|A shifter pad, also known as a toe guard or shift guard is an added patch of leather that is applied to the top of the foot of the left boot. It provides added protection for operation of a foot-controlled motorcycle gearshift. The shifter pad is large enough to cover the space that the gear shift may strike the boot. This is usually when shifting into second and higher gears, as most motorcycles have a “down-for-first, up-for-the-rest” shifting pattern. When shifting to higher gears, a motorcyclist places the foot of his left boot under the shifter and lifts it while simultaneously engaging the clutch which is operated by a lever within reach of his left hand.|
Shifter pads are usually only applied to a left boot, but some boots may have pads on both boots just for appearance, but for no practical purpose. Generally speaking, shifter pads do not necessarily add more life to a boot, but may minimize wear in a frequently-used area.
Large, touring-class motorcycles have a heel-toe shift, meaning one presses down with his front left toes to go into first, and then uses the heel of his boot to press down on a heel shifter which actually applies an upward motion to the gear shift so the transmission will shift into higher gears. A heel-toe shift is easier to operate, more reliable, and does not cause wear on the upper foot surface of a boot.