It’s all fun and games riding around in your Chuck Taylors until Old Granddad turns left across your bow. Sometimes, even if you’re the best braker out there, you wind up layin’ `er down – and if you lay her, or him, down on top of your ankle, well, then you might suddenly and painfully appreciate what a wondrous and complex organism the human body is; things like ankles and wrists and knees, once mangled, take a lot to put back together again. Good boots aren’t always going to save your underpinnings, but motorcyclists who’ve been around the block a few times like our chances much, much better with some serious soles and ankle protection – and a little (or a lot) of protection over the easily-injured tibia is never a bad idea either. Let us scratch the surface, shall we?
Any hefty boot is way better than none at all; our friend Peter Jones can’t leave the Fluevogs (lead photo) alone, even though they’re not really motorcycle-specific.
Your classic engineer boots were once typically reserved for cruiser riders, but feel free to break down the boundaries. These are cool on any bike. These TCX numbers use full grain leather uppers backed with a full waterproof lining, and contain protective medial and lateral malleolus discs (armor for your inner and outer ankle bones), supportive, protective toe and heel counters, and grippy lug soles.
They’re called Daytona but these are produced in Bavaria. They’re pricey (these Burdits are cheaper than other Daytonas), but people who own Daytona boots swear by them, for comfort and safety. These have a Gore-Tex lining for waterproofness, but are also supposed to be extremely breathable and a great warm-weather boot. Also ankle protection on both sides, special open-cell special padding, an anatomically formed climatic insole, hot-dip galvanized steel inlay, 3M-Scotchlite reflectors all atop a soft rubber sport grip sole.
Then again, you sort of can have your Chuck Taylors and a reasonable amount of protection too. These are made from soft, full grain top quality cowhide subjected to special treatment and a hand finishing process to make every pair unique. They’re also CE Category II-certified, with rigid heel inserts, rigid ankle inserts and reinforced insoles. There’s even a waterproof, breathable D-WP membrane for when you get caught out in the rain.
Everybody loves their Sidi Canyon off-roadish boots, and these All Roads are pretty much the street-going equivalent. Sidi says their rugged yet compact design is perfect for nearly any type of riding, offering comfort and protection via heel, ankle and toe protection – and a padded shin protector as well. Technomicro and Cordura meet bonded lug soles, and there’s a genuine Gore-Tex liner to keep you dry.
Looking like a rugged tradesperson while you man the cubicle is tres haute. These have reinforced heels and toes, anatomically shaped foot beds and ankle cups, and gusseted tongues. Outside, you’ll find water-resistant tanned Apache batido cowhide (!) and a 100% rubber wedge sole. Great for riding your motorcycle or starring in a home-fixup show.
Whatever your relationship is with Harley-Davidson, you’re missing out if you don’t give their catalog a scan when you need new shoes. These FXRGs, made for H-D by Wolverine, are one of probably hundreds for women and men H-D offers. These feature a lightweight flexible polyurethane midsole with rubber street side and a breathable Hydro-Guard waterproof membrane, along with 3M Thinsulate for warmth. Goodyear welt construction is said to be the most durable method for bonding sole to boot, and heel height is 1.5-inches for stomping as needed.
I’m going to rule that as long as they’re the Adventure Low, these are perfectly presentable as pure street boots too. Forma says these are “of lightweight construction,” but they’re packed with internal moulded plastic ankle protection, a steel shank in the midsole and CE certification. The uppers are full-grain oiled leather, there’s a breathable waterproof lining inside along with the soft polymer memory foam padding – all atop a grippy double-density antislip rubber sole.
From the land of sky blue waters, wait, that’s Hamm’s Beer. From Portland, where it rains all the time, come these supposed-to-be 100% waterproof full-grain leather jobs, complete with rear-entry waterproof zippers. D3O inserts provide ankle protection, there’s good padding for your tibias too, and non-skid rubber soles to keep you upright in any downpour.
The ever-fashionable Gabe ets-Hokin turned us onto Gasolina’s wares, hecho en Mexico in a small mountain town by hand and to order. The Classics are constructed of high-quality top grain 1.8 – 2mm leather, and lined in more glove-soft hide. Vat dying means the color permeates the leather to resist scuffs and wear. A soft leather flap runs the entire length of the zipper, blocking wind and protecting your socks, pants, and skin. Solid natural rubber soles are said to provide excellent grip and durability, along with great walkability. Goodyear welt construction means these can be re-soled as needed.
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