Are work boots good for motorcycle riding? (What You Must Know)

The short answer — yes, work boots are good for motorcycle riding. The long answer — only work boots with the right kind of protection will keep your feet safe when you’re on the road.

Work boots that double as motorcycle riding boots are designed to reduce the severity of injuries a rider could face in an accident, making them essential for anyone who values their feet.

in the image we have two motorcycle riders on a motorbike being the featured image for the are work boots good for motorcycle riding article for bestformyfeet.com

Keep reading to find out exactly why your average work boots aren’t the right fit for motorcycle riding, plus a few examples of actual work boots that can keep you safe on the road and beyond.

But first…

Work boots VS motorcycle boots: What’s the difference between these two?

Although both kinds of boots share several traits; motorcycle boots provide less ankle movement support while being designed to fit under the shifter of a motorcycle’s peg, as well as having stiffer torsos, and an overall higher degree of resistance to the extreme terrains.

Motorcycle boots also tend to skip out entirely on shoelaces, instead opting for Velcro to fasten them onto the wearer’s foot to avoid a scenario where the boot could come flying off in the middle of a dirt track.

For most people and casual motorcycle riders, a stiff and protective pair of work boots is more than enough for street riding.

However, riders into specialized motorcycle activities such as moto crossing, off-roading, and racing require specific kinds of boots that add more safety and features in such sports.

Do you really need boots to ride a motorcycle? WHY?

To keep it simple, your boots are to your feet what your helmet is to your head

It’s as simple as that.

While nothing’s really stopping you from wearing high tops or even flip flops the next time you get on your motorcycle, you need to ask yourself if you value having legs. 

Since anything other than a proper pair of protective work boots will cost you your legs or even worse at some point.

Think about this for a moment:

does your current footwear of choice protect your shin? Will it protect your foot from the weight of a motorcycle or the force of an impact? 

Can it withstand the wear and tear of asphalt, concrete, and gravel if your foot slips and touches the ground while you’re on the move?

Chances are, they won’t, since regular boots and even day-to-day work boots aren’t designed for extreme scenarios.

While boots are an upgrade over a pair of sneakers, heavy-duty work boots go the extra mile to even out the odds against motorcycle-riding risks.

If you intend to stay in one piece on the road, you’ll want work boots that have these features…

What should you look for in a good motorcycle boot?

What kind of boots should you wear on a motorcycle?

As much as we love watching Sons of Anarchy, those white tennis shoes Jax sports on each time he gets on his Harley aren’t precisely the best choice to keep your feet safe in the real world in the long run.

If you want safety, you’ll want to grab yourself a pair of boots.

To be precise, you’ll want boots that are:

  • Comfortable

An irritating pair of boots is an added layer of distraction and fatigue that you’ll want to avoid as much as possible, so make sure to go for a pair that gives your feet just the right amount of wiggle room. Check out our most comfortable work boots in the world page for more ideas!

  • Low-heeled

A high heel in your boot can make it difficult to place your foot correctly on your motorcycle’s peg; however, a completely flat sole will increase your chances of slipping, which can result in disasters when you’re riding at high speeds. 

  • Protective

A proper pair of work boots that can double as motorcycle riding boots will have protective reinforcements and shanks to guard your heels, ankles, toes and should extend to the shin since no muscles cover the shin bone, which in turn makes it one of the most vulnerable parts of the legs.

  • Durable

If a motorcycle can withstand the heat and cold of the outside, so should your feet. When choosing your go-to boots, please make sure they’re built to withstand the harsh conditions of the road; after all, your boots are your foot’s frontline defense against debris or anything else that comes their way.

Are steel toe work boots good or bad for riding motorcycles?

Steel-toe everyday work boots will go a long way in protecting your feet from the risks of grinding your toes on asphalt if your feet happen to slip from the pedal while you’re stopping your motorcycle.

a women riding a motorcyle wearing work boots

On the other hand, steel-toed boots can be bulky and take a while to get used to, which means that they could impact your ability to switch gears or sense your toes.

But let’s get something straight here:

While many people fear the possibility of a steel tip cutting off the toes during an accident, steel-toed boots are made with several other safety features to protect your toes during a crash, not to mention the tip being molded into the boot’s structure to keep it safely in place.

Simply put, if a boot’s steel tip bruises or harms your toes, the damage from a crash that can dent a steel tip would be far worse on your toes without them.

If you’re still not convinced, MythBusters put steel-toed boots to the test and settled the argument once and for all.

Pros & Cons of wearing work boots whilst riding motors

Work boots give more than enough protection on the ground, but not all boots are created equally when wearing them on a motorcycle.

To make things simple, we’ve taken the liberty of breaking things down for you:

Benefits

  • Breathability

If your work boots can get you through the grind of a day’s work without damping up your feet, they’ll do more than enough to keep your feet free of built-up moisture that would otherwise result in your feet becoming slippery from the inside.

  • Water resistance

Many work boots can protect your feet from water getting in their way; this will work to your advantage if you’re riding through a muddy road or crossing puddles.

  • Slip-resistance

Most work boots have a common feature: their ability to stand their ground on slippery surfaces, which is essential if you want to get a grip on the brake pedals or firmly place your foot on the ground.

Downsides

  • Long shoelaces

While an untied shoelace isn’t always a big problem if you’re on the ground, a loose shoelace in your boots can get tangled in the brake pedals or drive belt of a motorcycle.

  • Toughness

If your boots come in contact with asphalt or touch the ground while you’re on the move, the chances are that even though your day-to-day work boots might seem challenging, without a reinforcement body and tip, they won’t bear the high-intensity friction and wear.

  • Impact protection

Despite many work boots being shock-resistant, most work boots won’t be able to give you sufficient protection from getting t-boned by a car. 

  • Bendable soles

If you can twist your boot by grabbing it from opposite ends of the sole, that means that your foot just as quickly can get twisted or broken if you’re thrown off your motorcycle. This can happen especially if you buy cheap work boots.

Why should you avoid using regular boots whilst riding motorcycles?

Regular boots can be pretty damn rugged, depending on what type you have. Anything from hiking boots to work boots or cowboy boots. Still, the fact is that on a motorcycle, you’re exposed to endless risks on the open road.

Think of it this way, would you wear a construction hat while riding a motorcycle? It’s the same when it comes to boots.

While you can get a degree of protection with regular boots, if you want complete peace of mind and the gear for the job, you’ll want a proper pair of heavy-duty boots to be up to the task.

If you wear regular boots while riding a motorcycle, in an accident, you’d be putting yourself at risk of:

  • Twisting your foot
  • Grinding your toes 
  • Breaking your shin bone
  • Reducing traction 
  • Getting your shoelaces stuck
  • Fracturing your foot

5 Popular safety steel toe boots for motorcycle riders

We’ve hunted down the most popular options from across the internet and gone over reviews from average users to experienced bikers to find out what work boots have it all to stay safe on the road. 

Here are our top 5 choices:

1. Ariat Pull On Cowboy Style

Packed with a snazzy cowboy leather finish to complete the western rider look, these pull-on steel-toed work boots double up as the perfect blend between everyday durable boots and protective gear that can be easily slipped on to keep you safe and stylish wherever you go.

2. Dr Martens 1919

Inspired by heavy industry, Dr. Martens’ unisex leather boots redefine the meaning of hardcore with a steel-toed tip and overall protection without the extra weight that you’d expect from a booth of this caliber.

3. Carhartt

leather work boot for motorcycle riding

Designed with durability in mind, Carhartt’s work boots combine style with functionality that can keep your feet steady anywhere, even in some of the harshest environments when you’re either on the job or on the road.

4. Chippewa

Made in true American rugged spirit, Chippewa’s lace-to-toe waterproof boots are designed to stand the test of time while looking undisputedly stylish no matter the situation or destination they’re worn in.

5. Harley Davidson

Made by the very makers of some of the finest bikes globally, Harley Davidson’s steel toe work boots are a classic work of engineering that provide undisputed workplace protection and shock absorbency to make any bike ride a breeze.

I understand that these work boots might not be to everybody’s taste, you can check for yourself here what other work boots for motorcycle riding models are available on Amazon or any other store you like.

In conclusion, can you ride motorcycle wearing work boots?

Work boots that meet the correct safety requirements are suitable to ride out into the sun, and for the genuinely unruly motorcycle racer, nothing tops a pair of racing boots to give them an edge on the track.

While you might think to yourself that splashing out more cash on heavy duty or racing boots isn’t worth it since your regular boots seem to cover the basics just fine, ask yourself this:

Is it worth cheaping out on a pair of boots only to end up paying endless hospital and insurance bills if things don’t always go your way?

We’ll leave that answer up to you.

Team Members Working On This Page

Adrian – Web Master / Construction Professional

Construction Professional, driver, crane operator, cleaner, head chef … these are just some of the jobs I did in the past. Working in all these different environments taught me that having good footwear to protect your feet from different dangers at work IS PARAMOUNT for any worker! On this website, I aim to share all my knowledge and personal experience in dealing with different footwear and foot care issues, and hopefully, you can get something out of it. Enjoy!


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