From road to adventure boots, learn how to clean your motorcycle boots for the perfect results!

Modern motorcycle boots are made from a combination of leather, metal, plastic and/or man-made composite materials to create a product that is not only comfortable but also safe. Whether you are riding a dirt bike off-road or the latest sports bike on a twisty mountain road, riders are, for the most part, aware of the importance of having the best pair of riding boots for the job.

Ensuring that one's motorcycle boots are cared for not only extends the life of them but also allows the rider to pinpoint any potential problems before they become serious issues. In this guide, we will take a look at basic motorcycle boot care, and cover the most common types of motorcycle boots on the market.

Motocross / MX boots

Motocross / MX boots are often subjected to heavy mud and gravel in what are frequently the most demanding conditions. Residue, if left over time, can be difficult to clean. It is advisable to clean motocross boots immediately after riding, while you clean your bike. You will need a scrub brush with soft bristles, an old toothbrush, some mild soap (dish soap works great), water and some clothes.

Remove the insoles from your boots before washing as water can become trapped between the insole and the boot which could cause odours over time. Rinse any heavy dirt off the boots before cleaning with a hose or pressure washer, but be careful not to use the strongest setting. Fill a bucket with warm water and add some soap. Use the scrub brush and soapy water to scrub off the remaining dirt on the boots.

MX boots have a combination of plastics and leather, so care should be taken when using a scrub brush. Use the toothbrush to get into all the hard to reach places, then rinse the boots once you are happy that all the dirt has been removed.

Always air dry your boots as heat from hairdryers and direct sunlight can affect the glues used to keep the boots together. Let your boots dry upside down so that any remaining water can run out while drying – the legs of an upturned chair serve as a great boot holder. To keep the leather supple, a leather conditioner can be applied to the leather areas once dry.

Road boots

Road boots come in various shapes and designs. The most common road boots are predominantly leather, and some have a combination of leather and other composite materials. Road boots generally require less care than MX or adventure boots. Cleaning road boots is a very simple process. Submerge a microfibre cloth into some warm water and wring out the excess water.

Then wipe down the outside of the boots to remove any visible dirt. Avoid using heavy degreasers on road boots as these can cause the soles to degrade or become slippery if not cleaned off completely.

Most motorcycle shops stock leather cleaners and conditioners specifically designed for motorcycle boots. These cleaners treat the leather, keeping it soft and shiny for a longer time.

Adventure boots

Adventure boots are hybrids between off-road and road boots. They are designed for almost all conditions and are built to be durable, yet comfortable enough for long rides over smooth or bumpy surfaces. Cleaning your adventure boots is similar to cleaning your road boots, however, there will be times where some extra elbow grease is required after wading through unexpected mud.

Unlike motocross boots, you don’t want to go at them with a pressure washer or even a simple hose. It is recommended to use a spray bottle with a mild soap solution, allowing you to use just enough water and soap as to not drench your boots. Use a damp microfibre cloth in conjunction with the soap spray in order to remove the excess dirt.  Use a leather cleaner and moisturiser after cleaning to protect your boots’ finish.

With prolonged use, motorcycle boots can become sweaty and give off bad odours, much like any other footwear. It is recommended to use an anti-bacterial spray for the inside of boots or allow them to air dry properly after long rides.

Once your boots are cleaned, inspect all clips, straps, laces and Velcro for any damage that may need attention. Some boots have removable toe sliders which can loosen over time, so this is a great opportunity to make sure those bolts are tightened.

Caring for your motorcycle boots starts by understanding what they are made of. Knowing which products to purchase may extend the life of your boots by many years. All manufacturers include booklets with care instructions and even offer cleaning products tailored for use with that particular brand.

Aftermarket products are generally more cost-effective and may yield the same results, however, read the instructions to ensure that they will be suitable for your use.

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