The motorbike is many things; on the most basic level it is an extremely fast form of modern transportation. However, it is also much more: a cultural icon, a statement of personality, and a symbol of personal freedom. As such, the motorbike has built up an entire subculture around itself. This means that buying motorcycle clothing is at once a practical decision and a stylistic one.
This guide will focus specifically on biking boots. The importance of effective biking boots for motorcyclists cannot be overstated; they are a key element of biker safety. It is the intention of this guide to provide information about biking boots, so that the reader will know what to look for when shopping for them. This guide will also examine the popular online auctioning platform, eBay, and explain why it makes such a great place to shop for biker boots.
This section of the guide will focus on the traits, specifications, styles and other important elements of biking boots. The topics covered will be:
The first thing that should be considered by anyone seeking to buy a pair of biking boots is which size they will need. Buying a pair of boots that don’t fit is a waste of time and money, as the boot will either be un-wearable or will impair the user’s ability to ride. Biking boots are usually sized in the same way as regular shoes, but be sure to check which size is required before purchase.
The Basic Composition of Biking Boots
The biking boot is similar to the regular boot in many ways. For instance, it is usually made of leather with a thick rubber sole, and can come all the way up to the knees, or just above the ankles. However, biking boots have several key features, which distinguish them from other boots. These are as follows:
- Low Heel – biking boots do not feature any kind of raised heel, as this can impair finer control of the bike. Instead, biking boots will have low heels, which allow for precise operating of the foot-operated controls.
- Thickness – biking boots will usually be made of thicker, heavier, stronger leather than regular boots. This provides protection against the myriad potential injuries that one can sustain from riding a motorcycle.
- Additional Padding – many motorcycle boots will feature extra energy absorbing or spreading layers. These can be gel, padding, metal or more leather, and play valuable roles in protecting the feet, legs and sometimes even knees of the rider
Types/Styles of Biking Boot
There are many distinct types or styles of biking boot, each with different strengths and deficiencies. The type of boot needed will depend heavily on what kind of biking activity the rider intends to undertake. This section of the guide will provide a list of the main different types of biking boot, along with descriptions of their form and functions.
- Racing/Sport Boots – Racing boots are designed specifically for motorcycle racers. Racing normally takes place on smooth, flat surfaces, and racing boot design reflects this; the boots are relatively lightweight and flexible to allow for manoeuvrability.
However, racing boots often feature extra protection, such as metal or padding, due to the increased risk of travelling at high speeds. Racing boots have smooth soles and low heels, to maximise control over the bike. They are typically tight, often using Velcro fastenings along the lengthwise opening.
- Touring/Urban/Street Boots – Touring boots are, like racing boots, designed for smooth, flat surfaces, and so have many of the same design features. However, they do not feature the bulky, heavy extra padding necessary in racing boots. Apart from this difference the two are extremely similar.
- Motocross Boots – Motocross boots are designed for off-road and all-terrain vehicle riding. This means that they are much stiffer, thicker and heavier than other kinds of biking boot. They feature a lot of padding to protect from injury and stray debris, and usually fasten with buckling mechanisms rather than Velcro, which makes them more stable.
- Cruiser/Harness Boots – Cruiser boots don’t have the streamlined aesthetic design of racing or touring boots, nor the all-round protection and manoeuvrability. However, they have a more classic, vintage style, and still provide adequate protection to the legs and feet.
Biking boots can be made from one or more of a number of materials, each with advantages and disadvantages. This section of the guide will highlight the most commonly used materials for making motorcycle boots, along with brief descriptions of their traits.
- Leather – leather is the archetypal biker clothing material. Strong, durable and stylish, leather boots are iconic and functional, and are the natural choice for many bikers.
- Synthetic Leather – synthetic leather does not have quite the same cultural cache as real leather. However, it is cheaper, performs all the same functions, and is also a viable alternative for those who have moral issues with leather as an animal skin.
- GORE-TEX – this high-tech fabric is a recent development. It is both extremely waterproof and breathable, making it a great all-round outdoors fabric. However, it does not offer a great deal of protection against damage or injury, and so most GORE-TEX boots will feature padded areas made from different material.
- Hipora – hipora has many identical features to GORE-TEX; it is a lightweight, waterproof, breathable fabric that offers a comfortable fit, but little protection.
- Rubber – rubber is tough and flexible, and can be shaped in many practical and creative ways. These traits make rubber the material of choice for the sole of the boot. However, rubber can be uncomfortable to wear on the skin, and does not provide much protection, and so is very rarely used for the main part of the boot.
- Suede – suede is not very protective, durable or strong, and isn't even all that flexible. What it lacks in these areas though, it makes up for in pure style.
There are several additional features than biking boots may feature. Some of these are listed below:
- Adjustable Ankle – an adjustable ankle creates a more versatile boot, allowing the tightness of the ankle to be adjusted to best suit the biker’s situation.
- Breathable – breathable boots are less likely to irritate or stifle the biker’s skin, and are generally more comfortable to wear.
- Waterproof – waterproof boots keep the wearer dry in adverse weather conditions.
- Hi-Visibility/Reflective – reflective surfaces help keep bikers safe at night by reflecting light from passing or oncoming vehicles. They also sometimes act as a fashion statement.
- Low Cut – low cut boots are easier to but on and less problematic indoors, but also offer less protection on the road.
- CE Approved – CE is an official seal of approval for motorcycling footwear. A CE approved product is required to meet certain minimum standard requirements, thus guaranteeing a certain level of quality for the consumer.
Motorcycle boots are an iconic symbol, and as such can be worn for style, rather than just for practical reasons. This is a matter of personal taste, entirely up to the discretion of the buyer. Vintage or classic boots are generally preferred for this purpose, as newer models tend to suggest actual ownership of a bike.
The biking boot is both a stylish item of clothing and an important piece of gear for any motorcycle user. This guide intended to set out the most important considerations when shopping for biking boots. These were:
This guide concludes that eBay, with its vast array of products and helpful, user-oriented and intuitive interface is the perfect means of shopping online for biking boots.