Can Mother Nature ever stop your motorcycle? Okay, it is highly inadvisable not to ride your chopper through icy or snowy roads. However, many motorcycle enthusiasts are willing to soldier through just about any other type of conditions: swirling winds, heavy downpours, and muddy roads. It is thus important always to have weatherproof boots, such as Harley Davidson boots, to keep your feet warm and dry. However, finding truly waterproof boots will require some homework and legwork.
1. Waterproof and breathable
Certain motorcycle boot manufacturers claim that their boots are waterproof and breathable. At first, this may seem like a contradiction. However, it is indeed possible for boots to keep all moisture on the exterior of the booth, but not allow your foot inside, to breathe. The problem is that your feet could keep moisture out, but also not allow interior moisture to escape. In wintertime, this could literally cause cold feet.
2. Water-repellant and water-resistant
Other manufacturers claim that their boots are “water-repellant” or “water-resistant.” First, “water-repellent” typically means that the manufacturer has coated the exterior of the boot. This increases the boot’s surface tension, thus, causing droplets on the boots to bead up and then spin off the outside of the boot. However, water-repellent boots are essentially only effective in light rainfalls.
Another water-fighting type of anti-water feature in motorcycle boots is the use of water-resistant fabric. Manufacturers weave this type of material tightly, to prevent droplets from penetrating it. During typical exposure to rain, water-resistant fabric provides more protection against moisture, than “standard” fabric does.
3. The best of both worlds
However, the pitfall of water-repellant and water-resistant motorcycle boots is that they do not provide the level of protection against moisture, which rugged motorcycling requires. The most effective method of truly waterproofing motorcycle boots is to begin with a membrane of material that is waterproof during typical contact with moisture. Next, at least one layer of water-resistant fabric should support the original membrane. Finally, manufacturers should treat the layers of material, with a water-repellant substance.
4. Needing to exhale
However, as previously mentioned, the most efficient waterproofing for boots not only keeps moisture out, but also allows the boot to “breathe” (technically, exhale). Gore-Tex® remains one of the most common materials used for motorcycle boot liners.
How does Gore-Tex® work? Each (1X1) piece of the material contains about nine BILLION (give or take a few) extremely tiny pores. These pores are 20,000 times tinier than a droplet of water! However, they are also 700 times bigger than molecules of water vapor. The result is that the boot obstructs exterior moisture, while allowing interior vapor to exit the interior of the boot.
While selecting motorcycle boots, keep in mind that manufacturers also produce liners that consist of various imitation Gore-Tex® materials. These products may include “Tex” in their names, but may be less effective than the original material.
When choosing motorcycle boots, you can choose from a variety of waterproof, water-repellant, and water-resistant boots. Not all motorcycle boots are created equal, so it is important to know and to recognize the differences!