I ride a motorcycle as often as the weather permits… commute to work, run errands, rides for fun and charity. I may not put as many miles on my Harley has other bikers I know, but enough… about 200 days of riding on short or moderately long trips each year. Enough.
Being a safety-conscious and responsible biker, I always wear boots when I ride. Always. No matter the weather — extremely hot and humid, mild and Spring-like, or cold and wet — I wear sturdy, over-the-ankle, protective leather boots with durable (usually lug) soles.
Currently, I own more than 100 pairs of motorcycle boots. Surely, though, with all that experience, I must have some favorites. And I do. Here they are:
1. Chippewa Firefighter boots. I have raved several times on this blog that my favorite first choice boots to wear when riding my Harley are easy-on-the-feet, lug-soled, durable, and good-looking. These easy-on, easy-off boots are very comfortable, and the built-in shine makes them suitable to wear with dress clothes to work as they look with my (volunteer) fire department uniform, or just with leather or denim jeans. Definitely, these boots remain my #1 choice, but are not the only motorcycle boots that I wear.
By far, these are among the most classic, durable, and high-quality general-purpose biker boots that I own. The style is evergreen — a lot of bikers wear harness boots. The rugged square toe, thick leather, harness straps for appearance sake make up the characteristics of a classic masculine boot. They also look good with dress clothes that I wear in the office, as well as with leather or denim jeans.Of all of the harness boots that I own from various manufacturers (Wesco, Double H, Boulet, Dingo, Harley, Los Altos), the Chippewa Harness boots are by far the best of ’em all. Why? Wesco boots are certainly rugged, but they are damn heavy and make feet tired after a long day; Boulet boots are well-made, but the leather is thinner and the sole is rather smooth; Double H, Dingo, Durango, Harley, and Los Altos boots are cheaply-made and are of rather poor quality.
Engineer boots are also a staple of most every biker’s boot choices. The rugged design with a single strap across the instep and a rounded toe, with tall black leather up the leg look and feel great for all-day wear. Chippewa makes these boots with (27909) and without (27908) a steel toe. A steel toe gives the boots a bit more strength and they protect the toes better, but the non-steel toe version are significantly lighter weight and therefore easier to wear for long-day rides. These boots can take a lot of abuse — rain, mud, whatever you walk or slog through — the leather takes a beating and keeps your feet dry. These boots, however, are not a good choice to wear with dress clothes in the office, but look great with jeans and traditional biker attire.
4/5/6 (ties). Dehner dress instep patrol boots OR All American bal-laced patrol boots OR Chippewa “Hi-Shine” tall engineer boots (71418).I like to wear motorcycle breeches when I ride sometimes, and tall cop-style patrol boots are the only boots to wear with breeches. If I am looking for traditional cop boots that most cops in the area where I live choose to wear, then I select classic-looking dress instep Dehner boots. These boots have that commanding appearance. The lug soles provide excellent traction.A few years back, I became a fan of All American bal-laced patrol boots for their affordability, durability, and ease-of-maintenance. They look great and their lug soles provide great traction, too.And then finally in the patrol boot category, the classic Chippewa “Hi-Shine” tall engineer boots round out my frequent “go-to” choice for style and comfort to wear with breeches. These boots are easy to maintain and are a great affordable alternative to traditional equestrian-style patrol boots like Dehners.
Honestly, I like all three styles of patrol boots shown above, and wear them to work with dress clothes or with breeches when I participate in rides with my club or with cop buddies with whom I ride.
If you like to wear cowboy boots, but also ride a motorcycle, these boots are terrific. They have a Vibram 430 “mini-lug” sole for traction and durability — far superior choice of a sole rather than traditional leather on most cowboy boots, which slips and has poor traction. These Chippewa boots are rugged, durable, water-resistant, and can take a lot of use and abuse. They are comfortable and look great with traditional denim biker attire when the biker is looking for something a bit different from “the norm” in black engineer or harness boots. I wear them often, especially if my daily travels bring me to construction sites, the lumber yard, or other such areas.
My last pair of boots to list for my current favorite motorcycle boots are made by Wesco. They are custom-sized and fit exceptionally well. These boots are moderately tall (16 inches), and are as well made as any other Wesco boot — tough, durable, sturdy. And heavy. While not quite as heavy as tall Wesco Boss or Harness boots, these boots may not be quite suitable if a lot of walking is involved. But for a long day of riding, especially through rugged terrain or rough, muddy areas, these boots are a great choice.
I will post a blog some time in the future about boots that I do not consider good choices for motorcycling. But that’s another blog for another day.
Life is short: wear boots when operating a motorcycle!