Can You Wear Hiking Boots on a Motorcycle?
Hiking boots are sturdy and durable. They are designed to protect the foot and ankle but at the same time stay very comfortable. Which is a great plus.
Since hiking boots offer both protection and comfort, many motorcyclists wonder if they can be used on a motorcycle. Hiking boots are the perfect type of footwear for long hikes and other demanding activities, but can they meet the needs of motorcyclists?
Can you wear hiking boots on a motorcycle? Although you can wear hiking boots on a motorcycle, you should not do it. Hiking boots are not good for motorcycle riding, and they are not safe. Motorcycle riders should not wear hiking boots while riding as hiking boots do not offer enough protection to the feet, ankles, and legs.
Below you will find more information on hiking boots and how well they compare to footwear designed for motorcyclists.
Hiking boots vs. motorcycle shoes and motorcycle boots
Hiking boots are designed in such a way as to provide good levels of foot and ankle protection during walking on footpaths and trails in the countryside and other rural and off-road places.
Hiking boots are, at the same time, durable and comfortable as they should allow the hiker to walk comfortably long distances.
Typically there are three different types of hiking boots:
- Low cut hiking boots: Low cut hiking boots offer the best freedom of movement. However, their protection is fairly low. They stop below the ankle bone and will not protect the ankle very well.
- Mid cut hiking boots: Mid cut hiking boots stop around the level of the ankle bone. They will protect the ankle from scrapes and cuts, but the overall protection of the ankle is fairly low. In terms of movement restriction, they fall between the low cut and high cut hiking boots.
- High cut hiking boots: High cut (ankle) hiking boots offer the best ankle support and protection; however, they can be the most restrictive. High cut hiking boots can be as high as 8 inches, and the scuff usually covers the ankle.
Hiking boots can be made from a variety of different materials like leather, rubber, synthetic materials, and more.
Hiking boots will normally be waterproof as they are intended for use in a variety of weather conditions.
Motorcycle shoes try to provide good levels of protection while at the same time, remain very comfortable and easy to walk in. Motorcycle shoes offer a decent alternative for motorcyclists but will no offer the best levels of protection.
Motorcycle shoes will often have reinforced toe boxes, added ankle protection, with stronger heel counters, and more.
Motorcycle shoes are made from various heavy-duty materials that can protect against impact, abrasions, and splitting like thermoplastic polyurethane, durable microfiber, vulcanized rubber heavy-duty textiles, heavy-duty plastic, and more.
Motorcycle boots offer the best possible protection to the foot, ankle, and leg. Motorcycle boots are usually very high and can be between 10 to 38 inches in height.
They are also form-fitting and will restrict your movement more compared to motorcycle boots and even hiking boots—especially when it comes to walking.
Motorcycle boots are usually made from heavyweight leather and composite materials like hard plastic, metal, and impact-absorbing and energy-dissipating padding.
Generally speaking, we can distinguish three different types of motorcycle boots.
- Racing boots: Racing boots are specially designed to offer plenty of protection to the foot, ankle, and the leg of motorcyclists that ride on hard paved roads at high speeds.
- Touring boots: Touring boots are viewed as the best of both worlds. On one side, they offer plenty of protection, while on the other side, they also offer good levels of comfort and less movement restriction.
- Motocross boots: Motocross boots offer high levels of protection and often are considered one of the safest motorcycle boots. They are knee-high and will protect the whole leg of the rider.
Hiking boots vs other types of shoes
Hiking boots are definitely better than wearing nothing or some other types of footwear like flip-flops, sneakers, trainers, etc.
Hiking boots will offer more protection than a standard shoe but not as much protection as good motorcycle boots.
Are hiking boots good for motorcycle riding?
Hiking boots are not good for motorcycle riding because they do not offer adequate levels of protection to the feet, ankles, and legs. Hiking boots are not designed for impact protection or even sliding protection and will not be safe for riding a motorcycle.
Generally speaking, hiking boots will not offer much in terms of protecting your ankles from twisting and crushing.
During an accident, your ankles will be subjected to different forces that will cause them to twist as you slide and tumble on the ground. This twisting is a primary cause of many different and very severe injuries.
Hiking boots are also not designed to offer abrasion resistance, and while sliding, the asphalt can eat through the hiking boots very quickly, exposing the foot.
Some hiking boots may also easily slip and fly off your feet in an accident, exposing your feet even more.
Another problem is the laces. Hiking boots have laces, which are not reliable at keeping the hiking boots on your feet in a motorcycle accident. But what is more is that laces can get stuck on the pegs or even be caught into the chain, which can result in you dropping your motorcycle while stopping, crashing, or severely injuring your feet.
Hiking boots are usually waterproof. However, since they are not very high, it is very common for water running down your trousers to get caught in the hiking shoes getting your feet wet.
Hiking boots will often have softer cushiony soles that will not offer a lot of protection to the feet. The softer sole is designed to offer more padding and keep your feet from fatiguing while hiking. However, the rubber soles can wear down faster.
Compared to specialized motorcycle shoes and boots, hiking boots will just not be as safe. Hiking boots are not as stiff, and their materials and protective layers will deteriorate faster. Over time the top of some hiking boots where you shift can start to wear down.
Conversely, other types of hiking boots may have stiffer at the toes and may cause you to have some problems shifting.
Overall not all hiking boots may allow you to easily slip your foot between the shifter and the foot peg.
Should you wear hiking boots on a motorcycle?
The majority of prevalent injuries among motorcyclists are lower limb injuries (about 55.5%), and this is why it is recommended that motorcyclists should wear proper motorcycle-specific gear.
One of the advantages of hiking boots is that they can be fairly comfortable, especially if you are looking for something to wear while hiking. Hiking boots can also be used very successfully to operate the pegs on the motorcycle.
However, the problem with motorcycle shoes is that they are just unsafe and will not offer much in terms of impact and abrasion protection in an accident. And safety should always be placed in the first place.
Of course, nobody plans to get into an accident or fall with their motorcycle. Nonetheless, accidents do happen, and the reality is motorcyclists are at worse odds when it comes to the severity of the injuries they can sustain in an accident.
See article: If you ride a motorcycle, will you eventually crash?
You should not wear hiking boots as they are not designed to provide suitable protection in an accident. Hiking boots will not offer adequate levels of impact or abrasion protection.
Hiking boots are not designed to protect your feet while you are moving at high speeds. They are designed to protect your feet at walking speed, which is very different from what you will experience while riding a motorcycle.
Depending on where you live, the law may require you to wear proper motorcycle specific footwear or requires you to wear any time of footwear that covers the ankle, in which case hiking boots may suffice.
Are there hiking and motorcycling boots?
The aspects that make one type of boots good for motorcycle riding usually make them bad for walking and vice versa. Because of the heavy-duty construction, motorcycle boots will usually be very stiff and limit your flexibility.
On the other hand, hiking boots have to be flexible and not limit your movement.
In other words, hiking boots and motorcycle boots are intended for marginally different purposes and thus built and designed differently.
This is why motorcycle boots cannot replace hiking boots, and hiking boots cannot replace motorcycle boots. In other words, dual-purpose boots are not an option.
This is why it is recommended to get a pair of motorcycle boots and a pair of hiking boots that you can swap. The extra pair of shoes can be kept in the tank bag or in a hard case on the motorcycle.