Riding motorcycles in the Southwestern summer almost guarantees heat and lots of it. Although cooler options for riding gear that still provide decent protection abound, boots are one area that is typically difficult to offer a high level of protection while still providing a measure of venting that feels like more than just an item that was checked off of a manufacturer’s feature sheet. I’ve tried all measures of vented boots with any number of air intake and exit modes. Visually, my favorites still involve ram-air scoop intakes or flashy heel exhaust ports. However, no boot I’ve tested has offered the degree of cooling provided by the Dainese Torque RS Out Air boots.
Although the Torque RS boots are listed as roadracing boots, I’ve been wearing them as ever-day, around-town boots, sport-riding and sport-touring boots. They’ll be on my hooves next month for a track day as we test bikes for an upcoming shootout. Clearly, I like these boots, but what makes the Torque RS so good?
First and foremost, boots are supposed to protect a rider from the many kinds of forces that can be directed towards their feet in a mishap. To that end, Dainese utilized its jointed D-Axial system. The rigid structure of the D-Axial system helps a rider’s foot three ways in a crash. Twisting forces are limited by the hard structure of the system. The force of the impact is blunted by spreading out over a larger area, much like a helmet’s hard shell. Finally, a hard exterior also minimizes the possibility of foreign objects penetrating our delicate dermis.
Fore and aft shin guards are made of TPU (that’s thermoplastic polyurethane to scientist types), just like the D-Axial system. A nifty feature of the rear shin guard is that it also acts as an integrated shoehorn, easing entry into this narrow-ankled boot. Immediately below the zippered rear boot entry is a padded heel that is covered with stainless steel to prevent wear and promote sliding rather than gripping in a tumble.
Aside from the safety features, the Torque RS has amenities that make this a premium boot. You get replaceable stainless toe sliders that are much more durable than plastic ones. The grippy sole is the right combination of stiff (for accident protection) and flexible (to allow easy movement on the pegs).
The speed lacing system lets you decide how snug you want the liner against your ankles. This feature is particularly important to me, as I need to buy boots a size large in the toe box to accommodate toe spread when walking or putting weight on my running-damaged feet. In most boots, I have to accept ankle slop to get the additional size around the balls of my feet. The speed lacing system lets me keep my ankles in the proper place in the boot while keeping my Morton’s Neuroma happy.
Lastly, the venting system provides fabulous comfort levels on a sweltering day. The perforations cover the center third of the boots’ upper and a large portion of the rear, allowing air to flow directly across your foot. If you put the boots on and immediately go for a ride, you may not notice the cooling effect, but it’s there. Sweat a little in your socks, and as soon as you get up to speed, you’ll notice a sensation similar to having tiny air-conditioners built in to your boot. The double jersey air gap liner lets the flow of air surround your foot to the point that you can feel the cooling down to your heel and up your shin.
About the only criticism I can offer of the Torque RS Air boots is that they’re not the greatest for spending a ton of time walking in. The stiffness that protects your feet in a crash means that they feel a little board-like after a few hours of standing/walking. Another small problem that affects almost all boots with this type of rigid exterior skeleton is the dreaded squeak while walking. Your riding buddies will know your boots mean business. The other folks in the produce aisle will look at you funny. If that’s the price we have to pay for protection, so be it.
The Dainese Torque RS Out Air is available in Euro-sizes 40–46 in Black/Carbon/Anthracite for an MSRP of $389.95. These boots are made for wearing outside of your leathers (hence the Out in the name) but can be tucked under jeans (unless they are of the skinny variety). For more information, visit the Dainese website.