Cowboy boots and the classic "engineer" boot address the style issue, but offer no reinforced shift area or crash armor. Plus, they leak like a sieve when it rains.
I've always kept an eye peeled for a pair of classic-looking motorcycle boots with modern, rider-friendly features and was pleased when I found these Classic Cruiserboots that look like a slightly toned-down version of my beloved Harley Engineers. They more than meet my criteria for the ultimate every day riding boot and even address some problems I didn't even know existed.
The boot is constructed of premium, full-grain leather that has been impregnated with a breathable waterproofing agent (versus a Gore-Tex type inner liner). The "V-Grip" sole, meanwhile, is polyurethane sealed to the upper instead of the more common stitching. Inside the boot is a "Dri-Lex 2-Zone Comfort Lining," a "Poliyou" air insole, a shock-absorbing footbed, a military-spec styrene toe guard and ballistic ankle armor.
All this proprietary technology is useless unless it means something in practical terms. In regards to Cruiserboots, this means they're designed to keep rain out, let perspiration escape, kill odor-causing bacteria and mildew, provide walking comfort and offer improved grip on slippery pavement... all while providing additional protection should you lay your bike down.
While I don't intend to lay my bike down and don't believe I have a problem with smelly feet, I can safely say the boots easily live up to their claims.
I received my pair via UPS (Cruiserworks only sells direct), put them on, hopped on my bike and headed out for a normal work day. From that point, I pretty much forgot I was wearing them which serves as testament to their comfort.
Maneuvering through oddly-angled parking spaces, however, I did notice slightly-improved traction compared to most of my other boots. I'm not claiming some grandiose, miraculous difference here, but Cruiserworks' efforts to increase surface contact and stiction seem to have paid off. I also noticed the toe box provided additional leverage for improved upshifts (my Harley boots, by comparison, require a swift upward kick). I didn't encounter rain, however, forcing me to devise a highly technical and scientific -- if not amusing -- experiment. For me, this meant filling the bathtub with ankle-deep water and sloshing around for a few minutes.
The boots proved absolutely leak free. The waterproof leather was most impressive. The water beaded off, leaving them absolutely dry within seconds of leaving the tub. And if all these positive attributes weren't good enough, Cruiserworks backs their products with excellent customer service.
North Carolina residents Allen and Beth Veach, longtime riders themselves, started the company due to their own frustrating search for stylish and functional motorcycle boots. After talking to dozens of manufacturers, they settled on a Canadian hunting boot manufacturer that boasted only four pairs per year (out of 250,000) returned for waterproof failure. From there, they worked directly with the company to develop motorcycle boots to their specs and personal taste.
Cruiserworks is more than happy to help you determine the correct size before shipping them out to you. For myself, a medium proved too narrow (due to a slightly pointed toe) so I shipped them back and they shipped me a wide which fit fine. My only complaint about the boots is the toned-down style. I can't tell if it's the flatter heel or the slightly-pointed toe, but they don't have the attitude that my Harley boots do. But customer feedback shows I'm in the vast minority. Many riders asked for an even more understated look suitable for wear to the office so Cruiserworks responded with a boot which lacks buckles.
A slimed-down Lady Rider is also new on the market as are Cruiserworks' CoolMax socks. The socks are available for both men and women and are intended to maximize the effectiveness of the Dri-Lex lining in the boots.
"I hate the thought of our product sitting in the back of a closet unused," Veach said. No danger here since these are my new favorite riding boots. I give them a four-and-a-half only because of the mellow attitude.
Motorcycle Online Rating:**** 1/2
Cruiserboots are available only direct through Cruiserworks. Call (800) 955-1187 for more information. List price for the three models range from $179 - $209 US dollars.