Classic Biker Boots: “Engineer” or “Harness” Style for You?

February 10, 2009 by: MCg

Classic Motorcycle Boots

Classic Motorcycle Boots

The choice and variety of motorcycle boots seems to expand every year.

And yet, one type of foot and ankle protection has been steadfastly relied upon by bikers around the world: CLASSIC MOTORCYCLE BOOTS.

Arguably, the two most classic, quintessential bikers boots are “Engineer” boots and “Harness” boots.

Classic Biker Engineer Boots

Engineer boots are black. If you see a multi-colored boot, it’s a very good bet they are NOT an engineer boot for bikers. (Having said that, I imagine someone is going to break that tradition….)

Engineer boots are typically constructed of heavy-weight leather (sometimes double layered with leather for stiffness) and feature a rounded toe. Most often these boots are at least 10 inches in height, but can be considerably taller. A number of models include a steel toe (under the leather) and may have a metal shank in the sole.

A defining feature of engineer boots are their adjustable leather straps across the ankles and at the top of the shaft, which are adjustable to refine their fit.

Engineer boots may have derived their name from use by land surveyors in the mid twentieth century (although they were used by shipbuilders going back to the 30’s).

Classic Biker Harness Boots

“Harness Boots” are somewhat similar to engineer boots and represent another classic motorbike style. Although they are different enough from each other to offer a clear distinction, sometimes you may hear a person incorrectly refer to a harness boot as an engineer boot.

Harness boots are usually about the same height as engineer boots, and although they, too, are available in black, brown harness boots are not uncommon.

Harness boots usually feature a square toe (unlike the rounded toe of the engineer boot). A defining feature of harness boots are their non-adjustable leather straps that attach to metal rings on both sides of the boots near the ankle region.

Harness boots were originally modeled on the square-toed boots prevalent in the 19th century, including those worn by American Civil War soldiers (although the leather straps and rings were added later in the 1960’s).

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One Response to “Classic Biker Boots: “Engineer” or “Harness” Style for You?”
  1. geo says:

    Some advertisers even mix and match the names harness boots and engineer boots, describing one as teh other

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