Four Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Motorcycle Boots
Moving and walking your motorcycle without engine power is part of motorcycle riding and management. No matter what height, size or weight of the motorcycle, with practice and the right technique you’ll be able to push and manoeuvre your motorcycle with confidence.
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It’s not always obvious that it’s time to trade in your motorcycle boots for a new pair. Even when your boots are falling apart at the seams it can be difficult to part with your favourite moto kicks, especially after shelling out all that money you spent for them. But being sentimental can not only affect your safety and cause problems, even pain – down the road.
Motorcycle boots are a vital piece of security, comfort and safety offering defence against mishap should your foot or ankle contact the ground. Their grip is important too because your feet are all that’s holding up your motorcycle when stopped. And if you enjoy endless hours of riding, they need to be comfortable.
When key areas of the boot seem worn such as the toe area for shifting, soles and grip for sturdy foot placement or the protected areas around ankles, you’ve really lost a lot of the value in the safety of your boots. In fact it’s very much the same as with your motorcycle tires. Tires don’t necessarily wear down evenly, but when you get down to an area of the tire where it’s really low on tread, it’s time to replace it before trouble happens.
To take the guesswork out of when it’s time for a new pair of motorcycle boots, follow these recommended tips:
- Excessive wear on the soles. Every so often, turn your boots over to check how the soles are wearing. If treads seem smooth or close to it, it’s time for new boots or a resole. Sometimes a boots sole will also de-laminate, peeling away from the other layers. Periodic sole checks help you catch this before it gets too bad and you lose footing either off your motorcycle Depending on the sole and the boot’s history you might fix minor de-lamination yourself, take it to a professional for repair, or just trash the boots and opt for a better pair.
- The ankle cuff is worn. If the inside ankle padding is worn through but you still may feel comfortable but this is still a sign the safety reinforcing this area is compromised. This also means the boots have loosened, which will affect their sturdiness and support to your foot. You might think about wearing extra socks to tighten the fit, but in a crash, like your helmet, you want the materials to do their task.
- They Don’t Fit / Velcro Fasteners Won’t Stick. If you wear lightweight sporty motorcycle boots, one day you might notice that the formerly glove-like uppers are now rather loose and won’t remain fastened. If the uppers are becoming baggy or shapeless, the structural elements in the upper boot may be giving way.
- They leak. Soaked feet and socks are uncomfortable and distracting to your focus on the road. Water is a sign something’s not sealing out the moisture such as cuts, cracks or punctures. A waterproofing treatment could help and of course repair by a professional. However, if your waterproof or water-resistant motorcycle footwear – usually made with rubber or PVC materials – start leaking they need to be replaced. Separation of the rubber or PVC parts, including the out-sole, foxing (the piece of material that protects the joint between the out-sole and the upper) or toe cover are problem zones.
The Good News: If you have a pair of worn-out motorcycle boots that you simply adore, a good shoe repair expert may be able to patch the uppers and repair (or completely resole) the soles. (Damaged waterproof boots, not so much.) It never hurts to stop in for an estimate before you go boot shopping again.
TIP: A good bench marker is that the heavy-duty footwear is, the safer they’ll be and protective in a mishap and boots made specifically for motorcycling are the best. Of course this will be indicated in the price. But they will last longer too (as long as the manufacturer has done its job right). And don’t worry about scuffing or marks (i.e. toe shifter area) – these are just cosmetic issues unless of course they start to affect your footwear and footing performance.