Thursday, 15 April 2010

Lightweight vs Heavy Boots

I enjoy walking. One of the things I expect to do a considerable amount of when on my tour of the USA is to walk. I can picture stopping my bike, grabbing my camera and walking to explore and to take pictures. When I have done this before, footwear has sometimes been an issue, for to walk any distance in typical motorcycle boots is, well, a pain.

The heavy boots that are good for giving you protection on a bike are frankly useless for walking in, especially in the summer as the temperatures rise. Here are my normal riding boots, which I have had for years. Okay for walking short distances, but no good for anything longer.







My Normal Heavy Riding Boots














So, I have been trying to decide what boots to wear on my tour. As I will be travelling from June to October, the weather should generally be good, with only light rain (please!). During my 2 week motorcycle trip to California last May, I wore my regular heavy riding boots and I suffered in the heat. So, I have decided to go for a compromise between boots that give some protection but are very lightweight.

On Monday this week I decided to give myself a birthday present – new lightweight riding boots. Here they are....






New Boots









As you can see, not your regular riding boots. These are made by Alpinestars and are nearer to a shoe than a boot. They describe them as “this range of footwear offers a modern, casual look, while offering superior levels of protection and abrasion resistance. Constructed using synthetic leather, the shoe offers waterproof performance making it the ultimate, urban, riding shoe for all occasions.” As I said, a sort of a cross between giving some protection and being comfortable. And comfortable they are too.

Now, I just know that some of my readers are going to say that these won’t give the full protection needed on a bike.... and yes, I know this is true. But, I am a realist. Last May, I often left my heavy riding boots in my saddlebags, preferring instead to wear something really flimsy because it was just too hot to wear the heavy boots and that was the only other footwear I had with me. I would rather have something that is a good compromise between some protection and comfort, hence my new acquisition.

And before you suggest it, no I don’t want to carry two pairs of boots with me....!

19 comments:

SonjaM said...

The new boots actually look pretty comfy, and being comfortable is also a part of riding safely. Cheers, SonjaM

Arizona Harley Dude said...

I like the boots for your stated reason of purchasing them. In my opinion touring riding in this type of boot doesn't really leave you unprotected. Now, if you were going to be only in city settings, or dirt riding, I might not agree, but boot type should match riding type. I vote good choice.

bobskoot said...

Gary:

What ! Is there nothing available in HOT PINK. Yes, I also think along your lines. I do have a pair of Half Height ICON riding boots but they are heavy and I sweat. so like yourself, I wear a thinner boot which is not really made for riding. I am looking for another pair with more protection but I always bring a comfy pair of sandals to change into while stopped and to let the boots air out. And I use my mufflers to dry the socks. You can easily recognize my bike as it resembles a clothes line with wet stuff drapped everywhere

bob
Wet Coast Scootin

Gary France said...

Sonja - To run them in, I have been wearing them each day this week and I have to say, they are one of the most comfortable pairs of boots I have ever worn.

AHD - We are at one in the boot choice department!

Bob - Sadly, I didn't see anything in Hot Pink. I can just imagine you drying out your gear on a washing line fixed to your bike! By the way, safety footwear cannot be in your vocabulary as I watched your wheel changing vlog and saw you had nothing on your feet! I was hoping that you wouldn't drop that big spanner on your toes....

682202 said...

Being made by Alpinestars I suspect they have better protection than one might think, and they are certainly better than tennis shoes.

FLHX_Dave said...

"Why those look like some might comfortable shoes."

Well, I hear what you are saying here, however, I wear my riding boots everyplace I go. My body and feet have adjusted to them so I can walk in them all day. This also applies to stock seats. You ride in a stock seat for a few weeks and it will become more comfortable than any aftermarket seat out there. It's just a matter of training your body.

Those Alpinestars look like they could be worn anyplace on almost any occassion. I think they will work out just fine.

Yes...you can over do protection. Look at the debate for soft body armor for the Police on daily patrol. Sure body armor will protect, but will it serve well on a daily basis...not really.

Gary France said...

Gordon – I think you are right. And yes, far better than tennis shoes.

Dave – I wish my feet were as adaptable as yours, for I would have liked your approach where I could wear my riding boots all day, but alas my feet have been to cosseted in office shoes for too many years. You make a good point about seats. I was going to change mine for an aftermarket seat, but decided against it. I then spent 2 weeks riding across Europe and it became much more comfortable. In addition to my body getting trained into the seat, I also guess that is because tens of thousands go into researching and improving a major manufacturers seats, whereas aftermarket suppliers just don’t have that budget. I just think I have wimp feet!

Canajun said...

They do look comfy, but I usually wear a pair of cowboy boots when riding, and I can wear them all day (like Dave). But I do like to get out of them occasionally and so throw in a pair of sneakers. You may have hit on the best compromise there.

Gary France said...

Canajun - I hope so. At the moment they push all the right buttons. I want to ride in them in the rain for a good test, but all we have here at the moment is sun and a cloud of volcano ash....

mq01 said...

hmmm, i do like the alpinestars, good looking and im sure comfy. and im with you, i have to be comfy.

personally i love and live in my heavy boots. i dont buy them for riding if i cant stand to walk in them, but thats just me...

if you're happy with the alpinestars then stick with them :) and happy birthday! ...i buy myself shoes for presents too :)

Chris Luhman said...

Gary, I wear my Sidi Onroad Boots everywhere and they are pretty decent for walking. They did well on my tour to the south west US last year when it was 97F in Nevada. Socks make all the difference.

In dealing with heat or cold, cotton is not your friend. I switched my summer riding sock to a sidi coolmax and I was fine with my gortex boots in the heat. For the cold, smart wool wins every time.

Gary France said...

mq01 - I remember your posting about new boots. I hope they are working out well for you. I adore my heavy riding boots but just not for walking in. I have just remembered that when I was young, I used to listen to a record by Nancy Sinatra called "These boots are made for walking". Now, that gives my age away!

Chris - I have never paid any attention to what socks I wear, but I will now....

Jimmy B. said...

Not sure if they're available in the UK, but if you get a chance while you're state-side check out the boots made by Cruiserworks ( http://www.cruiserworks.com/index.php ). They're a little pricey, but they're as comfortable to walk in all day as my Redwing work boots and they offer all the protection of a regular boot.

Gary France said...

Thanks Jimmy - the Defender boots look good. A blend of practicality and confort by the look of them.

iansolley said...

Have you looked at Puma Boots - they are really good! - Otherwise I wear a pair of converse and try and keep the laces out of my open primary!

Geoff James said...

Gary, I have a similar problem with more than my boots! I have 2 piece zip-together leathers chock full of armour for summer use, together with armoured boots. Whilst I feel completely protected for a fast fang, I walk like Quasimodo in them. I'm much more comfortable walking in my Gore-Tex gear and touring boots. The price you pay for protection (and fashion)!

Gary France said...

Ian - Watch those laces! Converse look good, but I am not sure they would help if they were dragged into that primary. I dont think I would risk it!

Geoff - I respect those that do, but I am so glad that I don't ride a sports bike or indeed any bike that meant I felt I needed to wear full leathers. Walking in all that that gear, including the racing type boots, must just be nearly impossible!

motoroz said...

I am really behind on the subject, but are the boots waterproof? You are sure to hit some rain with as many days as you plan on riding.

Gary France said...

Hi Oz - To be honest, I don't know if they are waterproof - thanks to Global Warming, we are having a fantastic spring in London and all we are seeing is sunshine! The sales stuff said they were, but there is waterproof and there is waterproof. I suspect that as they are so short, reaching just above the ankle, that water will get in from the top. As soon as I ride in the rain again, I will post on here if they are really up to the job.