Red Wing Engineer 2268 steel toe boots on a motorcycle

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by Herresbach, Oct 7, 2020.

  1. Herresbach

    Herresbach Familiar Face

    Hi guys,

    as I'm not an experienced motorcyclist I need your opinion on a boot topic.
    After graduating from university next year, I plan to buy a motorcycle (probably a kawasaki z900 RS or a Royal Enfield Interceptor 650). Just something that looks like a 70s bike and looks great with a CR jacket, kevlar denim and heavy boots.
    However, I always loved Engineer boots and since I've been told Red Wing will stop producing their Engineer boots, I got myself one of their last ones with steel toes since those were the only ones left.

    So I've been wondering, are steel toe boots a good idea on a motorcycle?
    I don't believe the myth that the steel toe might cut off your toes in a bad crash since if you crash that hard, your toes would be gone anyway.
    But I have read that the steel toe might prevent you from feeling the shifter so changing gears might be harder.
    I know steel toe boots are forbidden on race tracks and there'll be a reason for that.
    But I'm planing on country road cruising only anyway.

    I'd be very grateful if the bikers here could tell me their opinion or give me advice what to look for and what to avoid!
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2020
  2. casechopper

    casechopper My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Northern NJ
    Steel toes aren't really a problem when riding. It's more a question of them not being particularly helpful. The problem with steel toes is that they add a lot of weight to the boots and can make them less comfortable. Steel toes are best used to protect your toes from dropped objects like a hammer, boxes in a warehouse, etc... They don't provide much of the kind of protection you'd want in a motorcycle accident. If you ever break down and have to walk a long distance in steel toed boots you'll probably want to chuck them at the end of the walk.

    All that said, I have a pair of steel toed engineer boots and wear them regularly while riding, they're just not the objective best technical option.
  3. Guppy

    Guppy My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Cleveland, OH
    I personally feel better about my toes being protected by a rigid box around the toes than not when I'm on the bike. The steel toe doesn't shield your entire instep, though. I had a injury when I lowsided in a low speed turn and my foot was under the shift lever. My boot hooked under the lever and put enough force into it that it bent 30 degrees out of true. That force went directly through the top of the boot and into my foot crushing it. I was wearing sturdy steel toe safety boots, and I'm sure they helped some, but my foot was very badly bruised all the same. I was off my feet for 8 weeks and a year before I could say I was fully recovered. Despite that, I feel confident that if I wasn't wearing those boots, I would have been injured worse. I suffered no dislocation and no broken bones. Just a very deep bruise.
  4. MrProper

    MrProper One Too Many

    i used to ride almost exclusively in engineer boots (besides cross boots) I don't know what the problem with that should be.
  5. Psant25

    Psant25 One Too Many

    I have been wearing cowboy boots. I prefer the thinner toe profile for shifting. I have a harley with floor boards. I removed the heel shifter and most my boots have a heel and I did not like lifting my whole leg up trying to shift. All depends on your set up and preferences. I wear some hi top pf flyers on occasion but much prefer a boot.
    Blackadder likes this.
  6. Peacoat

    Peacoat Bartender Bartender

    South of Nashville
    I ride in the Red Wing motorcycle steel toe boots (lace ups). They have given me protection in two separate instances. In the first I was taking a police course. One of the exercises was an 18' key hole to the right. I got just a bit wide and hit the base of the cone. Whap! I was down like a rock. The boot was trapped under the floorboard and the motor skidded a few feet. The instructor was there in a flash and pulled it off of me. Only damage was to the toe of the boot. The leather was scraped all the way down to the steel. No damage to me.

    Another time I was doing a tight circle to the right when the engine "hiccuped." It wasn't completely warmed up. Same thing happened, except I was able to free myself. Again the leather was scraped all the way down to the steel, but without injury to me.

    Because of those two incidents, I am a proponent of steel toes in motorcycle boots.

    When doing tight maneuvers, the boot is actually touching the pavement and is susceptible to getting trapped if the motor goes down, as illustrated below. You can't see it in the photograph but my floorboard as well as the outside of the sole of my boot is touching the pavement.

    Edward, JMax, Herresbach and 3 others like this.
  7. AeroFan_07

    AeroFan_07 My Mail is Forwarded Here

    ^^ Peacoat & Guppy really bring up some very valid points here. The only time I ever dropped a bike was at the MSF Basic Rider Course (yes I know) but I did NOT have on steel toes. I was not injured, but this exact scenario played out in my mind more than once while in this courses.

    A steel toe boot may slightly affect your shifting, but it should not be enough to make much differance. There are a lot of other Engineers out there besides Red Wings, but that's beside the point.

    I am not sure what exists in Germany similar to this, but I highly encoruage you, if you will be a new rider to take the German equivelant of the Motorcycle Safety Fondation Basic Rider Course - it's invaluable and a lot of fun as well. Helps build your confidence and awareness.
    Edward and Herresbach like this.
  8. sweetfights

    sweetfights Call Me a Cab

    Personally, I say no to steel toe. Personal decision. I like the clearance my engineer, non-steel toe, boots provide. Easier to brake and change gears. The last thing I want is to have a delay in changing gears or braking when I REALLY need immediate action. I have been down twice, riding, and the safety factor for me was wearing a solid leather jacket.
    Such a nuanced personal decision. I would never advise for or against in these matters. It really depends on the individual and how they process information and think. On a motorcycle NOTHING trumps awareness!!!! And experienced gained slowly and deliberately.
    Monitor, JMax, Herresbach and 2 others like this.
  9. Herresbach

    Herresbach Familiar Face

    Thanks for your opinions, I'll just have to try whether I feel comfortable riding in steel toe boots or not, I guess.

    @AeroFan_07 surely I'll do that. That's just what I did after I got my drivers license and I actually participate once in a while in basic rider courses since I got my motorcycle license when I was 18 and I don't want to start from scratch when I buy a new motorcycle.
    AeroFan_07 likes this.
  10. chollie

    chollie Familiar Face

    First of all, I ride a RE INT650. It's a great bike, and I've had a few.

    Now on to the boots. I personally don't like the feel of a big bulky toe when shifting. For a new rider, getting a good feel is important. For a newer rider, I think the lack of feel in a big ol pair of boots like that might outweigh the benefits offered by the steel toe.

    The 650 is no speed demon.....keeping it interesting (not to mention keeping up with my friends on much sportier rides) requires me to be very 'busy' in gears 1-4. A lot of high revs/quick shifts/down shifts.

    I guess if you are wanting your bike and your outfit to match then engineer boots are a good call for a bike like that, but I've never found them to be a very practical riding shoe.
  11. Carlos840

    Carlos840 I'll Lock Up

    I have used RW 2268 on my bike and have never felt they were a problem shifting.
  12. Richiefell

    Richiefell New in Town

    My default riding boots are the moc toe redwings or their pecos with wedge sole.. I had a steel toe military boot years ago but I prefer the moc toes the best.
    Psant25 likes this.
  13. Downunder G Man

    Downunder G Man One Too Many

    I don't have any steel caps other than elastic sided slip on Blundstones (work boots). I don't ride in them.
    Compulsory wear in many Australian worksites.

    Instead I have veritable fleet of Lucchese Roper and Western boots that I wear to ride.

    When I get to the café/pub on a run well "I am the coolest cat in that café"...

    That is self deprecating humour my friend. Most folks would say steel caps are OK for motorcycling
    SydneyCollectorGuy likes this.
  14. SydneyCollectorGuy

    SydneyCollectorGuy New in Town

    I get issued the old Taipan lace ups.....
    The only way I'd wear a steel toe on a bike would be if their lace ups.....the "traditional" Aussie Chelsea type workboots would twist if caught at speed
    On my bike I wear White's "smoke jumpers" or my near ancient Hawthorne mule skinners
  15. Herresbach

    Herresbach Familiar Face

    just wanted to keep you guys posted:
    I returned the Red Wings and opted for the Daytona Road Star GTX boots.
    I do trust the quality and sturdiness of the RWs but the design is outdated from todays point of view. There's no protections besides the sturdiness of the leather. There is just no reason the choose a boot from the 50's over a modern one except for the looks imho.
    Thats where the Road Star came into play. It's not as pretty as an engineer but it is on the prettier side of the modern boots. The boot has proven itself over many years, in fact Daytona has the reputation in Europe to build some of the best motorcycle boots available with the Road Star GTX being Daytona's flagship. Since the Daytona boots are handmade in Germany, they don't have to be imported, in contrast to the RWs, which makes both boots cost about the same. However, if you live in the US, they will be much more expensive than the RWs because to you guys it just the other way around.
    So to me deciding between both boots was quite easy. Both look good, they cost about the same but one offers up to date protection and the other doesn't.
    Thank you for your input guys!

    AeroFan_07 and Edward like this.
  16. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    London, UK
    @Herresbach - did you get the bike yet?

    As you've discovered, there's an element of trade off here. Riding gear in general is increasingly available with a classic look, though it's not so easy to find boots as jackets. That said, things are changing...

    The old-style hefty leather boots are plenty rideable in, but - much like an unarmoured leather jacket - while they will (as long as the fit is good, not too loose) be as good as any modern leather boot for the slide, they won't do a whole lot for you in terms of impact protection. Still, there are increasingly more boots around that do conceal modern protection in them. Helstons and TCX have a great range of lace-up (many with side-zip as well for easy on/ off) type boots that meet CE standards. TCX have even had a few models in an engineer boot style.
    Herresbach likes this.
  17. Herresbach

    Herresbach Familiar Face

    @Edward gonna get my Kawasaki Z900RS on wednesday next week but I've been riding my dad's BMW RnineT lately so I did spent some time on the bike.
    All in all I'm quite pleased with the Daytona boots and I do think they suit a retro bike like the Z900RS well.
    No doubt there are prettier boots and they don't come in cheap either but when comes to ankle protection I want to eliminate risks as much as possible. However, since there a dozen of quality motorcycle boot makers I decided to go with a maker with a good reputation that produces domestically. You don't need to ship a boot around the globe if you can buy a quality one locally.
    If I had picked a Moto Guzzi or the Royal Enfield I was originally looking for, I'd have taken another look at engineer styled mc boots since they just look a whole lot better on a classic bike.
    Orignally I started this thread because I always wanted the RW Engineer boots but got wet feet when i actually used them on a bike. Since they weren't as well made as my other RW boots I returned them and never looked back
    Edward likes this.
  18. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    London, UK
    Engineer boots can be a challenge to get "right". I know the Red Wings fit me great, but I've tried several other brands that were too loose on my foot and had I come off a bike wearing them, I'd have feared they would have come off and left my feet at the mercy of the road. Definitely pays to be careful!
  19. TheDonEffect

    TheDonEffect One of the Regulars

    I am a new rider as well, and I ride a RE INT650. I took my MSF wearing my Danner Mountain Lights, not steel toed but the toe box has a similar bulk to it. I didn't like the feel of it, and for new riders like me feel is everything since my muscle memory isn't quite there yet.

    So I tried on several casual looking but motorcycle armored shoes, and at the end of the day I went with some Alpine Star SMX1 perforated that belong on a sport bike. I really wanted an excuse to buy some MocToes, but those large Vibram soles grip, and not slide, and that's ultimately what leads to toe injuries. Sport bike boots have sliders on all areas that is likely to come in contact with the ground while riding, like the toes, sides, and you want them to slide so your foot doesn't get caught.

    The most common foot injury from a crash is the ankles, namely when the bike falls on top of your foot, and since you're straddling the bike, it's most likely to land on the inside side of your foot. The other parts of your foot has the ability to flex and move, but the ankle not so much, So while the other small bones can break, they are likely to heel up fine, but if you crush your ankle, well, that's almost definitely a forever injury of sorts. Hence, race boots have fixed ankle pockets with a ton of support.

    Of course, as mentioned in this thread, this is not all encompassing, but I figure I look at what track riding requires, see what the MSF recommends, piece it together, read the why behind it, and buy a shoe that sorta does as much of that. Like, alot of people ride with just leather jackets on with no armor and walk away from crashes... but I plan to keep wearing CE2 armor.

    Eventually I do plan to get something more incognito, but honestly theyre so damn comfortable while riding I'm in no rush to upgrade. And in the end, the best gear is gear you wear and don't think about it, and these boots are definitely that. I'm not worried about laces getting caught or undone, I can feel the shifter, super easy to take on and off with the zipper side, theyre perf so it breathes well (which was an unintended benefit riding an air/oil cooled bike), I mean I love the things. Feels like wearing football high top cleats with taped up ankles though while walking around though, lol, but they disappear while riding.

    Another thing to consider, the shifter pad while trivial is actually a nice thing to have, creates less foot fatigue having reinforced panels at the points where I'm shifting. So it's just me bending my ankle and not having to flex my foot so it's rigid. It's like try driving a car barefoot and you realize how much the soles of your shoes take up much of the work. It's not as dramatic on a bike, but when youre on the saddle for a while, dehydrated, with all the millions of things going on in your head, thats one less thing thats sending any sort of discomfort. Like I said, I have a ton of protection and I dont notice wearing them while riding. Whereas my Danners, man, the weight of having to flex my foot to shift and such, yeah created some fatigue, granted it was a 8 hour MSF course.

    Nice bike choice man! I thought about getting that bike as well, but the RE just floored me, I love the simple aesthetic of it, and it was exactly what I wanted, and so easy to customize too. Love it to pieces, and astonished how much attention it gets too. Can't beat it for the price.
    Herresbach likes this.

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