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How to Shift with Dirt Bike Boots: Trouble Shifting with Boots Solved

How to Shift with Dirt Bike Boots: Trouble Shifting with Boots Solved

Shifting your dirt bike takes some training, but it is easy to do once you get the hang of it, provided nothing inhibits your access to the shifter. However, even the best dirt bike boots can get in the way without the proper precautions. Fortunately, some workarounds will let you shift gears even while wearing the boots.

Generally, you shift your dirt bike while wearing boots by first breaking in your boots, then following the usual instructions for shifting your brand of bike. This procedure should work for all brands and models of dirt bikes and boots. Though, you might have to modify it to fit the specific needs of your equipment.

The key to the entire procedure is properly breaking in your boots. An improper fit can lead you to make mistakes that could potentially break your bike. Therefore, by reading further, you will learn how to properly prepare your boots so you can ride your dirt bike in style.

Shifting Gears While Wearing Dirt Bike Boots

Manually shifting gears is not the easiest part of riding a dirt bike. People do it for the thrill and performance that lets them rip through the woods. Luckily, it becomes second nature once you get the hang of it, making it as simple as “riding a bike”.

While the details can vary between different brands and models, all dirt bikes require the same easy-o-understand steps. These steps derive from the different but essential functions of your bike’s clutch and shift petal.

With that said, the general procedure for shifting up goes as the following:

  1. Squeeze and hold the clutch level on the left side of the handle
  2. Step on the shift or left-side pedal
  3. Give the bike some gas
  4. Release the clutch

You repeat these steps for each gear. To shift down, you repeat the steps without holding the clutch.

Unless you are riding an automatic dirt bike, you must repeat these steps multiple times over your ride. As such, most experts recommend keeping your foot on the shift pedal at all times for smoother shifting and to maintain your balance.

Here’s a video where someone adjusted the shift pedal to make shifting with boots easier:

You can find Dirt Bike and Motocross Boots Here on Amazon from the most popular manufacturers that have great reviews and can be easily broken in.

How do You Ride in MX Boots?

Because you must constantly move your foot, most riders prefer wearing motocross (MX) boots while riding their dirt bikes. These boots reduce the risks of injuries caused by getting your feet stuck under the bike or from the constant motion of the pedals, especially at high speeds.

While these safety concerns are real and important considerations, MX boots also have a downside. They can make pressing the shift pedal difficult which can lead to irreparable damage to your bike and foot without the proper precautions.

The main problem with most dirt bike books is their general stiffness when new. They do not bend enough to maintain proper control of the bike’s pedals. Luckily, you can soften your boots enough to function properly by breaking them in.

How Do I Soften My Dirt Bike Boots?

Buying a new fresh pair of MX boots is like buying a new helmet. They may feel and look great, but they can be rough and tight to use. You can offset the problem by buying pre-soften boots.

These boots should work right away, letting you ride with ease and comfort, but finding them may cost more than you can budget.

You can find Dirt Bike and Motocross Boots Here on Amazon from the most popular manufacturers that have great reviews and can be easily broken in.

A more cost-effective solution would be is to just find boots that fit your foot size. You can then break them in to properly fit them to your feet. The process would also soften them up, making them suitable for riding.

With that said, there are several ways you can break in your new boots:

  • Wear them and crouch
  • Heat them up
  • Bend them with your hands
  • Ride and use them a lot
  • Walk around in them all-day

Please note that your boots must remain stiff enough to protect your feet even after you break them in. That is because you rarely land perfectly flat on your feet after falling off your bike. You need stiffness to prevent your feet from buckling and breaking under the pressure.

Breaking in Your Boots Before You Ride

The easiest and most reliable way to break in your new first bike boots is to simply wear them and ride. However, the process can take several hours before the boots become somewhat comfortable. As such, it might not be the safest method either.

Therefore, you will want to break them in before you head for the trails or the track. It requires working the boots at the ankles until they bend naturally.

Using Your Hands

Bending the boots with your hands is a good place to start. It is as simple as grabbing the top and bottom of each boot and flexing the shin back and forth towards the toes. It should take a few minutes for the leather to loosen up.

Using Your Feet

Once the leather lessons put the boots on your feet and buckle up. After that, you should stand up and crouch down to bend your needs. From there, you just repeat the above steps by rocking your ankles back and forth.

Other Things You Could Try

The above two steps should work in most cases. The process will take a few minutes, but the boots should be flexible enough to ride your bike. It may take an additional half-hour of riding until the boot fully molds to your feet but you should be able to ride in full comfort. 

However, if your boots are unusually stubborn, you could try heating them in your oven, soaking them in water, or walking around in them for a day. You can even stick the toe under the shift pedal while riding your bike and lift the boot up.

In the end, the best method for breaking in your new dirt bike boots is the method that works best for you. It may take a lot of time, but the effort will be worth it in the end.


A good pair of dirt bike boots are crucial to keeping your feet safe while riding, but they can make shifting gears challenging. Fortunately, you can fix the problem just by breaking in the boots before you do any serious riding in them.

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