Motorsports are dangerous, it’s a simple fact. And whether it’s on two wheels or four, any time you combine fast vehicles and a bunch of competitive individuals it’s always going to end in tears at some point. One sport that always seems to get bad press, however, is motocross. Yes, bikes have become faster, jumps higher and landings longer. But the truth is, it’s no more dangerous than a host of other motorized sports – here is how to buy dirt bike boots.
Thankfully, protective gear for motocross riders has been keeping pace, and due to advances in materials with anti-abrasion, crushproof and impact absorbing qualities, it has never been a better time to take to the mud. As with the majority of all types of motorcycling, the most important piece of kit is the helmet, but do you know what the second is? Here’s a clue, you wear them on your feet. Nope, it’s not socks. Boots are the answer and during an average race, they’re probably going to get burned on the exhaust, hit by other motorcycles, have mud, stone and sand hurled at them and be rammed foot first into the dirt to keep you upright. In this article I will guide you on how to buy dirt bike boots.
How to choose dirt bike boots?
So, when it comes time to buy motocross boots, they need to be good. But what should you actually be looking for and just how much are dirt bike boots? In our motocross boot review, we’ll be considering the most important aspects.
And first of all, you need to check the fit, this is hugely important. Boots that are too small can cause added injury if a collision occurs. Too big and your feet are going to slop around inside or worst case scenario, they come off altogether.
Also, some styles run big whilst others small, which means you have to buy either one size too small, or too large. The only way to get around this is to go and try them on. Wash your feet the day before though (it’s only polite) and also more importantly, take your racing socks with you to make sure the fit is snug.
Main specifics of different dirt bike boot brands
As a quick rule, Italian manufacturers, Gaerne, are pretty true to shoe size but their boots do tend to be a wider fit. The top of the range SG-12 model does however, have a memory foam inner around the top of the foot, so the fit will always be good.
The Fox Instinct, on the other hand, run about a half size too small, so you’ll probably need to round off to the next size up. Whereas Alpinestars run pretty true to size, including their top of the range, Tech 10, which is the only motocross boot to feature an inner removable bootie for additional support.
Most important features of a dirt bike boot
Next, go through your mental checklist and make sure all the boxes are ticked. Namely, do the boots have a good heat shield? This can be found on the inside of the boot and will save you from contact with the exhaust.
Up next, check the buckle system. Most boots use three or four buckles and they should fasten easily, be solid when snapped into place and if possible have replaceable components. That way you can, for example, replace a broken part such as a buckle or strap, rather than having to scrap the whole boot.
Flip the boots over, to check out the soles. This is where the majority of wear will take place. Make sure they are sufficiently reinforced and have a good grip pattern. Top of the range models will have the ability to replace the sole and probably a steel shank reinforced inner.
Beware, however, even though they may come with a replaceable sole, it’s not always a DIY job. Alpinestars need to be sent back to the factory or to an aftermarket specialist. Whilst the Sidi Crossfire 2, have a screwed-on sole that is not only replaceable at home, but comes in a choice of three different tread patterns – Supermoto, Motocross, and Enduro.
Boots may also sport such features as removable arch supports and shock-absorbing padding. Obviously, the more expensive the boot, the higher tech the materials and design will be.
They need to be good value for money
Also, don’t forget to check out the price tag, before you fall head over heels. Boots like these mentioned above are in the $500 plus range, which is reflected in the materials, usually a mix of leather, micro-fiber, thermoplastic and high impact plastic.
Construction design is also another telltale sign of the high-end item. These employ ingenious ways of protecting shin, ankle, heel and toe areas. Like the Alpinestars Blade system, which allows for vertical flexibility but protects from lateral forces. And the Fox Instinct Dual Pivotal Hinges, which allow for greater flexibility but not at the expense of crash protection.
As more riders wear knee supports these days, the more expensive boots usually have adjustable tops specifically designed to accommodate shin protectors and supports.
Not all motocross boots need to cost an arm and a leg though, and for under $200 you can get some pretty good bang for your buck. Look out for makes such as the O’Neal Element, available in black only, with a molded sole for added protection and retailing at around $150.
The Thor Blitz and Answer AR-1 are slightly cheaper, both are great designs with features that make them excellent value for money. The Thor Blitz are available in four colors, whilst the AR-1 has a separate cushioned insole.
Last but least we have the Fox Comp 5 and the Alpinestars Tech 1 scraping in at $199, both of these models show great levels of protection, with the Comp 5’s flexibility just getting nudged out of the way by the Tech 1’s budget version of their renowned Blade Flex system.
Where to buy dirt bike boots?
As for how to buy dirt bike boots and from where? Well, that’s a tricky one, with some boots differing slightly in width and height, it would be preferable to go along to your local motorcycle dealer and try them on.
On the other hand, if you’re just replacing a pair with a newer version, then googling dirt bike boots amazon, will probably end up saving you a few bucks. But before that I would recommend you to read my fresh review on the Best Dirt Bike Boots 2020.
You can’t always go for the top of the range models straight out of the gate, but thankfully, the entry-level boots represent good spec and value for money. Just take your time and make sure you get the right ones. Feet may come in all shapes and sizes but you only get one pair.
With high quality boots, there also must be high quality knee braces. If you need any guidance on best ones, then read my review about the best Motocross Knee Braces 2019.