #5
  6. ChildlikeWonder

    ChildlikeWonder Been here awhile

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    I can tell you that the standard 1000 mile boot, which I already own, is 3.3mm thick. If that's thick enough, I have no problem spending the money on another pair in the taller models. I can't find a motorcycle boot that doesn't cause me pain to wear (sadly, it is very hard for me to find a shoe in general that doesn't cause me pain to wear - I once had an executive of a high-end American shoe company try to fit me, and she was flabbergasted by my feet), so hopefully that's thick enough because given the choice of ride in constant pain or ride in comfort with a boot that is 95% as good as the real thing, I'll take the comfort.
    #6
  7. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    check out Bate Custom Leather to see if they can custom fit one up for you.
    http://www.batesleathers.com/boots/

    [​IMG]
    #7
  8. Stan_R80/7

    Stan_R80/7 Beastly Gnarly

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    Like most things in life, boots are a compromise: Leather boots are a big improvement over flip-flops or tennis shoes. Dedicated motorcycle boots have specific features (such as shin and ankle guards) which make them better for riding but not very useful off the bike.

    Somewhat retro, but Gasolina (in Mexico) sells custom fit boots . I ordered a pair of the shortcut Gasolina boots and emailed my size measurements (they are still being made): http://www.gasolinaboots.com/index.html

    I have had good luck getting a range of boot sizes from BA Mason as well: http://www.bamason.com/

    Having a boot that fits (and you will wear) is more important than the extra protection a dedicated MC boot provides, IMO. My aerostitch CTB's have shin protetction and tuck the laces, but are just taller leather boots. I have considered altering some BA Mason wellington boots (that are comfortable) for riding by adding shifter leather reinforcement. Good luck!
    #8
  9. explodingmouse

    explodingmouse Been here awhile

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    Try Vendramini , they may be able to do custom sizing.
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  10. Snarky

    Snarky Vodka Infused.

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    I would tend to agree with the synopsis that tall leather boot will take care of 90% of the damage that your average person is likely to experience. A relatively inflexible boot that is snug around the lower leg and foot is more likely to keep those two parts attached if something catastrophic happens. Further more, they will aid in the protection against crushing, abrasions, and puncturing to a greater degree than your average shoes. There's a reason that the major of "motorcycle boots" out there are just particularly uncomfortable leather boots.

    Many other motorcycle boots have features that protect against specific damage likely to be experienced in their niche, such as: shin armor, metatarsal guard, composite toe guards, ankle guards.

    You also pay for other features that may or may not be important to you. Many motorcycle boots have buckles or zippers to eliminate laces, which are a perceived danger on chain or belt driven bikes, they can also snag on pegs, causing you fall on your face when dismounting. Some boots are lined with gore-tex or some other water resistant material, which is nice if your find yourself riding in the rain a lot. Then you have various soles in boots, such at smooth, all-terrain, and/or metal tipped.

    Overall I would say that just first get a pair of boots that are tough leather and feel like they'll prevent your foot from getting bent too far back in the event of an accident at speed. Then perhaps talk to a local cobbler, there's just about one in every town. You might be able to find an off the shelf boot that he can work into a wider size and modify for your protrusion and arch needs. Try a couple of cobblers (shoe/boot specialists) if the first one doesn't pan out.
    #10
  11. Kommando

    Kommando Long timer

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    Tall, sturdy, all-leather-upper boots, with a shank running along the sole, are more protective than even some moto "boots". I also prefer a safety toe. Some people claim that it makes it harder to feel the shifter or something. I feel the shifter better with my safety-toe footwear than I do with my offroad moto boots, so that's a wash.

    Quality all-leather jump, tanker, or flight boots with a safety toe, if you can find some for a decent price, will offer quite a bit of protection compared to lower shoes or casual boots. Some even have zippers.
    #11
  12. RMZMZM

    RMZMZM Not adventurous

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    +1
    Ordered a custom made pair for hubby 5 years ago . He also has very flat feet. Wears a 13 narrow. Very expensive, but well worth every penny . His description - "stupid comfortable"
    #12
  13. Bogfarth

    Bogfarth Fridge Magnet Safety Tester

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    I bought a pair of Danner Quarry boots because nothing else fit my 11EE foot for a reasonable price. They don't put a cramp in my arch, are made of thick leather, have a Vibram sole that lasts and grips well, are Gore-Tex waterproof, and if I don't like the insoles I can swap them for better ones (Sole brand = heaven!) The ankle isn't rigid enough, though, which is about my only concern.

    Regarding laces: I double-knot my laces, and my pants are two inches longer than needed so the laces are covered at all times. Not once have they come undone or snagged on something.
    #13
  14. BeachMoto

    BeachMoto Been here awhile

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  15. Mudcat

    Mudcat Unregistered

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    I wear 13 4E also.
    The work I did required a lot of walking on rough ground, steep terrain and often in wet conditions.
    I had a lot of trouble getting boots that worked well for me, then I discovered Wolverine’s and they fit me great. But not every model of Wolverine’s did.
    The model number I am currently using is 03710 in 13 wide. It is completely water proof and has a steel toe. I can wear these boots all day long, 7 days a week without any discomfort.
    They are fine for the riding I do on my GS.
    For real dirt work, I use MC boots. I just have an old pare of Hipoints that are still in good condition.
    I was always able to buy MC boots that fit me. I had to go try them on, I could not have bought them off the internet and expect them to fit me.
    #15
  16. wrc7732

    wrc7732 Adventurer

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    I wear wolverine 1000 mile boots to ride in. Fortunately I can't tell you how they compare. They are comfortable, and I feel as though they're a tough boot.
    #16
  17. BCC

    BCC I know better

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    I say proper protective motorcycle boots are quite important. I've crashed on race tracks or dirt a bunch and other than knocking myself out a couple of times, never been hurt. And that includes sliding along with the bike on top of my leg.

    Now, it's true I ride my Harley with just regular leather boots. But, it's silly really.

    If that's the way you have to go, the best of breed custom made is The Boss boot by Wesco:

    http://www.westcoastshoe.com/wesco/stock2010.asp
    #17
  18. Flashmo

    Flashmo Whatever...

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    If you are going to ride on a closed paved track...buy a MC specific boot built for that specific purpose.

    If you are going to ride a lot of off-road or single track dirt...buy a MC specific boot built for that specific purpose.

    If you are going to ride primarily pavement...buy a comfortable leather boot that you can wear several days in a row without becoming uncomfortable.
    #18
  19. a41capt

    a41capt Been here awhile

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    I wear a steel-toe Redwing boot that I buy for my fire station duty boot. They're all leather uppers with a lug sole and I purchase a zipper kit to go with them negating the lace problem.

    While I haven't had my R1200GS on top of my ankle, I did drop my 950 Adventure on it a couple times, and while it did bruise me up a tiny bit, I didn't see any other injury.

    They're not cheap costing a bit over $240 with tax, but I can get them in my 12 1/2 EEE anytime I want them, and they are available in many more sizes and widths too.

    Here's a link:
    http://www.redwingshoes.com/red-wing-shoe/4473-red-wing-shoes/4473-red-wing-mens-8-inch-boot-black

    You may also want the zipper kit for these boots to avoid lace entanglement. I use them for easy on and off at the fire station as well as ridding myself of laces when riding.

    I usually get 2 to 3 years of everyday use out of these before they're ready to be resoled, YMMV...

    John
    #19
  20. nevermind

    nevermind sLOW Rider

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    True and false. True. I had racing boots while riding on the race track and they took a beating while my feet didn't. False. I know folks who have trouble walking today due to ANKLE injuries sustained while on a bike on regular city streets at very legal speeds.

    Because of these street accidents, I now wear the most ankle protection I can stand. Sure, you need to protect your little piggies from being ground down if caught under the bike, but we need to factor in hard armor and padding for the ankle and heel. I've only found this built into bike specific boots.

    Bring your favorite comfy shoes along for the ride in a tailbag. Wear the bike boots for the ride. Then you can relax knowing you have done all you can do to be able to walk and run for the rest of your life, should the unthinkable happen.
    #20