Very similar to engineer boots, harness boots are a type of motorcycle boot usually worn by motorcycle riders. The boots are most often made of heavy weight leather and range in height from short (10") to extra high (38"). The most typical height is between 10 and 18 inches. The most common color is black, but brown harness boots are also made.
Harness boots are designed to protect the motorcycle rider from the heat of the exhaust pipes and the engine block and from injury to the foot and leg in the case of an accident while riding and may include a built-in steel toe cap and metal shank in the heel. Whereas engineer boots have a rounded toe, harness boots typically have a square toe. Unlike engineer boots that have an adjustable leather strap across the ankle, harness boots have a non-adjustable system of four leather straps and two metal rings: one strap goes across the top of the foot at the ankle, one strap wraps around the rear of the foot at the ankle and two more straps rise from sole on either side ankle. The four straps are held in place by the two metal rings that are located on either side of the ankle. Typically, these boots possess a pair of pull-straps on either side of the tops of the shafts. Some manufacturers replace these straps with an adjustable leather strap located on the outside top of the shafts, similar to engineer boots. Soles and heels are usually made of hard rubber and may either be relatively flat or may have lugs for increased traction.
Harness boots were originally modeled on the square toed boots prevalent in the 19th century, including those worn by American Civil War soldiers. Leather straps and rings were added to this style in the 1960’s, creating the modern version of the harness boot, which quickly became a classic. Harness boots are popular among riders of Harley-Davidson motorcycles, among members of the heavy metal scene, and in the leather subculture.