The Fat Skeleton Guide to Motorcycle Boots
Fat Skeleton Guide to Motorcycle Riding Boots
Before we start, just to be clear that we’re talking about Cruiser, Touring & Urban styles similar to the range we stock at any given time in the Fat Skeleton range. It does not cover Sports bike Race style products.
It can often be overwhelming when it comes to choosing the right boots, there are just so many styles .
There is no such thing as the ‘best” motorcycle boot because the type of boot that is suited to a person depends on their needs and preferences.
When choosing motorcycle boots you really need to ask yourself “what is the main purpose of the boot”? Are they strictly for riding, or do you need them to be multifunctional so you can use them at work and for walking?.
Essentially your boots are there to offer protection to the feet and wearer’s leg whilst operating the bike. Motorcycling is a dangerous activity, but those dangers can be easily minimised by dressing appropriately, and sturdy footwear is just one part of that safety equation.
The main purpose of the boot is grip, on the bike with your feet either side to keep it balanced, whatever surface you're stopping on. Ideally the boot should include a heel under the sole so you can rest it easily on the foot peg. Ideally the Sole should be oil resistant & will provide good traction due to its high surface contact area. This is particularly important when coming to a stop on roads that have just become wet from rain, ordinary boots can make the road surface feel as slippery as ice. In the Fat skeleton 2019 range both the Hawk & Commando boots have superbly designed soles.
Styles of Boots
All motorcycle boots are not the same. Similarly expensive boots do not necessarily mean they are more practical, comfortable or better constructed.
The most common & popular styles for Cruiser riders are Engineer or Harness boots as these evoke the image of the American Rider. These boots come in various heights but the most common measure in at 10”-12” (25cm-30cm). Their design stands the test of time. Harness boots have a strap that wraps around the foot across the back of the heel & attached with a ring at both sides, they usually have a square toe. Engineer boots have a single strap with often a buckle on the instep and usually have a round toe.
Be wary of choosing a pair which are higher than 12”. American “Patrol” boots fall into this category. Remember that safe operation of the motorcycle requires the ability to bend the knees and move them quickly, so the boot should never be taller than the back of your knee.
Shorter Boots, with a height of less than 10”, are sometimes known as “Urban” boots. In general, these are often only 6” (15cm) to 8” (20cm) high. If you’re looking for a pair that are good for everyday wear, as well as on the bike, then this could be the way to go.
Make sure that if you chose an Urban style boot that it at least covers your ankles. This not only makes sure that your ankle is protected, but ensures your ankle joint becomes stronger and makes it more able to change gear & operate the rear brake efficiently.
Heel: a good fit prevents the heel from lifting & makes for a more comfortable ride.
Shifter Pad: this helps protect the toe & arch from fatigue & damage due to gear shifting
Shape of the toe: Must fit under the gear peg selector comfortably.
Closure: Lots of boots now use a combination of zips & velcro to ensure a comfy fit. Even boots which may appear to be a lace up style are now an easy fit zip closure as well.
Waterproof: At some point your boots are going to get soaked, whether your feet remain dry depends on several factors, but there is absolutely nothing more miserable than riding with wet feet. Check out if the boots have a waterproof finish to the outer, or have an internal waterproof membrane. You can always edge your bets by wearing water resistant hiking socks if the forecast looks really bad.
What Boots NOT to wear on a Motorcycle
Cowboy boots may look cool, but most of these styles have smooth leather soles. It’s all too easy to lose control in the wet even when stationary with no real grip to hand.
Care of your Boots
Wipe down with a damp cloth before putting away after your ride. Remove any mud, particularly on leather as it can cause it to crack. If riding in winter, rinse off any road salts that splash on your boots and rinse the soles as salt can destroy these.
There’s a plethora of leather care products to treat your boots, but if you’ve a synthetic finish a simple polish like Pledge will keep them looking like new!