Steel Toe vs. non-Steel Toe Boots

Chipnonsteel08I received an email from a guy who said that he was new to motorcycling and wanted my opinion on the choices of steel toe or non-steel toe engineer boots to wear when riding.

First-off, congratulations on the wise choice to wear motorcycle boots when riding.

His questions were:

a lot of these type of boots have a steel toe. Is the steel toe necessary? Does the steel toe add to the weight of the boot? Is the steel toe a safety feature? If so, what how comfortable are boots with a steel toe?

My response was…

…based on my experience by owning and wearing both types of tall engineer boots — with and without a steel toe. Here is what I said:

You’re right, most tall engineer boots have a steel toe. It originated because that style of boot when worn by actual railroad engineers required safety footwear. But as that style of boots migrated for use
by bikers, the steel toe remained on the boots primarily for two reasons: 1) safety — it provides protection for the toes in case of a crash or crush injury (I’ve seen them; not pretty); and 2) reinforces the structure of the boot toe. Boots with a broad, rounded toe without significant reinforcement may have the toe box flatten or collapse with use over years.

Chipnonsteel208I have both versions of tall Chippewa engineer boots — with and without steel toes. The non-steel toe version is lighter on the feet by a little bit, but the actual steel reinforcement in the toe box only weights a few ounces. Otherwise, I do not notice any difference. The boots with and without a steel toe are equally as comfortable to wear.

Chipshinelug208Since you are new to motorcycles, I suggest that you get engineer boots WITH a steel toe for safety reasons as well as that they will last longer and retain their shape. I have some really old, beat-up engineers with steel toes. Over 20 years old and they still are holding up well.

Yep, I like tall engineer boots, and wear both steel toe and non-steel toe. I choose steel toe more often when I am riding my Harley and non-steel toe when just bummin’ around the house, doing yard work, or otherwise.

Life is short: wear boots when riding a motorcycle.