Street Steel Police Leather Motorcycle Jacket
I begin this discussion with the following facts in mind:
- This information is only about men's motorcycle boots.
- Being from the United States, I am writing from the point of view of American biker culture.
- Motorcycle boots are made for a practical purpose, to wear as footwear and to offer protection to the wearer's legs and feet while operating a motor vehicle.
- Every man who wears motorcycle boots has his own likes and dislikes.
- Real bikers wear boots with long pants while riding. Guys who think injuries "only happen to the other guy" wear shorts, sneakers or flip-flops while operating a motorcycle. Organ donors do not wear a helmet. Motorcycling is a dangerous activity, but those dangers can be minimized by dressing appropriately, including wearing a DOT-approved helmet while riding, long pants, and sturdy boots made for motorcycling.
- Expensive boots do not necessarily mean they are more practical, comfortable, or better constructed.
- Some commercially-made boots are constructed better than others.
- I operate a street-legal touring motorcycle, though I have owned and ridden cruisers for years. However, I do not ride motocross or go "dirt-biking, " so this discussion is primarily about motorcycle boots worn on street-legal bikes.
My thoughts below reflect these facts.
Styles of Motorcycle Boots
All motorcycle boots are not the same. There are several styles of motorcycle boots you can choose from. The most common of these styles include engineer or harness boots, "shorty" or tactical boots, tall "biker" boots, police motorcycle patrol boots, and racing or motorcross boots. There are cowboy boots made for motorcycling, but they are not common.
Harness or Engineer boots are the most common styles of motorcycle boots that American bikers wear. These boots come in various heights, but the most common height are from 10" to 12" (25cm to 30cm). The boots present a rugged appearance, and the style stands the test of time. Harness boots have a strap that wraps around the foot across the back of the heel and attached with a ring at each side, and usually have a square toe. Engineer boots have a single strap with a buckle across the instep, and usually have a round toe. Both styles of motorcycle boots are equally as common, and it is a matter of personal preference as to which style to choose. Some of the mid-grade and top-line harness and engineer boots come with a Vibram sole, which provides excellent traction. See samples of harness boots and engineer boots at these links. There are many brands of harness and engineer boots. The best value for the money and quality boots of these styles are made by Boulet, Chippewa, and Wesco. (Boots with the Frye or Harley-Davidson labels are sold at inflated prices for the name, and are not made with quality materials or craftsmanship. Boots made by Dingo, Double H, Durango, and X-element are not well-made, either. You get what you pay for.)
"Shorty boots" are called that simply because they are 10" (25cm) or shorter. Actually, most "shorty" boots are 6" (15cm) to 8" (20cm) tall. These boots are also called tactical boots, because some police officers or wildland firefighters wear them. These boots are perfect for motorcycling and everyday wear. In my opinion, boots of this design, such as my Chippewa Firefighter boots or All American Firefighter boots, are the most comfortable style of boots I have worn while motorcycling.