RIDING TIP: TIME TO GIVE YOUR MOTORCYCLE BOOT…DA BOOT?

March 17, 2020 Tags: , ,
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RIDING TIP:  Time to Give Your Boots . . . Da Boot?

We would like to turn your attention to those pieces of riding gear that might receive the smallest amount of attention next to riding pants. How much thought did you put into buying riding boots?

Studies show that most riders spend little time considering their footwear. Even more striking, riders very rarely, if at all, give consideration to the WEIGHT of their riding boots. Sound unimportant? Police Officers in the U.K. and Germany are moving away from traditional, heavier boots to recent styles offering newer, more protective materials and lighter weight. Why? A heavier boot increases the likelihood that the boot could cause you injury by adding additional force to your lower leg during an incident.

force-equals-mass-acceleration
A quick high school physics review of kinetic energy tells us how. Here is the equation:

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If a rider were to decrease the mass of their boots in half, they could theoretically decrease the energy the feet and lower legs would face in the event of a crash. For example, if Riders A and B crash at the same speed (50mph), and Rider A wore boots that weighed two pounds and Rider B wore boots that weighed one pound, Rider A would face an increase kinetic energy acting on their legs as a result of their heavier boots. Interestingly enough, we have practical experience to rely upon.

Gordon-with-Instructor-Tealdo-Teal
The goofy looking go-fast guys are out there on the racetracks, occasionally throwing themselves down the track testing out the footwear they donned, for OUR benefit. The boots are analyzed by the manufacturers and they determine what works and what doesn’t work. Over time, manufacturers have added safety features:

· Integrated ankle, heel, and toe protection for our vulnerable areas.

· Flatter, stiffer soles to provide greater bike control and footpeg feel.

· Use of natural (leather, kangaroo) and man-made materials (carbon fiber, Kevlar, plastic and more) to create the lightest, most protective boots in motorcycling history.

In the end, it is a balancing act for the manufacturers to create stylish footwear at a price point that offers enough ankle, foot, and lower leg protection all while decreasing the weight of the boot. As the consumer in the equation, the hardest thing we have to do is shell out the dough for this piece of our life-saving riding gear.

Are you ready to reevaluate your footwear?

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Bill Seltzer Yamaha FJ-09Bill Seltzer has been a Motorcycle Safety Foundation RiderCoach since 2003 and a Total Control Advanced Riding Instructor since 2011.  He currently serves as the Marketing Director for TEAM Arizona and is a member of the Arizona Strategic Highway Safety Planning committee.  Have questions or comments about the article?  Email him: Bill@MotorcycleTraining.com

2 Comments

  1. Josh 2 months Reply

    The kinetic energy acting upon the lower leg isn’t halved with a 50% reduction in boot weight, because the leg itself has mass and is being acted upon by those same external forces.

    The forces are reduced by whatever percentage the weight of the lower leg and boot are together, relative to each other.

    • You are correct; we meant that halving the weight of your boot (boot one versus boot two) would reduce by 50% how much the boot is contributing. We will do better to clarify this point. Good catch!