Q: This question is short; I hope the response is longer. When is it time to replace riding boots? – David Fulmer, Punta Gorda, Florida
A: Boots, like brake pads and tires, are consumable components. Unlike those hard parts, however, there aren’t factory service limits to tell you when your kicks are kicked. According to Bill Berroth, president at MotoNation, the most common issue with old boots is worn-out soles. “Cheaper boots use wrap-around glued-on soles that can’t be replaced,” says Berroth, “but with quality boots like Sidis and Alpinestars you can get replacement sew-on soles, and either send the boots in to the manufacturer for service or just take them to your local cobbler.” Anthony’s Shoe Repair or MX Boot Repair and Resole (shoerepair.com or mxbootrepair.com) can probably help as well. Busted zippers are often an easy fix, too.
Next up, Berroth suggests keeping an eye out for material failure at stress points. “Whether the boots are made of leather or something synthetic, look for cracking at the shifter area, at the heel and other crease points,” says Berroth. Once cracks start to form, the material is compromised and the boots can’t be trusted to fend off bad weather, impacts or abrasion. Speaking of abrasion, any boot that’s been crashed should be given a thorough inspection. Look for torn stitching, chassis material that’s been worn thin and other signs of damage that might compromise the boot’s integrity.