Any rider will tell you that the right equipment is essential for tearing up the trails safely—and so will our ATV company blog! Indeed, we’ve written quite a few features on riding gear. Check out “What to Look for in a Pair of Riding Goggles” and “How to Find the Right ATV Helmet for You” to brush up on your knowledge and see if your current gear is up to snuff.
But the world of ATV and side by side equipment is vast, and these two blogs neglect to cover one important part of it: boots. Specialized riding boots are a requirement for a safe ride, as they protect your shins from trailside troubles and impact, should the unthinkable happen—hence why they’re important to wear while in a side by side, too. ATV riders can reap additional benefits from these fancy pieces of equipment, namely protecting themselves from the heat of their engine should they slip.
In the market for a new pair of boots? You’ve stumbled upon just the post. Below, CFMOTO will detail all the features you need in your riding footwear, as well as how to tell if the pair you’re trying on will serve you well on the trails.
There’s a reason—many, in fact—that we recommend a specialized pair of riding boots and not a pair of standard-issue work duds. When you’re operating a high-speed, open-air vehicle, extreme hardiness and a structure that pulls through and caters to your safety in a pinch are the bare minimum. Check out our list of top features!
No laces, no velcro—quick-release buckles are where it’s at. If you’re to be put in a dangerous position where you need your boots off fast to receive first aid, you’ll be glad you opted for them. Luckily, most UTV boots will come standard with buckles; this feature is therefore a good one to use to gauge if a given pair of footwear was made with the rider in mind. Many riders prefer aluminum buckles as opposed to plastic thanks to their hardiness, though many materials will suffice at the end of the day.
A good pair of boots is almost like armor for your feet, and the more reinforcement yours has the better. Shin plates, which are made of composite or plastic, protect the area above your ankle from breaking. While you can buy shin plates separately, it’s always useful if your new pair of boots comes with them so you can hit the trails straightaway. Their protective properties mean that you should never go without!
Generally speaking, the more metal you can have in your shoes to protect you, the better. Some facets of your boots should indeed be made of steel; we recommend the inner plates, shanks, and / or toe box for maximum impact-related protection.
Replaceable soles aren’t required, per se; nothing is stopping you from buying a new pair of boots once this part of your old ones wears out. However, if you tend to do a lot of walking in your boots or otherwise place strain on the soles, you might inquire if a given pair of boots can have their soles replaced. Not all boots have this feature, and it’s good to know before you make a significant investment.
Water protection is another must-have for many riders, though it’s rarely a safety requirement unless you’re riding in cold temps and are at risk for frostbite. However, nobody likes a wet sock, so generally riders go for a boot that has some form of water protection in order to stay comfortable on the trail. Spending the time looking around for this feature sure beats ending your ride's early thanks to discomfort!
How to Tell if a Pair of Boots Fit
All brands of boots run a little differently as far as size goes. As an ATV company and side by side manufacturer, we highly recommend trying your boots on in person before making your purchase decision. But once you’ve got the boot on, how can you tell if you’re the Cinderella the shoe has been waiting for?
For starters, you should be able to flex your ankle enough to shift gears and brake quickly. Ankle flexibility is doubly important if you tend to hike in the boots—say, to remote hunting destinations. A little break-in time is to be expected in this respect, though, so ride and plan accordingly!
You also should go only as wide as you need to. The wider the boot, the more cumbersome it can become, no matter how much ankle flexibility you may have.
It’s important to note that your toe box will not stretch. While any leather portions of the boots will give a bit as they break in so long as they’re not confined, your toe box will remain unyielding—that’s kind of its purpose, after all. Make sure your toes aren’t smooshed, and try your potential new boots on with the same pair of socks you’d wear riding so you can get the most accurate feel possible.
CFMOTO ATVs and Utility Sport Side x Sides: Have a Great Ride
Use our online CFMOTO dealer locator today and get yourself in the driver’s seat of some of the toughest ATVs and side by sides on the market.