Apparel Pro: Riding Shoes

According to Nancy Sinatra, “these boots are made for walking,” so that means “shoes are made for riding,” right?

According to Nancy Sinatra, “these boots are made for walking,” so that means “shoes are made for riding,” right?

Trending like the newest model release on your Facebook timeline, motorcycle riding shoes are increasing in popularity throughout the industry. 

Traditional leather motorcycle boots are heavy and bulky, offering a lot of protection on the road but may not be comfortable to walk around in afterwards. Although boots are suitable while on the bike, they don’t necessarily fit in with the post-ride destination, requiring a saddle bag big enough to hold a change of shoes for the rider. 

From a safety perspective, style should be last on a rider’s checklist — which also includes riding type, level of protection, comfort and fit, construction and price — but it’s still on the list. Footwear manufacturers noticed this and chose to design a product that fits all of those parameters while giving style it’s due.

Taking the same technology that makes riders feel protected in boots, but with less heavy material and more breathability, riding shoes offer a transition from on-bike safety to off-bike style. What look like high-top sneakers are new footwear options that actually offer the same protection as boots, with steel in the toe, reinforced heels and ankles, anti-slip outsoles, leather upper construction and a design that would convince the untrained eye that they are everyday kicks as opposed to a riding shoe.

An important distinction that sets riding shoes apart from everyday shoes is the size of the sole. Riding shoes will have a thicker sole, preparing them to make direct contact with the pavement, without fear that the soles will easily deteriorate under frequent use. 

While there are a lot of high-quality products available on the market, be aware that the phrase “you get what you pay for” is true in the shoe department. The safety technology embedded in good shoes will be found in those on the higher end of the price spectrum.

Keep in mind that if the shoe doesn’t cover the rider’s ankle, there is a good chance that it won’t provide the rider with support and protection that they will need. It should go without saying, but you should probably mention to customers that although riding shoes are versatile, they should be used for street riding instead of motocross and off-road activities; they are not designed for days on the track.

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