What are the Best Dirt Bike Boots? And What to Look For - Risk Racing

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What are the Best Dirt Bike Boots? And What to Look For

June 08, 2021

What are the Best Dirt Bike Boots? And What to Look For

One of the most common questions I'm asked is, "What are the best dirt bike boots?" so I finally sat down to write up everything you need to know about how to find the best dirt bike boots.

As a general rule, the best overall boots for dirt biking are ones that allow you to ride safely and effectively. This means that they need to provide flexibility, safety, durability, and comfort. 

There are a few key factors to consider when purchasing a new pair of boots. Keep reading to learn about how to make sure you're looking for the right qualities in a MX boot when you're shopping for a new pair.

gaerne mx boots

Which Boots Are the Best For Dirt Biking?

It's best to find a pair of boots that will make sure you can ride safely and to the best of your ability. Here are a few things you need to look for in a boot.

  • Durability- You don't want a pair of boots that needs to be replaced every year, so the more durable, the better. Look for boots held together with at least double-stitched seams.
  • Safety- After a helmet, the most important piece of dirt bike protective gear is the boots. Look for boots with a good amount of ankle support and with thermoplastic TPU material covering the shin bone to the top of the boot.
  • Comfort- If you don't get comfortable boots, you might find yourself not wearing them and putting yourself at risk for injury. Boots that are too small are painful, and too wide boots can get caught on things. Look for adequately fitting boots with flexibility in the ankle.
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    Do You Need Boots To Ride a Dirt Bike?

    In short, yes! Overall, 65% of bone fractures from dirt biking are below the waist. Buying a pair of boots is absolutely a necessary part of riding so that you can keep yourself safe. Without boots, your feet won't reach the ground, and you won't have control over the bike. With boots, you'll be in control and be less prone to injury.

    People often think that work boots or hunting boots will get the job done and that purchasing dirt bike boots isn't necessary. This is simply not true. Dirt bike boots serve the specific purpose of protecting your feet and lower leg from serious injury. This is something work boots were not designed to do.

    This video shows a rider who falls over at an extremely low speed and still ends up breaking his leg in three places. This is simply because he was not wearing full-length high-quality dirt bike boots. If he were to have been wearing good boots, he could have walked away with no injuries, no pain, and no broken bones.

    motocross number 21 leaning into a turn extremely hard almost completely horizontal

    How To Break In Dirt Bike Boots

    Dirt bike boots aren't known for being as comfortable as your favorite pair of worn-out sneakers. But there are a few things you can do to make sure that the process of breaking in your boots is a little less painful.

    • Heat- the plastic in your boots is very rigid but can be moldable with some heat. A hot hair dryer blown onto the plastic while your foot is in the boot can help conform the boot to your foot shape. This method can also be performed with a heat gun.
    • Walking- strapping on your boots and strolling around your house for an hour or two while going about your day is a great way to break the stiffness of the boot. It's also a great way to mold the boot to your foot. It obviously won't feel great at first but will help in the long run.
    • Stretching- If you're in a pinch and need to break them in before riding, use your hands to stretch them! Grabbing the top and bottom of the boot with your hands and then pulling in opposite directions will make the leather start to loosen up. 
    • Water- this one is a bit controversial. Some riders recommend submerging your boots in water, then wearing them for the day. While this does allow the leather to shrink to your size, it also breaks down the leather much quicker and isn't great for the boot. So we wouldn't recommend this unless you're desperate to shrink them up.
    sidi mx boots

      Does It Matter What Sole I Get in a Boot?

      You've probably heard a lot of dirt bike riders talk about the soles in their boots. There are two options for soles- molded and stitched. Both have their pros and cons, and one isn't necessarily better than the other. Everyone has their own preference.

      The molded sole is the newer of the two. They tend to be lighter and a little easier to get around in. The stitched-on type is the older option and tends to be more durable. Many manufacturers are starting to switch to the molded sole. However, there are still plenty of riders who prefer the stitched sole for its durability.

      fox mx boots

      What Size Dirt Bike Boots Should I Buy?

      Dirt bike boot sizing isn't like shopping for an ordinary pair of shoes, it's a bit more complicated. But thankfully, there are charts you can find online to help you find the right size, like this one

      There are also three other things to keep in mind when sizing for new boots: 

      1. Size up- make sure you go up one size from your regular shoe size. Going larger is always a safer bet. If the boot is too small, there is no way to make them any bigger. But if the boot is too big, you can always tighten it with the buckle system.
      2. Wear socks- when you measure your foot, make sure you have your riding socks on. This can make a big difference in sizing, and you don't want to feel entirely different in your boots the first time you wear them outside of the store.
      3. Ask for a chart- remember that a lot of brands may provide their own specific size chart you need to use, and it's always best to follow their guidelines for sizing. You can always reach out to a company to ask if they have a size chart available if you don't see one.
      fly racing mx boots

        What Is The Purpose of Dirt Bike Boots?

        We've talked about how boots are necessary to keep you safe and make sure you can ride effectively, but what exactly do they protect you from? 

        A few purposes of dirt bike boots are to protect you from obstacles, heat, and injury.

        Boots protect your feet and your shins from obstacles. When riding dirt bikes, there's plenty of rocks, branches, and other stuff flying around. Your lower legs and feet are the first to get injured by all these obstacles, and boots are going to keep you protected from them.

        Boots protect your legs from the heat of the exhaust. Manufacturers make boots with a heat-resistant plastic heat shield on the side of the boot, which protects your legs from severe exhaust pipe burns. Burns can be dangerous, and boots are the first line of defense against them.

        Finally, boots protect you from injury. As we've said before, a small and harmless fall can quickly turn into three broken bones without a pair of MX boots. Motocross can be a dangerous sport for injuries and falls, and boots are one of the best ways to keep you safe.

        motocross number 553 practicing take offs with a holeshot race gate by Risk Racing on a dirt road in forest area

        How To Take Care Of Your Boots

        Many people go home with their new boots and start treating them like any pair of shoes. For obvious reasons, this can end poorly, and there are a few essential things to keep in mind once you bring them home.  

        Here are a few Do's and Don'ts to keep in mind after you've purchased the right pair of boots:

        • Do- take good care of the leather by treating it with a leather treatment. This will keep your boots in good shape for as long as possible, and leather treatment is easy to find, it's readily available from most stores.
        • Don't- replace your soles on your own. Though it might sound tempting, replacement soles should be attached professionally, and it's best for you and your boots if you leave them to the professionals.
        • Do- Use a lubricant spray to spray the boot buckles after your ride to help prevent corrosion. Make sure you read the label on the spray to check that it's safe for leather because some are not.
        • Don't- pressure wash your boots. When you blast your boots with a pressure washer, you can cut their lifespan in half. It can also cause dry stitching, which then turns into brittle stitching and boot failure.
        • Do- Dry your boots properly after each ride. This will prevent mold from growing and will keep them in an overall better condition.
        • Don't- use harsh chemicals like bleach to clean your boots. Use a gentle soap or a mix of vinegar and baking soda. If your boots are white, you can use Masterson's Boot Cleaner.
        • Do- store your boots in a dry place away from insects and any other critters that might find a new home in your boots! You can also stuff your boots with newspaper when they are being stored to keep their shape.
        pilot mx boots

        What Other Gear Do I Need?

        Boots aren't the only things you need to keep safe when you're out riding. There are several other essential pieces of protective gear to put on your list. In a perfect world, you would be wearing all the protective gear that's offered. But these are pieces of gear on the very top of my list, the things you shouldn't ride without.

        First, and most importantly, is a full-face helmet. A good helmet is essential to keeping you safe, and the only time you should be without one is when you're not on the bike. Even a slow crash can be life-threatening if you don't wear a helmet.

        Gloves are another necessity. They help protect you against burns and blisters. They also help lessen vibration, so you're less likely to feel numbness when riding, which is a big plus. They are reasonably lightweight, and it's easy to find a comfortable pair.

        Finally, dirt bike pants are essential. Unlike your jeans, these pants are designed to withstand all the snags and tears that go along with riding. They also allow a wider range of movement so that you can feel much more comfortable when riding.

        xface mx boots

        How Much Should I Expect to Spend On Boots?

        Boots can cost anywhere from $100 to over $650. But buying dirt bike boots is a lot like buying a car. Either you can buy a quality one that costs a little more the first time, or you can buy a clunker that will end up broken down within six months. When it comes to boots, you get what you pay for most of the time, so it depends on your budget.

        That being said, you don't have to be spending $600 on a pair of boots. Though it's definitely worth spending a little more on boots, so you get a quality pair, you can still get an excellent pair for much less than $600. A lot of riders actually prefer mid-priced boots over some of the really high-end options!

        If you buy a pair of high-end boots, you can expect perks like memory foam ankle support or a removable inner boot. If you buy a super cheap boot, you can expect to have to buy another pair before you've even broken them in. But if you're like most of us, you can find something safe and effective somewhere in the middle.

        comp evo tcx mx boots

        What Are the Most Popular Boots?

        Though everyone has their preferences, there are some favorites in the dirt biking community. Here are some of the most popular boots and why people love them.

        oneal mx boots

        What To Avoid In a Boot?

        There are a few things you want to steer clear of when looking for a boot. Among these are a bad buckle system, a bulky toe box, and insufficient lateral ankle protection.

        A poorly designed buckle system can be a big headache. You don't want to have a system that requires you to readjust it every single time you put the boot on. You also don't want to deal with a buckle that keeps snapping off or one that requires replacing every few months. Buy a pair of boots that has a well-designed buckle and an adjustable memory setting.

        A bulky toe box can be painful. No one wants to be in pain when they're riding. Plus, the bulkier the toe section of your boot is, the more difficult it is to slide it under the gear lever. Make sure you buy a boot with a toe box that is large enough for the width of your foot, but not one that's excessively bulky.

        Insufficient lateral ankle protection can be dangerous. One of the most common ankle injuries is simply rolling the ankle. The better lateral ankle protection a boot has, the less likely you are to have an injury if you roll an ankle. Look for a boot that is difficult to bend at the ankle; this means it has better support.

        mx number 1 throwing roost around a berm turn racing motocross

        The Takeaway

        Buying a pair of boots is absolutely a necessary part of riding so that you can keep yourself safe. The best dirt biking boots are ones that allow you to ride safely and effectively. This means that they provide flexibility, safety, durability, and comfort. The sizing, features, and price vary from boot to boot. Finding a good pair of boots with the right qualities is an essential part of riding.

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