Short motorbike boots have been around for a season or two now. Is it worth buying a pair? What types can you get? And most importantly, how safe are they?
Why ride in short boots?
It's a Sunday afternoon. The Assen GP is on telly in half an hour and you're dying for a cup of tea. You open the fridge, but there's no milk. Curses. You've just got time to pop to the shops on your bike. It's only a short journey – there's no point putting on all your gear and those tall, unstylish, protective motorcycle boots. Trainers will do... won't they?
Nope. Trainers won't protect your feet or ankles in a crash. They'll disintegrate when dragged along tarmac. But still, you didn't want to wear full-on riding boots for such a short journey. You need something so convenient and stylish – easy to wear with kevlar-reinforced jeans – that it doesn't seem too much to slip on for the odd errand. Enter, the short boot.
How safe are shorties?
Short boots now come in all styles, suiting all budgets. High price items will have heel, ankle and toe protection and be sturdy in construction. Budget items can have ankle protection sewn in at the wrong height to actually cover your ankle, be light-weight on foot defences, and wear out with repeated use of rear brake and gear selector. They will, however, still offer you better protection than your dad's hand-me-down trainers.
Take a look at the boots below, each from a different brand. There are short versions of full race-style boots, more rugged adventure footwear, and a fair dose of stylish urban protection too. Prices suit most budgets, and we've included a low and high price example for each style.
Sporty Short Boots
Waterproof and stylish sports boots with breathable Air Tech lining and suede leather and shift pad for added wear resistance. Lace them up and then secure any loops with a velcro band finisher. At £100, the Rush is a solid option at the more affordable end of the sports shoe market.
The second most expensive option on this list, the Sidi Streetburners were one of the first short boots to hit the market. The concept is simple: take a top-of-the-range Sidi racing boot, and lop the top off, leaving all the rest intact, including heel slider and closable vents.
Vintage Look Short Boots
FLM is a new brand whose products are designed in Germany. They focus on affordable prices, and their City boots are definitely affordable. These are ones to try before you buy: make sure the ankle protection sits in place over your ankles, not under them. Armour doesn't work if it's not in the right place.
The Monty comes in traditional black, and tasteful brown leather. CE certified protection in toe, heel and ankle and leather construction mean both impact and abrasion resistance. If it's convenience you're wanting, just factor in the time it takes to do up the laces each time you put them on.
Available in no-frills black, Spada's waterproof Icon boots are impressive value for money. The fully leather construction is coated in a waterproof plastic layer, with reinforced toe, heel and ankle sections. Lifetime of the boot is increased by a moulded gear change pad for the top of the left boot tip.
Short boots from the highest thought-of bootmaker on the planet. A slightly taller touring boot with minor shin protection, leather and Gore-Tex construction. Leather velcro straps connect the leather sections together and ensure a close fit, especially around the ankle. This reduces the chance of twisting the foot dangerously in a crash. Supreme manufacturing quality.