Riding on a Hog, 10 hours a day on the laid back, truck worn highways of America can leave your feet wishing they had stayed home. There's not a method of transportation more encouraging for the soul than motorcycling. But the vibrations caused by the thumping heart of your 600lb machine can vibrate your body into submission and leave the soles of your feet feeling anything but courageous. Try traipsing around a truck stop or stepping off your bike on an a scenic overlook after a long ride; your butt is raw, your legs are noodles, and your feet? Well, there are several sensations you might experience. The three main ones are Blisters, Numbness, and Arch Pain. When you get all three, it's called "Boot Burn".
Blisters: Riding boots with poor cushioning or flat or misshapen insoles can transfer vibrational forces to the foot causing friction. The soft skin of the foot is no match for leather and glues and the seams rubbing over toes and arches can create skin breakdown which ultimately causes wounds.
Numbness/Tingling: Riding boots with tight toe-boxes, tight laces, or narrow and shallow heels can restrict blood flow and cause the foot to lose sensation. Attempting to walk with insensate feet can affect where and how you place your feet and bring about an unstable gait. A loss of proprioception may occur. In other words, if you cant feel your feet, you'll have a hard time knowing where your feet are underneath you, increasing the risk of falls.
Arch Pain: Riding boots with inadequate mid-foot support can stress the plantar fascia (a broad, flat ligament on the bottom of your feet) beyond it's normal range and small micro-tears can develop causing pain.
The symptoms of boot burn and more were topics of discussion at Grove's Harley Davidson in Winchester, Va during the Art of the Motorcycle event this October. Duane(COO) and Barbara(Owner) invited me to come talk to the bikers and staff about improving their foot health and how orthotics can maximize the fit and feel of their line of Harley Davidson riding boots. As the morning began and riders started to stream in, we discussed the topics of diabetes, in-grown toenails, shoe inspections, and how increased stress and poor foot alignment over time can cause over-use injuries such as posterior tibialis tendonitis, achillies tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis. I performed several scans and saw a multitude of feet. Education reigned supreme this day and everyone came away with a new understanding of their feet. I look forward to returning often to bring comfort and performance to the boots of riders at Grove's Harley Davidson.
So what to do about Boot Burn? One answer is a combination of Dealer Exclusive Harley Davidson riding boots like the all new HD Vance FXRG and a pair of custom Graceyfeet Orthotics. The Vance is a newly released, high-performance motorcycle boot for riders who place heavy demands on their gear. Waterproof, with a tall vamp and roomy toebox, the Vance sports high-end riveting, double-sewn seams, and a goodyear welt. Entry is easy and quick with a full-length medial zipper. But the boot lacks a sock-liner that performs to the standard that Harley boot leathers have come to be known by. Included in the boot is a consumer-grade, inexpensive, molded gel insole. This insole is inadequate to make walking and riding comfortable. Removing this poor feature and replacing it with a Graceyfeet, full-length, medical-grade orthotic solved every issue instantly. I rank this boot in the highest category for comfort and performance so long as a custom insole is utilized. It really is the perfect boot for all your riding needs.
Graceyfeet Custom insoles are CAD/CAM designed to address each of the negative conditions of boot burn and can be made medically appropriate for every rider's needs. Graceyfeet is proud to educate Harley riders on proper care of the foot and ankle and how the qualities of a riding boot can affect the riders' overall riding experience.
Come find me at Harley Davidson and I'll not only give you professional, biomechanical insights, but huge discounts on custom orthotics exclusive to Harley Davidson Motor Company to help you Live Free and Stride.
Thank you to Barbara, Duane, Jeff, Raymond, Chris, Kim, Chuck, and all the patrons and staff at Grove's Harley Davidson of Winchester. See you again soon!
Chris Gracey MPT, Cped