Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Why Do Bikers Wear Boots?

Sometimes the most fundamental questions entered into a search engine land here on this blog.

Someone from Olathe, Kansas (USA), searched:

Why do bikers wear boots?

I will share my opinions.  I am a biker, having ridden motorcycles for over 30 years, with hundreds of thousands of miles on highways, byways, and back roads.  As a biker, I truly feel that operators of motorcycles need to wear boots.  Here is why I wear boots when I ride, and why my smart fellow riders do, as well:

1.  Strength and stability for fragile feet and ankles.  The foot and ankle are easily injured by the stresses and strains of motorcycle operation. Maneuvering a bike while stopping, moving into a parking space, or just in and out of a driveway puts enormous forces on the ankle.  The bones in the ankle are fragile -- believe me, I know!  Boots provide more strength to the foot and ankle, reducing the possibility of injury by bending or flexing those bones in directions that they were not made to go.

2.  Protection.  Motorcycles produce heat.  Stuff flies up from the road.  Skin on feet, ankles, and legs is thin.  That skin is easily injured by heat from hot pipes and the engine, as well as road hazards.  It is not uncommon for rocks, glass, or sticks to get kicked up by the front tire and hit your lower leg with strong force.  Boots will protect the leg from those things, as well as provide insulation from pipes that can cause a second-degree burn on contact.

3.  Appearance.  You know, Marlon Brando and James Dean weren't outfitted in boots when they were riding motorcycles just for fun.  They looked cool.  Bikers in boots look cool.  Bikers in tennis shoes (sneakers, trainers) look (in my opinion), dorky -- like the wife expects you home at any time to do chores, or take the kids to the park.  You get it -- it's fine to wear sneakers when you're not riding a motorcycle, but it's dorky-looking, not to mention stupid, if you do wear sneakers while riding a motorcycle.  Sneakers provide no protection to a biker's feet, ankles, and legs while riding.  And don't even get me started on even the thought of wearing flip-flops, crocs, or other open-toed footwear on a motorcycle.  There must be a word in English that I coin from the Italian, "dorkissimo!" 

4.  Function.  Each type of footwear has its function.  Dress shoes function with a suit (for guys who wear them).  Sneakers provide function when playing sports, running, or walking.  Motorcycle boots provide function, as well.  A good tread on a motorcycle boot will afford better control of the bike.  Period.

If one has to ask, "why do bikers wear boots?" ... then I wonder if it is a research question at an institution of higher education, or a general question out of curiosity, or to enjoy the various results that come up from such search engine entries.  Now this blog post is part of that mix.

Life is short:  wear boots when riding a motorcycle.

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