Dirt Bike Boots: The Definitive Guide To Selecting, Sizing And Maintaining (2018)
Finding the right pair of dirt bike boots can often be left as an afterthought when purchasing riding gear.
After all, you’ve spent all that cash on the bike, a helmet and maybe a decent pair of goggles, there’s not always a lot left over for boots.
Unfortunately, boots are one of the most important components in riding gear from a safety perspective and also for rider comfort.
This is one lesson that I learnt the hard way.
For years I never considered riding boots as a factor in safety. I was quite happy riding in the steel cap boots that I already owned, after all, they were steel capped and my toes were perfectly safe? Wrong! Whilst my toes were perfectly safe, my ankles were not.
After going down a fairly simple track that had a few rocky bumps along it. I lost my balance and momentarily put my left foot down.
This, in turn, caused the steel cap toe to catch on a rock and pull my foot backwards quickly. I was lucky to come out of this ok, with only a major sprain and a week on crutches, but it could have been much worse.
The take out lesson here is that the most important role of dirt bike boots is to protect your ankles.
Ankle protection is only one part of the safety side of boots. They also provide important protection from the heat of the engine or exhaust pipe. This is particularly important if you come off the bike and are stuck underneath.
Whilst motocross bikes are relatively light, other off-road bikes are not and can be difficult to remove.
Dirt bike boots also provide valuable protection against stones that often get picked up and flung into your legs from a bike in front or even off your own front wheel.
Comfort And Rideability When Selecting Boots.
After deciding to invest in some new dirt bike boots, the next mistake I made was not spending a few extra dollars on a pair that were comfortable. I went for the cheapest pair, and I literally could not believe how hard it was to ride in those things. I had barely any movement due to the heavy leather construction and struggled to change gears as I could not feel the gear lever.
So basically, as far as boots go, you get what you pay for. Better quality boots won’t take as long to break in (sometimes no time at all), they will protect you really well but still have enough movement and feel so that your riding won’t suffer.
Around $150 seems to be a good starting budget when it comes to buying boots.
The Take Out lesson Here Is Make Sure You Get Boots That Are As Comfortable As Possible Within Your Budget
Best Value Dirt Bike Boots
Alpinestars Men’s Tech 1 Boots (click here to view them on Amazon) is a good option for starting out in dirt biking. They represent good value for money and you get an entry level boot from a premium manufacturer.
What I particularly like about this product is the combination of safety and comfort.
They use a “flexi-blade system” that still allows for movement but also provides protection, this is what I am talking about in terms of a balance between safety and rideability.
At the time of writing it was difficult to find anyone with negative feedback on this boot.
My personal favourite when it comes to boots is the Gaerne Balance Pro-Tech Mens (click here to view in Amazon).
These things are super comfortable and are really well made (Italy actually).
They are great for light trail riding and general use but I would not recommend them for heavy work such as motocross or enduro riding.
If motocross is your thing then you really need that extra protection and I would consider a higher end product in the Alpinestars range or even the Gaerne brand motocross boot.
These MSR Racing Dirt Bike Socks (click here to view in Amazon) are a great option as they are loooooong.
This may seem silly, but if you wear any type of knee protection they really make a difference in reducing chaffing.
Long socks also make your boots more comfortable by not slipping down and rubbing inside the boot.
Best Dirt Bike Boots For Women
Ok, I’m going to be honest here, dirt bike boots for women is not something I have spent a lot of time thinking about given my gender. Not having a lot of knowledge meant it was time to do some research. Interestingly, there is not a lot of information out there on boots for ladies so this tells me it is worthy of a discussion.
My first thoughts on this subject was that arent the boots going to be the same as the males anyhow?
Well, I was wrong although not by much. Fundamentally the boots obviously do the same job as any other boot is designed to do, protect your ankles and legs. Where the difference lies, and this is only with a few brands, is allowing for the physical difference in calf size between male and females.
The Alpinestars Stella Tech 3 is a good example of a boot that has been specifically designed for women. The boot is lower on the leg, allows for a smaller calf size, and heel padding to support the shape of a woman’s ankle.
Whilst these are not the cheapest product on the market I think they represent good value considering they are one of a few brands that haven’t just changed the colour of a male-oriented boot to sell to women.
Best Dirt Bike Boots For Youth
When it comes to kids dirt bike boots, it’s tempting to skimp on the price, but for the same reasons I recommend buying boots for grown-ups, kids should follow the same rules.
Make sure the boots offer good protection but are also comfortable to wear. The comfort also relates to rideability, being able to change gears easily.
In some respects, this is more important for kids boots as they are learning to ride and you don’t want them struggling to find the right gear because their boots are too chunky.
Most major brands cater for kids boots and provide a good range at a reasonable price.
Pro tip: If you go one-half size larger when purchasing you can get them to wear some thick socks or even two pairs. This will allow for more grow time and hopefully, save a few dollars by not having to buy more boots.
Got the boots but need the bike? See my article on finding the best dirt bike for kids Here
Maintenance And Cleaning
Keep em dry!!! Boots that stay wet after riding will attract mould and inevitably end up rotting stitching and breaking down the linings much quicker. After each ride, give them a good clean and make sure they get a good dry out at room temperature.
Depending on the brand, some boots don’t like to be standing upright as there is quite a bit of weight from the ankles up. They can get distorted at the ankle from the weight, so the way to go is to lay them flat or even upside down.
Take the time to make sure your boots are correctly adjusted. It is surprising how many people spend so much money on boots and don’t take the time to properly adjust them. Correct adjustment can also improve the comfort factor.