7 Tips For Healthy & Happy Moto Feet
Adventure and dirt bike riders can put their feet through hell.
We cram our bones covered in soft flesh into plastic and leather boots and stand on them for hours at a time, smash them into rocks, get them stuck under heavy metal objects, soak them in stinky mud holes and let them bake next to a big hunk of metal that warms up to over 100 degrees celsius.
Sounds like the perfect breeding ground for all sorts of funky foot infection! And it is!
On a recent recce ride down in Tasmania I spent 7 days on the trails in some pretty cold and at times damp conditions. When I came back home my left foot flared up with red itchy toes which my self diagnosis was “athletes foot” or tinea pedis. Dr Google even backed me up on my self diagnosis!
How can you avoid “funky foot” when adventure riding?
Now I’m no podiatrist or doctor but there are a few things you can do to prevent “moto foot”, or the more technically termed tinea pedis, from taking hold in the first place.
Here are Maschine’s 7 Tips For Healthy Moto Feet:
1. Wear waterproof boots or socks.
Your first line of defence should be to consider stopping your feet from getting wet in the first place. There are many waterproof adventure boots out there on the market but make sure the boots still have good ankle protection. Trudi has been wearing Alpinestars Toucan Gore-Tex boots for the past few years and has been super happy with them so check them out. The Toucan boots have good ankle protection so you are not sacrificing on safety to keep your feet dry.
We have seen more fractured ankles in the past few years than we care to so please don’t buy “adventure” boots just because they are “comfortable to walk in”! Buy for protection first. Gumboots with no ankle protection don’t cut it!
Look for an Aussie retailer of Alpinestars here: Monza Imports
An alternative may be to wear waterproof socks. You didn’t even know they existed? Check these out: Sealskinz Socks
We haven’t tried these waterproof socks but they could be a good option for around $50.
One thing to bear in mind is that with waterproof boots or socks they will only keep your feet dry up until the point of water reaching the high point of the gaiter in your boots (or top of your socks) then you are going to be wearing a pair of water logged buckets on your feet that will stay wet for the rest of the day. In some conditions (think hot northern Australia) you may be better off having non-waterproof boots that will at least disperse some water before your next big river crossing.
2. Dry your boots out each night.
This is vital! Your feet & boots will generally handle one wet day pretty well but back it up with another wet one and another and funky things start to happen down there! It can be hard when you are on road to dry your gear properly each night. Particularly if you are camping!
One of the most effective ways of doing this is stuffing your boots full of newspaper. It helps to remove any booties or insoles from the boots first, hang them upside down for a while to drain excess water out, stand them back up and make sure the newspaper is jammed in tight right up the top of your boots, stand them in front of a heater (not too close!) or put them outside in a breeze. Ideally you need to change out the newspaper once or twice and if you can do that you should have pretty much dry boots in the morning. If you are camping then best bet is to stick your boots over the mirror stems on your bike (or carefully place them near the campfire) and hang your socks off the handlebars to let them air dry.
If you are looking for the “deluxe at home” drying method then you need a “Koganator” as pictured. A good mate of mine and all of his family do a lot of enduro riding in Victoria and they are generally out a few times a week so they needed an effective method of drying their boots day after day. This simple construction of PVC pipe with hairdryer attached is super effective at drying at your damp boots once you place your boots upside down over the tubes and flick the switch.
Check out this link to make one for yourself! REI: DIY Boot Dryer
3. Dry your feet out.
Make sure your feet dry out each night as best you can. Wearing thongs (jandals, sandals or go commando!) may or may not be the height of fashion but they do let your feet breath and dry out. Whack a bit of talcum powder on to get your feet smelling like rose petals again!
4. Wear fresh socks each day.
Even if your boots don’t dry out completely overnight, putting dry socks on the next morning will help big time. If I’m on a multi day ride I will generally try and carry enough pairs of socks with me to have freshies each day. If I can’t achieve that then I will wash and dry them out as best I can each night in a sink and let them dry out the next day. A couple of tricks for drying socks include: lay them out on a hotel towel, roll the towel up and then twist it like you are going to whack your room buddy with it. This gets the bulk of the moisture out. The next day, I put the socks in the outer pocket of my Camelbak or tie them around the straps of my rear bag/panniers so they get maximum airflow to continue drying.
5. Wash those boots properly!
Once you get home don’t just throw your boots in the garage or gear bag waiting for your next adventure. Give your boots and socks a proper rub-a-dub-dub. To clean my boots I use warm to hot water with some clothes washing liquid detergent in a sink and give them a good old scrub and rinse through. Throwing your socks in with the rest of your moto gear should be enough to clean them but if they are really rank throw them in the washing machine by themselves and perhaps your riding jocks (or just burn those!) on a nice hot wash cycle. Once you’ve done this follow the steps above to dry them out properly before packing them away.
6. Disinfect your boots.
Once your boots are dry, try using a bit of Glen 20 disinfectant spray in your boots to keep the greeblies in check. Not only will it help to keep things from growing it should make them smell a bit less offensive to boot (pun intended!). There are many other disinfectant sprays and we offer no warranty as to the reliability of doing this so if you boots melt or disintegrate as a result of using this method so don’t come crying to us!
7. Disinfect your feet.
If jungle rot does set in even after you’ve done all of the above then it’s time for medical intervention. Head to the chemist and ask for treatments for athletes foot. They come in either spray or cream form that you apply for a week or so to kill off the feet demons. Be aware that these greeblies can be infectious too so you wouldn’t be a good house mate if you share it around when you get home!
There you go. Funky feet are gross so follow these tips so you never have to get to know a podiatrist on a first name basis!