Bikers often underestimate the importance of a good pair of riding boots, the one item amongst all riding gear that goes through the maximum wear and tear. The most common question that gets asked is - Why do I need riding boots and not just regular shoes while riding? Well, regular shoes are made of soft fabrics or light leather that tears up the moment it hits the asphalt. Riding boots on the other hand are designed and engineered for durability, comfort, protection, and of course style. They have the ability to face various elements and protect your feet, ankles and shins while giving you maximum comfort and movement when riding.
You will find riding boots from various brands, but you’ll get what you pay for! When you buy a reputed brand, you don’t just pay for the name, but for the years of R&D, superior materials and quality, and rider specific features.
Riding shoes can be categorized broadly under 4 types, each tailored to meet the needs of different kinds of riders and rides.
1. Urban/Street Riding Shoes: These are short length shoes, but have hardened toe, heel and ankle protection features. Perfect for short rides and city riding, they are lightweight and often the most comfortable as they don't restrict foot movement. Most versions come with laces and a retaining strap, with a few variants where zips replace laces for ease of getting in and out of the shoes.
They also come in waterproof versions, however their lack of length makes it difficult for waterproof pants to overlap them and completely lock water from seeping in.
2. Touring Boots: Touring boots are designed for long rides, therefore engineered for maximum comfort without compromising on safety. Most versions are waterproof, mid-height and come with either zippers or Velcro for ease of getting in and out of the boots.
TCX Airtech Evo WP boots are a perfect example of Gore-Tex variant touring boots. These are waterproof while being breathable from the inside out. They also have more surface area on the sole than street shoes do, and are suitable for any type of road journeys.
3. Sports riding shoes: One of the most aggressively styled riding boots with focus on protection all the way, the Sports variant is the go-to-choice for any sports / superbike enthusiast. Although there’s no rule about the type of bike they can be used on. Their Torsion Control System allows ankle movement but to a certain level and then it stops the movement, minimizing strain on the ankle joints. For spirited riders who love cornering, the sliders help to avoid damage to the shoe during foot peg scraping.
4. Adventure riding boots: Their role starts where the road ends! Their purpose-built sole makes sure that the boots are firmly planted on gravel, rocky surfaces and loose earth. They have the maximum height amongst all types of boots, providing unparalleled protection to the legs, and also the highest level of waterproofing and durability. They usually come with retention buckles for a snug fit and make sure the boots don't come off during rough and tough terrains. Their thick leather construction makes sure your feet are ready to take head on impact from stones, flying debris and lots more.
The most common concern in a rider’s mind is how comfortable are these high ankle shoes once the rider is off the bike? Well, it's all about getting used to them. A high-ankle boot is surely stiffer than short height boots, but in case of an unfortunate episode of your foot getting trapped under the weight of the bike, you will be thankful for the boots’ height and construction!
A good pair of riding boots is an essential part of overall gearing up. Make sure you to invest in a good reliable brand that’ll offer quality and durability for years.