Over 80% of motorcyclists who are injured in a crash have injuries to their legs, including 16% to feet and 23% to ankles (Otte, et al 1987).
Your feet are the part of your body that is most likely to make contact with the road, resulting in injuries even in a slow speed and minor crash. Injuries occur from direct impacts or being trapped between the motorcycle and other vehicles or objects as well as with the abrasive road surface.
Tests of 21 well known brands of motorcycle boot against the European Standard, found that none passed the impact resistance test and only half passed the crush resistance test (Motorcycle News, UK, MCN, May 21 & 28, 1997). However there is evidence to suggest that good boots can significantly reduce the risk of foot injuries (Otte et al, 2002).
How can you tell if they are "good" boots? What to look for.
If the boots meet the European Standard they will be marked EN 13634. If not, it is very difficult for you to tell how good they are.
Many riders and their pillions still wear street or sports shoes. Whether you are trying to decide the safest choice from your current shoe collection or buying some motorcycle boots, here are some design features to help guide you in your choice.
Boots must be comfortable. They should be neither too tight nor loose. If they are too tight, your feet may go numb particularly if you are also cold.
Check whether you can mount, ride and operate all the controls freely. Can you walk normally, climb stairs, bend over, crouch and pick up your keys from the floor?
In order to provide protection, boots should be at least 160 mm high from the inner sole and provide impact protection for the shins, instep and ankles.
How are the soles attached? Sewn is stonger than bonded. Many sports boots have soles that are only glued on! They would be ripped off in seconds if your foot is dragging along a road.
How are they fastened? If you just have to pull them on, they can also be pulled off in a crash, just when you really need them.
They should have oil resistant soles and be sufficiently waterproof for you to walk 10 metres through a puddle.
Leather should be marked as complying to ISO 11642 which is a test of colour fastness in water.
Avoid boots that allow your foot to overhang the edge of the sole. Look for at least 10 mm clearance from the edge to the upper.
Look for thick abrasion resistant uppers. Leather should be at least 2.5 mm thick.
Look for thick soles – at least 4 mm not including cleats.