ENTRY LEVEL, MID-RANGE OR TOP-OF-THE-LINE? WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
With boot prices ranging from the low $100s to nearly $1000 it’s not hard to feel a little overwhelmed. The secret to choosing a pair of boots is no secret at all. You get what you pay for! It’s the same old story and It’s really that simple. Generally speaking you pay more for a finer grade of leather (there is a massive difference between the full-grain leather used on high-end boots and a cheap split cut on cheaper boots), more impact protection, better buckles, stainless rivets, increased durability and longevity, a larger range of replacement parts and superior ankle support.
Let’s look at each range in detail…
ENTRY LEVEL $100-$250
The boots we consider to be on the lower end of the scale (protection wise), tend to lie in this price range.
In a nut shell: Generally constructed of a lower grade leather they tend to lack ankle support. They also lack external shielding and can at times look like a long leather shoe. On the plus side a thinner cut of leather and a lack of ankle stiffness make these boots easy to walk around in and give decent control of the rear-brake and gear-levers. Some lower priced boots can suffer a little from a high toe-box (simply the toe section of the boot) which can make it difficult to fit under the gear lever.
Who are they suited to? These boots weren’t designed for beginners. They were designed for people with strict budgets. A beginner rider has the exact same ankles as any experienced rider so why should they protect their feet and ankles any less? Please if you have the budget for it, at least consider a boot in the mid-range. If not, explore our lay-by options. If neither are applicable see below for help on picking a decent low-end model.
What to look for:
- Lateral ankle protection. Hold the boot in your hands and try to bend it at the ankle. Not up and down like you would if you were changing gears. But side-to-side like when you roll your ankle on an uneven ground. The most common ankle injury is the lateral inversion which is simply ‘rolling’ the ankle. Generally speaking, the harder it is to bend the boot at the ankle the more lateral support it should offer. If you are shopping online then feel free to contact us and we can point you in the right direction.
- Alloy buckles - Quite a lot of cheap boots use plastic buckles. Avoid them and spend a little extra if the budget allows or you will forever be replacing them.
- Moulded Soles - An emerging trend is the use of ‘moulded sole’ technology which does away with the old steel cap and stitched flat sole by directly moulding the sole to the boot-upper. The removal of the steel cap and a more shoe-like outer sole makes the boots easier to get around in. The perfect choice for boot newbies as it softens the transition from shoes to boots.
- A slim-line toe box - The toe section of your right boot will spend most of its life jammed under your gear lever. A bulky toe box can make it difficult to slide your foot in and out from under the shifter and can hinder your riding style. **TIP - If you are suffering from a bulky toe box consider moving your shifter a few notches on the spline to accommodate it.**
In a nut shell: Usually constructed of a full-grain leather, they are often clad in a heap of plastic shielding, with superior ankle protection. They usually make use of stiff ankle reinforcements to provide ankle stability but because of this they can be stiff to ride in. What they make up for in lateral ankle support they lose in ankle extension and flexion movement. While this can slightly hinder gear changes and rear brake control most riders get used to this very quickly and accommodate by using more of a ‘leg movement’ for gear and brake control rather than an ‘ankle flex’. Almost always more waterproof than their low-end brother they also offer much more protection in the toe area which makes them a good starting point for trail/enduro riders. Some have replaceable soles and all offer a decent range of spares for boot maintenance and increased lifespan.
Who are they suited to? Suited for all riders looking for superior protection without breaking the bank. Every rider from novice to expert should at least consider a boot in the mid-range.
What to look for:
Comfort: Because a mid-range boot tends to be more ‘fitted,’ you want to find one that fits you! The boot your mate might rave about could feel awful if you have different width feet. Our experienced staff can help you make the right choice by asking about your foot shape over the phone and recommending models to suit.
Plastic motocross boots or leather: This topic is probably large enough for its own article. In summary though, plastic stays fairly static through-out the boots lifespan. It doesn’t stretch, it doesn’t dry out and you can blast it with a pressure washer all day long. But it makes for a heavy boot, is quite often less comfortable and also doesn’t transfer feeling nearly as well as leather does. Call us if you wish to learn more on plastic boots.
HIGH-END $400 and up
In a nut shell – Most are constructed of full grain leather. Some are made entirely of high-tech plastic composites. They offer a higher level of durability and will always outlast their cheaper alternatives. All offer a larger catalogue of replacement parts and are therefore more easily maintained to again increase lifespan. They tend to offer similar intrusion protection as mid-range boots. Much more R&D goes into the production high end motocross boot and almost all boast the following features.
Ankle hinge systems which allow increased freedom of movement while also increasing hyperextension protection.
Advanced sole design for increased durability, grip and feeling while still boasting structural rigidity for protection.
Super-slim toe box design for quicker and easier use of the gear lever.
Some boots boast inner booties which can greatly increase ankle protection against lateral inversions (rolling the ankle).
All will boast a mixture of stainless steel and aluminium hardware for weight reduction and corrosion resistance.
All have replaceable soles.
Who are they suited to? While you won’t catch a professional without a pair, you don’t have to be a ‘racer’ to wear a high-end moto boot. We sell tonnes of high-end boots to conscientious beginners who are looking for maximum protection, comfort and durability.
Want more information on dirt bike boots? Check out our blog!