Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

Steel Caps - What's everybody's problem with them?

Discussion in 'Riding Gear and Bike Accessories/Parts' started by QuarterWit, May 26, 2008.

  1. G'day All!

    A quick question... I've been looking for a pair of cafe-racerish boots, well, jackboots would be a better description and it seems all the ones that come from the states are steel capped.

    I've noticed through searching netrider there's a lot of people who know their stuff, and others that don't, that steel cap boots of any description are dangerous on a bike.

    I'm assuming that everyone knows the story of steel caps severing toes is BS, and there's got to be more to it than that. I'm thinking more about the boot not being able to flex with the toes correctly in an accident, and the top of the toes basically 'torquing' against the bottom of the steel toe.

    My logic is also if the professionals don't wear them, then they aren't the best thing for riding. But are the really that bad. Has anyone had an off in a set of steel caps?

    The type i'm looking at aren't your typical blundstone variety, so they shouldn't come off too easily. Anyway, interested in everybodys opinion.
  2. i always thought the issue with most steel cap boots was they offer no/very little ankle protection, and the elastic that hold em on :? aren't there a new shorter style boot out atm, that might suit your need :?
  3. I don't know about motorcycle-oriented steelcapped boots, but when someone asks, "Why should I spend $199-$300 on fancy motorcycle boots when I can go to Bunnings and get some uncomfortable steelcaps for $50?", the following comes to mind:

    No shin impact protection (though neither do the new 'motorcycle sneakers' that look like hiking boots) - they're only intended to take a hit from a falling object.

    No impact-protection for the sides of the ankles either - they're only intended to take a hit from a falling object.

    Poor abrasion resistance - they're not intended to rub against the road at speed, they're... you get the idea.

    Relatively speaking, h e a v y, which could put excessive loads on your lower legs in a crash.

    But maybe steel-capped motorcycle boots are different? *shrug*
  4. To me road race boots look and feel flimsy. It's all relative.
  5. Well, I'd like to think I know my stuff (a bit) and I've no problem at all with steel caps. Neither did most of the serious riders I knew in the UK, and neither did one of the UK's better respected (and now, sadly, defunct) boot manufacturers, Ashmans.

    Personally, my everyday riding boots are a pair of high leg, lace up Steel Blues. They've lasted me several years of hard use, both on the bike and at work(admittedly I haven't crashed in them. but I have crashed in similar boots, as did a number of friends. None of us suffered foot or ankle injuries) so I'm pretty confident about the strength of construction. The leather is as thick as anything I've seen anywhere, so I'm fairly happy with their likely abrasion performance. A thick, padded toung and the lace arrangement provides some extra impact resistance to the instep and front of ankle. Done up firmly, they do provide a fair bit of ankle support. They're very comfy too, even to walk in, which can be important for those with less than reliable machinery :grin: .

    Admittedly they don't have any armour or fancy articulated plastic bits to limit ankle movement. However, not so very many years ago, nor did the vast majority of specialist motorcycle boots. A shinguard on motocross boots was about the limit. Rigid bits in bike clothing is a development of the last 10-15 years.

    The downsides are that steel doesn't have much in the way of insulation, so there's the potential for colder toes than may be the case in a non-capped boot. The height and lack of flexibility might be a problem for gearchanging (although I've never found it so) and you might also find that the leather pinched between the gear lever and the edge of the steel cap wears out quickly.

    All that said, I'd never consider the elastic sided jobs as appropriate for bike use (not a problem if you're looking for something more classic).

    So I'll offer a dissenting opinion. Get a good quality pair of steel caps that will stay on your feet in a slide and you will have adequate foot and ankle protection. At least as good as anyone but top level racers had until less than 20 years ago.
  6. Same here but only because I havnt found road boots I can get my feet into.
  7. Thanks for the replies guys!

    For the record i'm looking at these...


    At around $200AUD. Mainly because I can't afford these...


    at $700AUD. But I've been thinking... That's about 2 months worth of cigarettes. If I quit, I'll get those boots. But in the meantime, the top ones, Chippewa steel caps might have to suffice.

    Go on, laugh at my taste in boots fellas! :p
  8. No laughing from this quarter. If you're after a classic look, they look great. They also look exactly like the boots that the police and the affluent "serious" riders in the UK wore as a matter of course until quite recently. Funnily enough, there were no more headlines about riders getting their feet torn off back then than there are now.

    Go for it.

    Oh yeah, buy the $700 ones. If they're truly worth that kind of money they'll be a lifetime investment. Does that label say Lewis Leathers by any chance? If it does, they'll be worth the pain of quitting the cigs.
  9. Yeah, I'm going for the classic look mate! Brando jacket, leather pants tucked into those...

    ... and yep, they are Lewis Leather boots. Are they as good as what everybody is saying they are?
  10. Chippewa boots for AUD$200 :shock: where where?? Very cool boots

    I like these. The brown goes with blue jeans when off the bike? These are a 20 year old pair!

  11. Well they were the standard UK police motorcyclist's boot for decades. Might still be for all I know. I suspect that, if you're doing 20-30,000 miles a year on a bike, in all conditions, you wouldn't put up with sub-standard gear.

    All the Lewis Leathers gear I've seen has been absolutely top notch and made with a view to becoming a family heirloom :grin: .
  12. True that. Sounds like another one for mythbusters.
  13. Done done and done.

    Just had my last cigarette ever. From one and a half packs a day down to none, cold turkey.

    Lets see if, contrary to my parents beliefs, motorbike riding can save a life! :grin:
  14. Ahh No. Ask the bloke I ride with occasionally why he has no toes on his left foot.

    Basically the toe section can roll backwards in an accident and cause the rear of the cap to server you toes.

    Remember shit happens in an accident that you have no hope of controlling.
  15. Mythbusters have busted this myth according to them by dropping large weights onto steel capped boots and they showed no ability to chop of toes. The only thing from memory that made me think was "what about a roll over incident?" this may push the edge of the cap down.

    Still I would wear the Chippewas!

    Thanks for the link!
  16. Well, I wouldn't deny a first hand (or foot) account. However, I maintain that there are so many horrible things that can happen to the human body in a crash, that the fairly remote possibility of a steel-cap chopping my toes off doesn't enter my risk calculations.

    Knowing a couple of folk myself who've had vehicles roll over their feet in tight traffic situations (yes, I know that suggests poor filtering decisions. Let's not go there :grin: ), I'd regard it as swings and roundabouts.

    For that matter, I can envisage situations where a decent sized zip tag could get driven into your chest or throat, but again, compared to more likely causes of death or injury, is it really worth worrying about?

    All that said, I remain quite fussy about what I'll carry in my pockets when riding, as even a biro could easily inflict a serious stab wound, or a tobacco tin cause a broken hip.

    When all is said and done, the most important feature of footwear for motorcycling is that it should stay on your feet and remain more or less intact. If it fails in that regard, any other protection it might offer is moot. If it succeeds, any additional safety features are a bonus.
  17. It also doesn't cover the front on impact scenario where the toes are bend back (probably breaking the foot anyway). A scenario steel caps are not designed for, and the likely occurrence in a motorcycle accident.
  18. Woah.. I figger if it rolls that much anyways, your toes are broken anyways?
    I saw the Mythbusters ep where they tried to get steel toes to cut off toes but it was a busted myth.
  19. Hard to say. I just tried bending the toe of my steelcapped workboots against the ground and I can get the steel toe to just touch the top of my foot just as it becomes uncomfortable to bend my toes that far.

    Would say that there'd be a bit more deflection before something bad happened to the tendons or toe joints.