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Posts Tagged ‘Boots’

The dual-sport, or dual-purpose motorcycles have become very popular since BMW came out of the famous GS motorcycle. Many manufacturers have tried to take a stab at the GS crown, some with success, some less so. But whatever brand motorcycle you ride on and off road, you will need to think about your feet.

If you do ride your dual-purpose bike on the streets and the trails, you’d better think about a good sturdy boot to protect your feet when riding off-road. But you also need to think about walking in those boots, since often we go for walks when we’ve arrived at our destination on our dual-purpose motorcycles.

Gaerne Balance Oiled Boots

Gaerne Balance Oiled Boots

One boot I love that fulfills all the above requirements is the Gaerne Balance Oiled Off-Road Boots. These boots look, feel & perform the business. The brown leather is oiled, meaning it will handle very well in damp and wet conditions.

Mind you, they are not waterproof, so don’t go fly-fishing with them, but if you need to cross a stream or river on your bike, you’ll be ensured that your feet will stay warm & dry.

The soles are made out of gum rubber which enhances your grip on the soil, no matter how much dirt and sand. Even when crossing a river, these soles handle the way they should.

I recently took my BMW R1150GS for a run, and after a good 35 miles riding down the blacktops, we went off-road following a fire lane through a forest and then climbing up a hill. There were two smaller streams to cross. Both the GS and the boots functioned perfectly. The GS may be a pig, heavy and sluggish, but it just keeps on riding. The Gaerne boots are light, much lighter than what they look like. The 3 buckles can be adjusted so they fit perfectly. The boots didn’t move but my feet remained snug and safe. There’s sufficient air to keep the feet comfortable, but just watch it when you remove the boots after a long day, and you are in a small enclosed space. But it’s not as bad as many boots I’ve tried.

After arriving at our destination (I was traveling with 2 others, both on KTM), we stopped for a picnic. We walked for about 500 yards up a hill, and the boots felt comfortable and despite riding through 2 streams (I’m a bit of a chicken, since I ground my feet on the ground to ensure I don’t tip over, the others just ride fast and splash through), my feet remained dry. For the walk, these boots were more than fine, almost like hiking boots.

As boots for riding street and dirt trails, and for walking, they don’t get any better. But mind you, do not think these are motocross boots!!!! They are not. Do not plan to use them in real off-road riding, enduro or motocross. They are not designed for it; your ankles are not protected enough for this kind of riding.

If you are a real dual-purpose rider, these are the boots for you.

Click here to but the Gaerne Balance Oiled Off-Road Boots

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Motorcycle boots are as important as motorcycle jackets. Many bikers don’t think so, but in my (humble) opinion, the choice of good boots is as important. When you go unintended off your bike, your back will hit the ground, but so will your feet. If your boots aren’t properly tied to your feet, they’ll come off during the first impact, and then the rest of the trip over the pavement will result in severe asphalt rash on your feet, and possibly broken ankles.

Another thing to keep in mind is when you come at a stop for stop lights or at an intersection, and car can easily drive over your feet. It’s not uncommon, and having boots that are sturdy and protected will save you loads of aggravation.

I decided one day to go for a ride during a bit of rain, since boots should be rain proof. I selected the Alpinestars Alpha Touring WP Boots for the ride. The reason I took these is a) touring boots are supposed to be more comfortable, b) rain proof and c) a low price. Here’s what I saw & felt:

Alpinestars Alpha Touring WP Boots

Alpinestars Alpha Touring WP Boots

The Alpinestars boots are made of different materials; synthetic leather, some rubber-like compound and what appears to be a leather-like plastic. For the price, don’t expect a 100% leather boot.

Putting on the boots

Putting on the boots, in contrast with a few others I’ve tried, is easy. Open the zipper all the way, and there’s ample room to slide your foot in (and out when finished).

The fit is, I have to say, very comfortable. There’s an instep that allows your foot to rest comfortably and still allow enough wiggle room not to feel restrained.

The toe and heel area is reinforced, and you do notice it. No fear that some cager is going to drive their SUV over your foot.

Riding Comfort

Riding was fine. The boot is not totally “air locked”, so it breathes properly (something I determined after removing the boots, it wasn’t smelly). My feet stayed warm, despite the “almost-spring” air not being that warm.

There was occasional drizzle, and the boots stayed dry. There’s a waterproof membrane which prevents water from entering your boots. Possibly if you’re riding in a tropical downpour, you’ll get water coming in, but I suspect that it’ll be more a question of ensuring that your trousers block the top part of the boots. The membrane does the job admirably.

Walking

These boots aren’t really meant for hiking. You can easily walk in them, but if you arrive at your destination and plan to hike, bring hiking shoes. You can walk in the boots for a good 20 to 30 minutes, after that it’ll get uncomfortable (which is a pity).

Another thing I liked were the soles. They handle dirt and oil on the road very well, and don’t slip. I needed to fuel up, and the gas station had fuel on the floor, but the boots did not slip.

The rear part of the boot have a light reflecting strip, which adds some visibility at night from vehicles coming behind you.

Click here to read more about the boots or to buy them.

Have a look at the video below:

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The last part of the test review of my winter ride is the boots (click here for the Tour Master Synergy 2 review and click here for a review of the Bell Vortex Helmet). Your body temperature must be kept warm, as does your head. But the parts of the body that usually suffers are your feet (and your hands, but that can be solved quickly and reasonably cheaply). Although you can buy heated socks, I decided that those might be too much for 32°F. Maybe for when I visit the North Pole.

I put on my trusty Alpinestars Scout Waterproof Boots. I’ve used them for off-road riding, but it was the first time I used them in the winter. For winter riding you need to not only have boots that are at least waterproof, but also boots that grip well on the ground. When you stop your motorcycle during winter, chances are that the ground at best will be wet, or worse, that there’s ice or snow.

Alpinestars Scout Waterproof Boots

Alpinestars Scout Waterproof Boots

The Alpinestars are made out of leather, but have an inside membrane that is 100% waterproof. So not rain proof; no, much better – waterproof. This means no matter how much water the weather God throws at you, your feet will remain dry (as long as the water doesn’t come in from above).

The ankles are well protected from impact and crashes, and a removable insole helps absorb shocks. However, I’m uncomfortable with the “footbed”, since my feet are high, so I don’t wear it. It’s a question of comfort, and it may work for you, it didn’t for me.

The whole boot is closed with three adjustable buckles.

During the winter ride my feet stayed not only dry, despite there being a lot of wet surfaces, but also warm. I did not feel any cold air, either circulating inside, or from the outside. And that is a good thing, especially in the winter. For boots that are not even billed as winter boots, they do the job very well. Very versatile.

Alpinestars-Scout-Waterproof-Boots-SoleSeveral times I had to stop for traffic lights and intersections while the road was wet and slippery; The boots worked admirably. The sole part is like a Continental TKC-80 off-road tire; heavy studs. The road grip is admirably and safe.

Changing gears was no problem whatsoever. Easy to move, easy to shift.

As boots go, this one is tops. Highly recommendable.

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