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Apparel Pro: Riding and Racing Boots

Whether in racing or casual riding, footwork is key to enhanced performance. Footwork in motocross is admittedly a little more involved, given the jumps and slides inherent in the sport, and as such, foot placement is key to getting optimal agility and balance on a bike. In fact, many riders have to practice their footwork and force themselves out of the habit of riding on the arches of their feet rather than the balls of them. By keeping the balls of their feet on the pegs, they gain more rear and forward flexibility and leverage with their feet.

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If the feet are so important in racing, then it’s certain that the boots that cover them are critical as well. In fact, going back to our earlier example, boots can tell a rider where their feet tend to be positioned on the bike. If the soles around the arches of the feet are worn away, instead of the soles on the balls of the feet, then a rider will know that more footwork practice is called for.

That being said, boots are not simply tools to determine if one is using proper foot placement, of course.  However, boots can only perform as designed when the rider’s feet are in the optimal position.

Many quality racing and riding boots have hidden pivot points around the ankle to provide both rear and forward flexibility in the boot. But, if the foot is in the wrong position, it will not bend as flexibly, and therefore, neither will the boot. 

Some manufacturers have spent years designing new soles for their boots to optimize stability and placement. Not only do quality boot soles need to provide multi-directional traction, but even the angle of the heel should be designed to keep the foot stable on the footrest or even ensure fast sliding.

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Of course, the primary job of a boot is to protect the foot. Motocross boots tend to be made of a combination of microfiber and polyurethane (PU) plastic (the latter of which helps repel dirt and oils, making them easier to clean) with additional PU reinforcements along the shins, toes and heels. Quality boots come with aluminum buckles to provide a locked-in feel and open design that prevents debris from clogging them. Motorcycle racing boots tend to be made primarily of perforated microfiber or leather and mesh in order to provide more breathability, with molded shin, ankle and toe armor for extra protection. In addition, metal toe, heel and ankle guards keep these extremities from tearing on tight turns. These boots often have some combination of zipper, hook-and-loop and fastener enclosures.

Most boots make comfort a priority, and they will have varying amounts of foam padding inside. For motocross boots, make sure the inside lining of the boot is breathable to keep the feet from getting overheated. In addition, for any type of boot, you want to look for heat guards that will offer the best grip on the bike frame but keep the calves from burning. 

Customers will pay top dollar for quality, comfortable boots that won’t wear out after a few runs. So, be sure to stock boots that can take a lickin’ and keep on kickin’. 

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This article is brought to you by Joe Rocket.

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