09 August 2010

Motorcycle Gear: Riding Boots

I purchased my very first pair of motorcycle specific riding boots last winter, a low end pair of Vega Touring Boots, to see if I wanted motorcycle specific boots.  Even then, I settled on them because I preferred the Sport Boot but they didn't make them in my size.  After reading some things on the forums, I decided a Touring Boot would work just fine.  After the FZ1 Rally, I realized how wrong I was.

Vega Touring Boots
Maybe the Touring Boots will be all right for the Taming theWolf Tour, but it isn't for my weekend forays into the mountains especially on days when I'm trying to be "smooth".  Smooth is proper shifting and braking techniques combined with body position.  During the spring I learned smooth is code for fast.  The smoother I got, the faster I got.  Smooth sport riding on mountain roads and touring boots are not a good combination.

What I got from riding smooth with touring boots was scraped soles and a feeling that my feet were not adequately protected.  My Stanley Steel Toe Work Boots felt safer than the Vegas in those circumstances.  They have a taller sole than the touring boots yet I never scraped a boot until I started wearing the Vegas.  The first time was after lunch during the Therapy Ride on Hwy 28 and Warwoman Road.

After that, it became a regular occurrence all the while I was riding smoother and feeling more comfortable with my riding style but my boots left me wanting.  So the search began for an economical pair of Sport Boots.  This time, I am willing to spend more money since I'm sure I want and need them.

From reading opinions and the results of motorcycle crashes on the forums (I don't know why motorcyclists are so preoccupied with crashing), I knew that ankle protection was just as important as the foot.  That means I need a full size boot or at the very least 3/4 length.  I decided on full size then shopped boots and quickly learned a women's size 7 (men's 6) shoe size and sport boots are not a common combination.  I had to look for women's specific sport boots.

Frankly, women's motorcycle gear has come a long way since I started riding over 10 (has it been that long?) years ago.  Back then, if there was any protective gear for women it was just different color options of men's stuff.  It's only been recently that I bought a jacket that was made for women.  It was the first time I ever tried on one that had protection and was comfortable.  Everything has always been fashion first then function.  To that end, I only found three or four sport boots made for women.  Alpinestars (A*) and Sidi seem to be the only brands that offered a sport boot line for women in the US.

Sidi Fusion
With my decision made and experience with the touring boot, I wanted a boot that I could try on and leave with.  My only option was to go to my local Cycle Gear, the best place to get gear locally.  For some reason, motorcycle dealers don't have a decent selection of gear.  I looked at boots and only found the A* Stella boot.  It wasn't in my size so I decided to wait and go back to the steel toe boot.

Sidi Vertigo Lei
After the touring boot, the steel toe boot felt heavy and made being smooth more difficult.  Back to the touring boot which resulted in me being overly concerned with my feet while riding.  I never think about my feet and on my last two rides, I was so concerned with them it took away from the ride.  Suddenly getting boots moved up on my priority list.

I get emails from several online stores about their weekly specials.  One week, Competition Accessories had a boot email and I discovered Sidi Fusion and Sidi Vertigo boots.  The least expensive was $200 the one I wanted was $300.  If I get boots, I won't be able to afford to use them for a month or so.  Hmmm what to do?  I started putting pennies aside, hoping for a sale but Sidis don't go on sale.  They must be good boots!

A* Stella S-MX
Okay, if the Sidis don't go on sale what next?  The A* Stella seemed to be a good solution.  They were less expensive and looked to be a good boot.  The reviews were all good so Stella it is.  After last weeks ride, I went back to Cycle Gear to try them on.  One word:  Tight.  That meant no Stellas for me.  But they are preparing for a big sale next week and had Frank Thomas Venus boot that was comfortable so I put them on hold.  I'll pick them up in a few days.

Frank Thomas Venus Sport Boot
The Venus boot looks a lot like the Vertigos and are half the price.  Frank Thomas is the house brand for Cycle Gear but is well known in the UK.  They make good looking stuff that I've considered several times before ultimately deciding on something else.  Venus is a part of their Lady Rider line and has matching jacket, gloves, pants, boots, and suit.  I probably won't go so far as to buy the other matching products, no matter how appealing that suit is.

So the Venus Sport Boot is my new boot, despite finding the AXO Primato in my size on motorcycle closeouts for $45 less.  If you look closely at the video from Feeding theWolf, you'll see Cruzman sporting the same boot.  In fact he says that he wanted the Frank Thomas Fury but they didn't have it in his size.  The Fury is the male version of the Venus.  It wouldn't be the first time we've inadvertanly matched gear but since I already know he has the Primatos, I won't get them.  Of course a more practical reason is the Venus has more support for both the ankle and the achilles.

In fact, of all the boots I've looked at, the Sidis and the Frank Thomas boots appear to offer the most protection.  Frank Thomas does it at half the price which makes it even better for me.  Maybe I can ride again this month after all.  Frank Thomas stuff usually gets good reviews and Cycle Gear is the best place to deal with hands down.  Right now I feel good about this decision, I'll let you know if I still do after the first ride with them.


  1. Yep, I'll admit it, my goal is to be as well equipped as theWolfTamer and perhaps be twins. So do I need to get size 11 in the girl boots since I wear a size 10 in mens? :)

  2. Ha! You're funny. Just get the Fury boots. Besides, I don't think the "subtle embroidery" would be appropriate for you.

  3. I had the Puma Desmo GTX boots, loved them. My Sidi Vertigo GTX are so stiff and lack feel (and confort) ..

  4. Adrian, that's a good lookin' boot. No one seems to stock them in my size though. I like the Frank Thomas Venus/Fury so far. I haven't taken a long ride with them yet (this Saturday) but they felt really good on the short one I got in the other day.


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