Protecting your ankles and toes

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation regularly conducts studies of traumas resulting from accidents. Broken ankles, crushed feet bones and sliced toes are a topic that often comes up in the ER.

If you ever did an MSF or ABATE course, you know they won’t accept you on the range without proper biker gear, and this includes ankle-high boots. Don’t try to go pass your motorcycle safety test with your sneakers on, you’ll be bounced at the gate.

The results of the deROME study  of 2011 are unambiguous:

Wearing any type of boot provides a 53% reduction in risk of any foot or ankle injury, and a 73% reduction in risk of an open wound injury. But armored motorcycle boots make a much bigger difference in reducing the risk of an open wound injury (90%).

Boots make a big difference. Ankle-high shoes with a steel toe make a big difference. When a bike slides and the foot is trapped under the bike, protective leather reduce the risk of open wounds, road rash, ankle and foot fractures, etc. Steel toes efficiently protect a foot against all kinds of metal debris. Even when no accident is involved, riding behind a big rig exposes the rider to stones and gravels projected by truck tires. At 75 mph, these rocks become dangerous projectiles and can break a foot if they land on an exposed part.

Durable high-tops, hiking, or work boots are a good alternative to high-budget armored motorcycle riding boots.

The soles of motorcycle boots and shoes are also designed to give good traction on paved surfaces and be oil resistant. If you ever felt your bike slipping from under you at the red light because you placed your foot in an oil patch, you know that rubber soles with deep grooves are the way to go. Sneakers and city shoes won’t stop your foot from sliding and you from dropping your ride.

Here are some photos of footwear we carry or carried. Come to the store to try on a pair or two. Find one that’s both protective and comfortable. Don’t bet your riding days on a silly disregard for basic safety.