Monday, December 20, 2010

After three years and 63K+ miles, I need new motorcycle boots

Back in September 19, 2007, I'd taken receipt of some Oxtar riding boots, my first "real" motorcycle boots.

picture source newenough.com

So, three years and roughly a bit over 63,000 miles later of riding in all kinds of weather, it's time for new boots.

The Oxtar boots did well by me, keeping my feet dry and somewhat warm even in the coldest riding conditions. They did OK in terms of walking boots for when I had to do lots of walking around the airport during my time contracting for United Airlines.  However, for the last year or so, the velcro holding the top edge of the boots together had failed to hold anymore; and the zippers had required repairs in terms of where they mated to the boot.  Oh, and the leather was starting to crack in the spots where my foot bends.

They apparently don't make the Matrix II anymore so my review of them is probably academic.  As they were my first pair of motorcycling boots, I learned a few things that guided my choice of their replacement.

1.  Avoid velcro-secured flaps, velcro just loses its ability to "hold" after so much use.  Yes, I know about cleaning it and "combing it out" but after a while it just won't do the job.  I'd been using boot bands I'd purchased to hold the tops together for the last few months.

2.  These are pretty tall boots, and with my riding pants, I just need boots that come up lower, saw the lower calf.  The top portion of the old boots look almost new, as they were always covered by my riding pants.

3.  Anti-slip and oil resistant soles are key, the Oxtars did really good in various traction conditions.

4.  Avoid boots that zip up the side, sure they're easy to take off and put on but again, enough time and use will cause them to wear out.

Hmmm, maybe I just expect a lot out of boots....

Today, the zipper on the right boot failed completely, after only 63K miles of daily use!  : )

I believe I got my money's worth out of the boots, don't you agree?

After a bit of surfing, I found some boots from Icon:

picture source: newenough.com

They are the Icon Patrol series of waterproof touring boots with some really nice specs; just click on the link above to be taken to the newenough.com site for full details.  The selling points for me where the positive lock aluminum buckles and the speed lacing system for a tight fit.

I placed an order for them today and hopefully will get them next week.  Hopefully, they last me at least the same amount of riding miles as the Oxtar boots gave me!

Update: 24DEC10:  The new Icon Patrol boots got here today!

Initial impressions, they're keepers.

The speed lacing, probably due to the shape of my foot, does nothing to add/detract in terms of fit. This is good because two of the small straps broke while I was cinching the laces tight! And yet, the boots are keepers.

Love the aluminum latches, very similar to ski boot latches and they hold the boots onto my feet very snugly but still easy to take the boots off.  The latching straps(rubber/plastic) and the mounting points appear to be field-replaceable.

Excepting the delicate straps anchoring the laces, construction is really nice and tough looking throughout.

Went for a quick little ride and no issues with shifting gears. Great traction on dry surfaces so far, we'll see how they do on snow and ice and wet surfaces.

10 comments:

RichardM said...

Hmmm, looking forward to your review. I'm still wearing old work boots and have thought many times about getting a pair of real motorcycle boots.

Richard

motoroz said...

Good points about what is needed in a riding boot. I think you will like the Icon boots. The Icons I have are the Accelerant Waterproof and they are really good.

Steve Williams said...

Both boots look good. I've never used riding boots opting instead for my Wolverine leather boots with extra hard Vibram soles or my HiTec boots which I wear everyday.

Maybe it's time to look at the ones you've highlighted. It would be carrying extra boots to work since these don't look like something I would wear around the office...

Scooter in the Sticks

cpa3485 said...

I like the look of those new boots. It can be very exciting waiting for a new item to be shipped to you. Are you tracking it? I have been known to do that just to see where it is. Stuff I have bought from New Enough seems to go to Amarillo, then Fort Worth, and finally heads north to Wichita.
I still wear some hiking boots, supposedly waterproof, but I sort of doubt it. I'm interested in what you think of those new ones after they arrive.
And have a wonderful holiday season. Here's hoping they get there before Saturday.

Jim

Charlie6 said...

RichardM,

the big thing on motorcycling specific boots is ankle protection and support for one's foot. So if your boots do that, you should be OK for now. Also, they come with a reinforcing pad for contacting the gear shift pedal.

thanks for reading and commenting.

dom

Charlie6 said...

Motoroz, thanks for reading and commenting, glad to hear your Icons have been good boots for you. I am counting on the waterproofing on the new ones.

dom

Charlie6 said...

Steve,

thanks for commenting as well. Vibram soles are good stuff, very long lasting. My only comment or question would be how much designed-in ankle protection do your current boots provide you?

I have "regular" shoes at work for those occasions when lots of walking is involved or I am meeting customers (which is rare).

dom

Charlie6 said...

cpa3485, Jim:

yes, I can't wait either, but it'll probably be next week before I see them...in time for the year end ride for sure.

how much dedicated ankle protection do your hiking boots provide? I ask because the ankle is a apparently a hideously complicated joint and protecting it is paramount.

dom

Gary France said...

The Icon boots look good. Like you, I prefer shorter boots as I find them much more comfortable to walk in. Good luck with them and I hope the next 63K+ miles are good for you and your boots.

Charlie6 said...

The new Icon Patrol boots got here today!

Initial impressions, they're keepers.

The speed lacing, probably due to the shape of my foot, does nothing to add/detract in terms of fit. This is good because two of the small straps broke while I was cinching the laces tight! And yet, the boots are keepers.

Love the aluminum latches, very similar to ski boot latches and they hold the boots onto my feet very snugly but still easy to take the boots off.

Excepting the delicate straps anchoring the laces, construction is really nice and tough looking throughout.

Went for a quick little ride and no issues with shifting gears. Great traction on dry surfaces so far, we'll see how they do on snow and ice and wet surfaces.