Motorcycle Clothing for Everyday Use
Motorcycle clothing is no fashion statement; it serves an important function: It must be protective. If we choose taste over effectiveness, we are endangering ourselves. However, protective gear is typically bulky, stiff, and not fit for day-to-day use. If we don’t want to haul a change of clothes and shoes everywhere we ride, we’ll have to find a compromise – one that is both protective and fit for everyday use. Does this kind of motorcycle clothing exist?
The Problem with Motorcycle Gear for Everyday Use
If your bike is a regular means of transportation and not just a vehicle for long getaway trips, chances are you want to use it to drive somewhere, park it, and run an errand. A typical example is using the motorcycle for commutes. There aren’t many cases when wearing a set of motorcycle gear is appropriate for the business environment.
A regular working-joe has some options:
- He can wear the motorcycle clothes over his regular clothes and take them off/put them on for the ride
- He can wear motorcycle clothing that is close enough to streetwear to be comfortable during the day
- He can pack/store a change of clothes at the destination and go change after arriving/before leaving
Any of these options will be a hassle one way or another. You might have to sacrifice some comfort or protection.
Motorcycle Boots – The Problem Exemplified
Motorcycle footwear is a great example to illustrate the problem:
If we think logically, we will pick the motorcycle shoes that protect us the best. Those are typically stiff boots that cover the ankle and/or entire shin. Next to the reinforced toe and heel boxes, they have a plastic exoskeleton. All in all, the shoe is stabilizing your foot and ankle well enough, that it cannot twist or break as easily while holding your leg in the ideal motorcycle riding position.
With a boot as stiff and high, you might as well be walking around with a cast. Shoes that won’t allow for bending are not ideal to walk around in. The best protection and everyday use are not compatible in this case.
Some options offer (close to) the best of both worlds: enough protection but everyday usability. When you buy motorcycle footwear by Chromeburner, for example, you can use the filter system to find sneaker or boot-style motorcycle shoes. They are high and tough enough to offer stability and protection to your ankles, heels, and toes, and still provide the functionality of a regular shoe.
Compromises that Work
One is the use of motorcycle jumpsuits, the other, gear made from modern materials.
Generally, motorcycle gear is made from abrasion-resistant materials, like leather, to avoid road rash, smaller cuts, and penetrations. Additionally, there are insulation layers to protect you from wind and weather. On top of that, reinforcements made from double layers, padding, or plating, protect the vulnerable parts of your body: shoulders, back, elbows, hips, legs, and knees.
They are important to keep you safe and comfortable and should never be omitted.
Another tip: You can save a lot of money when buying used bikes and used protective clothing. But make sure the seams still hold and replace the armor plating. Helmets should never be bought used since you can never guarantee whether it has been in an accident. All helmets should be replaced regularly, experts advise every five years and after every accident.
“Casual” motorcycle gear is made to look like regular clothing. The most popular are motorcycle jeans. When you come across items like these, it is essential to check which protection they offer. Typically, they are made from a mix of denim and synthetic fibers, like Kevlar. They are woven together to create a material that looks like jeans but is much tougher. However, you should not rely on the abrasion-resistant material itself. The jeans should still have some kind of armor plating around the knees, legs, and hips.
Be careful not to jump into the trap of “casual” motorcycle clothing that is banking on the look of motorcycle gear but offers little to no protection.
Jumpsuits are a great alternative. They are typically built the same way separate motorcycle jackets and pants are. They are made from abrasion-resistant materials, have armor plating, and are insulated and often waterproof. While they might be a bit too light to be worn by themselves, they are great on top of everyday clothes. Instead of putting on separate protective items, you just hop in the suit and zip it up.
Motorcycle clothing that is more appropriate for everyday use exists. However, you should never sacrifice protection for the sake of your comfort.
There is some wiggle room between heavy-duty motorcycle gear and casual motorcycle clothing. If you want to wear street-style gear, make sure it still offers the necessary protective qualities.
A better solution is typically a jumpsuit. This way, you still have access to your entire wardrobe and can quickly put on a suit of protective gear. The one downside is having to store the suit between rides.
If you don’t want to change and carry multiple shoes, pick solid sneaker or boot-style motorcycle footwear that is comfortable enough but still protective.