Saturday, March 17, 2012

What To Wear When Riding a Harley Part II

A couple days ago, I began this short series of posts on this blog with a posting on "what to wear when riding a Harley." I shared my observations that most guys who ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles dress the same way that other motorcycle riders do (for the most part... there are a few exceptions for motorcycle racers, dirt-bike riders, and kids who ride sport bikes), but I was referring to clothing and gear worn while operating a motorcycle on the street.

As promised, this post is about what to wear on your feet when riding a Harley (or any other motorcycle.)

Yeah, yeah, yeah, you've heard it from me before, but it bears repeating, loudly. Repeat after me:
Boots are for motorcycles
Sneakers are for the gym
Flip-flops are for the trash

...and let's not even mention crocs... if there is a place in hell worse than where flip-flops should go, send the crocs there.

I will not repeat myself (too much) about why boots are so important for motorcycle riding. If you have missed my past posts on this topic, read this post to begin your education.

Q. What do Harley riders wear on their feet while riding?

A. Boots.

Q. Don't some of them wear sneakers or sandals?

A. Yes, unfortunately, there remain some contenders for the Darwin Award. But real bikers don't fool around and put things on their feet that provide no protection from losing traction and dropping the bike, or from injury.

Q. So what kind of boots do Harley riders wear?

A. Three types: harness boots, engineer boots, and tactical (or "shortie") boots. Whatever boots they choose, they look for rugged, durable construction as well as soles that provide good traction.

Q. Do Harley riders wear boots with the Harley label on them?

A. Usually not because most of them have learned that Harley-labeled boots are made in China by machine process of poor materials and workmanship. The price for H-D boots is higher than comparable styles made in the USA, such as by Chippewa. Harley riders are usually rather savvy, and know value when they see it. That's why the more seasoned (i.e., older) Harley riders do not wear Harley-branded boots.

Q. Don't boots get hot?

A. Cheap boots and boots that do not breathe may get hot. Good quality, well-fitted leather boots will not get hot if worn with good quality socks made of wool (to absorb sweat), cotton (to provide comfort), and nylon/rayon (to allow them to stretch over the foot, maintain shape, and not sag inside the boot when worn.)

Q. But really, I *want* to wear sneakers. I mean, that's what I usually wear around the house.

A. Okay, okay, wear your sneakers. But get in your cage and drive to the gym. Remember mantra above: sneakers are for the gym -- NOT for a Harley. Period!

Q. What is the most common style of motorcycle boot that Harley riders wear?

A. From observing what the guys who I ride with wear, they seem to be evenly divided between wearing harness boots and engineer boots, with a few tactical (short lace-up or zip-up) boots in the mix.

There you have it... what to wear (on your feet) when riding a Harley? BOOTS. No substitute. Boots perform as designed, serve a function to provide traction, look good, make YOU look cool, and provide value of durability that any other form of footwear can not provide.

Life is short: wear boots on your feet (and a helmet on your head) when riding a Harley.


Paul said...

Ciao! Leggo il tuo blog dall'Italia. Scusa, ma non conosco l'inglese e leggo e scrivo con google translator.
Il tuo blog è molto ben fatto.
Sono un biker che vorrebbe vestire sempre in pelle, ma le convenzioni del posto dove vivo non lo consentono.
Buona giornata! Paul

Hello! I read your blog from Italy. Sorry, but do not speak English and read and write with google translator.
Your blog is very well done.
I am a biker would always dress in leather, but the conventions of the place I live does not allow it.
Good day! Paul

Booted Harleydude said...

Grazie per la Sua messaggio, Paulo. Io presenziai al' Università degli Studi di Padova. Io parlo e lessi italiano. Quando io vissi là, io portai abbigliamento di cuoio. Nessuno disse qualsiasi cosa. La restrizione è nella Sua testa. Non si preoccupi su che altre persone dica. Quello è il loro problema, non il Suo problema.

Jerome said...

For any person who wants to wear sneaker and especially flip-flops while riding their motorcycle, has lost their damn mind. Although I am not a biker and has a fear for riding a motorcycle, I know fully well that boots are worn on a motorcycle, period, no exception. Sneakers are for the gym and for every other exercise that you may be doing and Flip-Flops, Crocs and don't forget sandals are definitely for the trash. And as we have been having this strange warmer weather for the past few days, people are already bringing out the dreaded flip-flops. I feel like vomiting everytime I see a pair of flip-flops.