Choosing Adventure Riding Boots

It's amazing how the most harmless looking crash or boot deflection can cause serious injury to your feet or ankles if you're not wearing boots with enough protection. This is further amplified with crashes at high speed. The best way to prevent injury is with a quality pair of riding boots that matches the style of riding you do.

The most important factor to consider is the huge difference between the two main types of boots available:

  • Motocross/enduro style boots
  • Adventure riding style boots

These two types of boots are entirely different in construction and have a number of functional differences; most notably protection.

Adventure Riding Style Boots

Generally speaking adventure riding boots are shorter and lighter than motocross boots. They are often waterproof, have more of a hiking boot sole and are heavily focused around comfort. Most adventure riding boots accommodate for the fact adventure riders will commonly do short walks to a point of interest, climb up a bank to get the in best angle for photograph and are generally getting on and off the bike fairly often when fuelling up, stopping for a bite to eat etc.

Below is a photo of the Forma Adventure Boot. This is a very popular boot worldwide and riders rave about the comfort. For riders that are focused purely on comfort this boot may be a good choice. For riders that value protection this boot is a poor choice. Placed side by side against a boot providing excellent protection, the Forma boot shows its weakness. Try and fold a quality boot in half and you will likely fail as the boot will have structural integrity. The Forma boot however can be folded in half by the minimal efforts of a five year old child. Naturally the Forma boot will provide minimal protection in a crash or boot deflection.

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Motocross/Enduro Style Boots

Quality motocross/enduro style boots are designed with serious protection in mind. More often than not they aren’t waterproof, they have racing oriented soles, they are generally taller than adventure riding boots and are heavier due to all the added protection. To achieve this high level of protection, comfort and ease of mobility is sacrificed. Walking in most motocross/enduro style boots is nowhere near as comfortable as walking in adventure riding boots.

Below is a photo of the Alpine Stars Tech 10 boot. This is a very popular boot worldwide with motocross and enduro riders as they provide an excellent level of protection.

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Choosing The Right Adventure Boot For You

If you enjoy sinking your teeth into challenging and technical terrain when you are out adventure riding then ideally you'll be looking for a boot with as much protection as possible. You will likely be looking for a pair of boots that falls into the motocross/enduro style category. Because most conventional motocross boots are very stiff, many adventure riders consider them too cumbersome and constrictive for adventure riding. However, there are some brilliant new models of motocross/enduro style boots that completely overcome this obstacle making them perfect for adventure riding while offering excellent protection.

One good example of this is the SIDI Crossfire 3. These boots offer exceptionally good protection mixed with hinged ankles for better mobility and replaceable soles that can be upgraded to a hiker style pattern which offers far more grip than conventional motocross style soles when walking on steep or slippery ground.

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Another example worthy of a mention is the Gaerne SG12 which also provides excellent protection mixed with excellent mobility. An increasing number of companies are acknowledging the growing trend of adventure riders that want high protection mixed with an acceptable level of mobility which is now seeing more options coming to the market.

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If your adventure riding preference is more around tarmac, gravel roads and mild off-road tracks then you may want to consider boots that are more comfort oriented rather than protection oriented. Or do you? Here’s some food for thought…

There are numerous instances where riders have purchased boots focusing on comfort or a lower price bracket and justify this by saying “I don't really ride technical stuff so I don't really need boots with all that protection”. But, just one minor slide on a simple gravel road that results in a broken ankle often means a few months on a pair of crutches that will make anyone seriously re-evaluate the importance of boots that offer good protection!

A rule of thumb that any seasoned rider will agree with is; ride with boots that offer as much protection as possible. Nothing bad has ever come from wearing boots with too much protection, but many people have suffered broken bones or torn ligaments from wearing boots with too little protection.

If you are looking at a pair of boots in the adventure boots category, it is worth noting that there are options in the higher price bracket that will provide you a reasonable level of protection mixed with a great level of mobility and comfort. The SIDI Adventure Boot is a good example of this. This boot’s hinged ankle makes it comfortable to wear right out of the box while also providing reasonable protection; much more protection than many of the other low to mid-priced boots that are marketed as adventure riding boots.

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Author of this article: RMOTO