Motocross history is filled with examples of creative ideas that were heralded as groundbreaking, but, because of the rapid rate of change in development, sank into the swamp of forgotten technology. Although some ideas are best left abandoned, others were truly innovative (if not ultimately successful). MXA loves to reveal motocross’ tech trivia. Do you remember this idea? The 1979–1982 plastic boot craze.
Before hinged plastic boots or the modern plastic-clad hinged boot came into being there was the 1974 Swiss-made Heckel boot, but it didn’t find mass appeal. It wasn’t until the hard-plastic 1979 Scott boots were introduced that a plastic boot became an instant success. Although it only lasted for three years, it spawned a quartet of plastic boot copies. Well, not copies exactly, because they were molded from pliable polyurethane plastic, which was easier to mold, cheaper to make and offered the give that the Scott boots lacked.
The four new plastic boots were introduced almost simultaneously in 1979–82. The M.Robert Ro-Boot, Vendramini boots, MXL boots and Nava Moto-Flex boots looked a lot like the modern composite material boots of today—only simpler, cheaper and lighter. They featured wraparound uppers, hinged ankle movement, inner booties and some even had replaceable sole inserts to ward off footpeg wear. Prices varied from the M. Robert’s $109 to the Nava’s $169 price, but they all faded from the motocross scene by 1985. It wasn’t until the mid 2000s, when the Scott Genius boots and Jett J-1 arrived, that plastic boots made a comeback, but they, too, disappeared in a short time.