Protective footwear is one of the neglected parts when it comes to riding gear. We explain just how a pair of proper riding boots acts like a helmet for your feet
Story: Sayem Parvez
Photography: Rommel Albuquerque and Manufacturers
As they say, a man is judged by his feet first, that is, the kind of shoes he wears. Well, this also holds true for a biker as well. When it comes to footwear fashion, most of us just admire Jimmy Choo and Paul Smith designs, but do we, as bikers, even know about proper riding shoes? The answer in most cases will be an emphatic ‘No’. Indeed most of us have little or no information about proper riding boots.
I find it amusing at times when I look at bikers on our city roads. The first thing that catches one’s attention is that they do not care about their safety at all. No helmet, no proper gear and in most cases their feet are encased in only a pair of sandals. The point to ponder is when people can shell out quite a sizeable sum of money on a pair of, say, Nike, Reebok or Adidas shoes, why don’t they get for themselves a pair of proper riding boots?
The point to be emphasized here is that if a biker only wears a helmet, it doesn’t mean that he is fully protected. If perchance you meet with an accident, the most vulnerable parts of your body are your limbs, which include your legs! Riding boots protect your feet from minor cuts and scratches as well. Your average pair of boots will not provide complete protection to your legs as will a proper riding boot, the simple reason being that they aren’t made for riding purposes.
When it comes to taking a decision about buying riding boots, a few pointers such as safety, comfort, weight and proper fit, etc, are very necessary to keep in mind. So will you still want to ride you motorcycle wearing your sandals? I don’t think so, the most important part is that all these decisions should be made by you!
Riding boots usually come in various different types and sizes, just like your average pair of sneakers and leather boots, etc. Many of you might only be aware about the racing boots, which racers like Rossi, Lorenzo, et al, wear on track while racing. There are, in fact, many other types of motorcycle boots, which are for purposes such as riding on the streets all the way up to touring and for motocross as well. If we categorise the different types, we can say there are four basic types of riding boots, which include racing boots, touring boots, motocross
boots and street riding boots.
All these boots usually have certain familiar as well as certain indigenous characteristics associated with them. They have the physical attributes of a typical boot from the outside, but the main purpose of a motorcycle riding boot is to provide safety and comfort to the rider. These boots sport a low heel to control the motorcycle and are generally made of strong leather. A state-of-the-art riding boot includes energy absorbing and load spreading padding, which is made of either metal or plastic or even of composite material to protect the motorcycle rider’s feet, ankles and legs in case of an accident. For use in wet weather, some boots have a waterproof membrane lining such as Gore-Tex or SympaTex.
Manufacturers like Spidi and Alpinestars, etc, not only add safety to their products, but also spunk. In their amazing colour combinations, these boots take the style and oomph factor to the very next level. Well, all I can say is that the street is a runway where you are the model wearing a slick pair of motorcycle boots. Believe me, heads will turn!
Remember, even if your fellow bikers don’t wear riding boots or any other riding gear, it is up to you to set an example. It is your duty to make them aware of the importance of such safety gear.