Buying new motocross boots is both a great feeling and a tough one (pun intended) as well. Riding with fresh gear can be like riding a new bike because everything is tight and still altogether. However, when you buy new boots, they are usually hard as a rock and suck to ride in without breaking them in first. That is, unless, you spend several hundreds bills on a pair of MX boots that don’t require break-in.
If you’ve never put your feet in a new pair of boots, just imagine putting your feet in ski or snowboarding boots; stiff and weird to walk in at first. If you can’t bend your ankle up and down then you will have a very hard time shifting, and using the rear brake will have much less feel because you have to move your whole foot.
So, how do you break them in so they’re actually usable for a race or long day in the wilderness? The easiest, although probably the longest way is just by riding with them until the leather of the boot is broken in. Before I go any further, you should know that for dirt bike riding boots work properly and help protect your feet from injury they have to be stiff. If you happen to fall off your bike and land on your feet, and you rarely land perfectly flat, you need the boots to hold together and not flex because your feet are going to do the same.
It can take several hours of riding before your new boots are feeling comfortable, so I wouldn’t do any important rides or racing with them until they are.
If you want to break them in with little to no riding, you can work your riding boots in off of the bike. It’s as simple as bending the boots back and forth at the ankle (where it would normally bend while riding. Just grab the top and bottom of the boot with your hands and flex the shin towards the toes, and then back the opposite direction. Keep doing this for a few minutes until you feel the leather start to loosen up.
Once you’ve worked the boots in with your hands, put them on your feet and buckle it up. Don’t need them too tight as you won’t be riding quite yet. You’re basically doing the same thing as you did with your hands. Just crouch down so your knees are bent and rock your ankles back and forth so the boots stretch out.
After doing this for a few minutes, the your new boots should be flexed enough to be able to ride with them. Go ahead and gear up and hop on your dirt bike for a ride. This simple process will help break your fresh boots in with minimal riding. A good 30 minutes of riding with shifting and braking involved and you are ready to race again with better support!
There’s many other ways to break in your new dirt bike boots, such as heating them in the oven, walking around in them all day, as well as soaking them in water and walking around in them until they loosen up. Any way you do it, there’s going to be some break-in process before you are able to ‘feel’ the shift lever and brake pedal while riding.
If it’s hard to shift at first, try sticking the toe of your boot under the shift lever and lift your entire boot up. It’s a good technique to get used to in case you are standing and need to shift.
Ride safe, and go moto!