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Revision of standard for motorcyclists’ boots

Reporting on recent changes.

by Peter Doughty

Image © Justin Allfree

Riders of motorcycles are highly vulnerable to injury in an accident, so it is particularly important for them to wear a helmet, protective clothing and footwear that are designed to prevent or reduce the severity of any resulting injuries.

Aside from motorcycle helmets (which are covered by separate regulations) and products for leisure use that only protect against non-extreme weather conditions, all other protective wear for motorcyclists intended for the European market should be assessed against the requirements of the new regulation covering personal protective equipment (PPE) – see the article ‘New European PPE Regulation (EU) 2016/425’.

SATRA is a leading Notified Body for certifying PPE intended for supply within Europe, and has been influential in developing test methods and safety standards for many types of PPE – including motorcycle clothing and footwear. These regulations require protective motorcycle boot manufacturers to work with a Notified Body on a ‘type-examination’ process. This involves product testing, usually to a European standard, and a review of the manufacturer’s associated technical documentation.

Harmonised standard

The preferred method of supporting a type-examination is to use a harmonised European standard to satisfy the health and safety requirements of the PPE Regulation. A harmonised standard carries a presumption of conformity for the relevant parts of the health and safety requirements of the legislation, which are then detailed in Annex ZA of that standard. Hence, if a product passes the tests detailed in that standard, it is assumed to comply with these particular requirements of the PPE Regulation.

This first European standard for motorcyclists protective footwear was published by the Comité Européen de Normalisation (CEN) in 2002 as EN 13634:2002 – ‘Protective footwear for professional motorcycle riders – Requirements and test methods’. The scope of this standard only included professional riders who use a motorcycle as part of their occupation (such as couriers or paramedics). It included assessment of the general design characteristics of the footwear plus whole boot and material performance properties.

First revision published in 2010

A first revision was published in 2010. The main differences between the 2002 and 2010 versions were to bring the standard into line with changes in other safety footwear tests that had happened during the intervening years. The standard’s title and scope were also changed by removing reference to ‘professional’ – thereby covering footwear for all riders, including private users. Other amendments included the addition of a slip resistance test, a second level in the transverse rigidity requirements and a change in the procedure for assessing cut resistance of the upper material to an impact-based machine. Improvements were also made to the definitions to clarify areas where there had been some confusion with interpretation. In addition, the minimum height of the upper was linked to the size of the footwear.

Second revision in 2015

Following the 2010 revision, user feedback was received which helped to shape the revised standard. This addressed a design restrictive requirement relating to seam construction. A reduction was also made in the minimum upper height to allow lower boot designs to comply with the standard, and some of the requirements for insocks and insoles were made optional.


Figure 1: Pictogram to be marked on footwear complying with EN 13634

Third revision in 2017

More recently, the standard has been revised to address comments raised by CEN. There were no fundamental changes to the main test principles, but a series of minor changes were adopted. Firstly, a previous link between upper height and test performance was removed, with upper height now being a separate property and included in the marking code (see figure 1 and box 1). Secondly, the sampling requirements for some of the tests were clarified and an informative annex in the 2015 version about uncertainty of measurement principles was removed.

Box 1: Markings to be used in conjunction with pictogram shown in figure 1
'a' – Height of upper 'b' – Performance level achieved in abrasion resistance 'c' – Performance level achieved in impact cut resistance 'd' – Performance level achieved in transverse rigidity
Marking codes for optional requirements to be met and claimed are as below, and should follow 'd':
'IPA' – Footwear meeting the requirements for ankle impact protection 'IPS' – Footwear meeting the requirements for shin impact protection 'WR' – Footwear meeting the requirements for resistance to water penetration 'FO' – Footwear meeting the requirements for resistance to fuel oil
'WAD' – Footwear meeting the requirements for water absorption/desorption on the insole/insock 'B' – Footwear meeting the requirements for upper permeability to water vapour 'SRA', 'SRB' or 'SRC' – Footwear meeting the requirements for slip resistance  

How can we help?

Please email for assistance with the testing of motorcyclists’ footwear.

Publishing Data

This article was originally published on page 38 of the April 2018 issue of SATRA Bulletin.

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