Do we really know which boots we need for riding a motorbike? Comfort, ventilation, rigidity and other features are those that we have to bear in mind when choosing bike footwear and in this article we’ll analyse some of these.
Sport Boots: Alpinestars S-MX Pro
If it’s the first time we have a pair of sports boots in our hands, we’ll quickly realise the importance of the rigidity in this type of boot. To start with, we can see that the sole is non-slip and striped to dissipate water, finer in the toecap (for an optimum feel with the gear change and brake levers) and with different degrees of rigidity and flexibility, with the heel area being the most rigid.
The sports boot is designed for the track, which is why it has a very low profile so that it can lie between the asphalt and the bike’s footrests. Similarly, the internal side of the boot is flat and provides feel, so as to be able to ensure that the contact between the rider’s legs and the bike’s chassis is optimum.
On the other hand, on the external side of the boot are various protections whose aim is to minimise the knocks and grazes in the case of a fall or slide.
In the photo we can see the side protections, as well as the air inlet as a ventilation element of the boot.
In contrast to what a lot of people think, the protections must have a degree of flexibility, as the rigidity absorbs the impacts less. This is why some protections have a minimum movement or flexibility which provides certain comfort on the go. In the case of the Alpinestars S-MX Plus, these have a rigid external skeleton in the heel and shaft area that envelops the back of the boot, made of high technology microfiber, which at first glance seems very similar to leather. Also, the internal part of the heel is made of flexible material in order to better absorb any possible impact. But that’s not all: there are additional protectors on the external part of the heel that facilitate sliding in the event of a fall.
The air exits from the rear outer part of the boot, an area where we find various aluminium inserts to protect against impacts and abrasions.
As regards ventilation, we find that the S-MX Plus have an air inlet in the instep area, whilst the outlet is in the external side of the heel.
Finally, the inner bootie or corset is integrated into the boot and is not removable. With a very pleasant feel, this bootie totally adapts to the shape of the foot thanks to its inner lacing system and a comfortable and wide tongue.
The inner bootie is not removable but ensures a good insulation and secures the foot.
Other details we mustn’t overlook are the reinforcements in the instep area that are in contact with the gear change lever, as well as the area that unites the instep with the shaft, where there is a flexible area allowing the basic movements of the foot on the bike.
Touring Boots: Dainese Fulcrum Gore-Tex
Let’s change boot and go to the more touring sector with the Dainese Fulcrum Gore-Tex, footwear designed to offer maximum versatility to its user. Black is the colour most used as it is a sober colour that combines well with the other colours and equipment, including jeans. As regards lines, the touring boot has a wider and rounder toecap for greater comfort. Most of the boots in this sector have some sort of waterproof or water resistant material. In the case of the Fulcrum, this material is a Drystar D-Dry membrane which ensures waterproofing as well as providing breathability.
The Gore-Tex inner lining ensures great insulation of the foot, as well as waterproofing.
The Dainese Fulcrum boots are made of cowhide as the main element and incorporate areas of reinforcement in the gear change area, the upper part of the ankle and the shaft (which confers flexibility to the calf) and the instep area (facilitating movement to work the pedals). The areas that require greater rigidity, like the heel, toecaps and ankle, have protective elements that hinder torsion, but the level of protection is not the same as in a sports boot.
The Dainese Fulcrum have a layer of Gore-Tex material inside, which insulates the foot from the exterior cold, as well as having a soft fabric on the highest part of the shaft for maximum feel with the movement of the leg in the area of the tibia and calf.
The outer leather of the boot is reinforced with an inner Gore-Tex membrane, one of the most technical fabrics for motorbike apparel.
The fastener is a zip and the inner, waterproof tongue ensures that the foot is dry at all times. The zip fastener is protected by an outer Velcro tongue with leather finishing that impedes accidental unzipping. This exterior Velcro fastener runs throughout the length of the shaft of the boot: starting at the sole and ending at the top of the shaft, providing great impenetrability.
Highlighting the wide rubber sole, which adheres to wet surfaces and is flexible on the front, allowing for a good grip on the bike’s footrests, as well as also allowing us to walk comfortably once off the bike. The sole acquires a great rigidity in the heel area.
The sole of the boot is Skywalk, with great adherent properties, flexible in the toecap and rigid at the heel.