Canstar Blue’s 2019 review of motorcycle boots compares Harley-Davidson and BMW on style/design, comfort & fit, durability, functionality, value for money, protection, and overall customer satisfaction.
While many of us literally go with the ‘head-over-heels’ approach when it comes to protective equipment, riding boots aren’t something to be scuffed, especially considering that our feet are the closest body part to the road. But when it comes time to lace up, motorcyclists are met with plenty of brands and boot types to pick from, causing many to kick up a fuss when it comes to making a decision.
But it’s not a decision to take lightly, as a good pair of boots can not only look and feel great to wear, but may even provide superior protection in the event of an accident. To help you decide which brand could be best for your needs and budget, Canstar Blue produces an annual review of motorcycle boots, asking everyday riders about their personal experiences to give you a good idea of what to expect should you go for one of the brands included in our ratings.
This year, Harley-Davidson has taken pole position, scoring five stars in the majority of research categories, including style/design, comfort & fit, durability, functionality, protection, and overall satisfaction. Read on for all the details.
Canstar Blue’s 2019 motorcycle boots review saw two brands reach the minimum sample size required, rated in the following order for overall customer satisfaction:
In a two-horse race, Harley-Davidson had its nose (or feet) in front, scoring five stars in the majority of categories, although BMW was rated five stars when it comes to value for money, meaning riders have plenty to consider when it comes to finding the best fit for their next ride. Below we go into detail about what the two brands have to offer in the boots department, plus what you can expect from other major brands not included in this year’s report.
While there’s plenty to consider when it comes to which brand and type of boot you walk out the door with, when asked about the main purchasing factor behind their newest boots, respondents to our 2019 survey answered with:
59% of survey respondents stated that they feel safer when wearing their boots while riding, with 32% researching boots before purchasing, highlighting that while they may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to motorcycle safety, boots are an important part in keeping you safe and sound while on the road.
Offering a number of full length and combat boot models, Harley-Davidson may not be the brand you turn to if you do most of your riding off-road, but could be a good choice for those keen on long road trips. Most models are made with leather, making them equally a fashion statement as they are a piece of protective equipment. Harley-Davidson’s motorcycle boots are also made with rubber outsoles for additional comfort and protection.
If you’re prone to getting caught in the rain, then Harley-Davidson has waterproof boots such as the Thurmond and Clancy ranges, which include a breathable membrane to seemingly help with ventilation for when the rain comes and things get soggy. If you’re looking for the top-of-the-line, the FXRG boot could be the best fit for you with waterproof lining, shock absorbing comfort technology and reflective material included to keep you safer on night time rides.
Harley-Davidson additionally offers a number of casual boots for those looking to hit the town, including canvas sneakers. Priced between $100 and $300, Harley-Davidson boots are reasonably priced within the market, with riders able to pick up a pair at independent retailers and showrooms around Australia.
Suited mainly to road riders, BMW’s boot range complements its cruiser-styled motorcycle range, helping riders make the most of long journeys and road trips. Priced between $200 and $500, BMW’s boots are – perhaps surprisingly – competitively priced in the market, making them a viable option for those on a tight budget.
Predominantly offering full-length boots, the BMW range includes the Sport Dry, Double R, Venture Grip and AllRound boots, meaning there is something for everyone. As the name implies, the Sport Dry range is better-suited to those who ride a sports motorbike, with heel protectors and removable plastic sides featuring in the range, as is rigid ankle protection for extra safety. The Double R is better-suited for the race track, while the Venture Grip and AllRound boots are best-suited for touring riders, with windproof, waterproof and breathable GORE-TEX membrane included in each boot, with additional features such as quick-release fasteners and clamps and reflective material available on select boots.
For the style-savvy rider, BMW has casual sneakers, including the Ride and Dry ranges to complement your outfit on a night out. The Ride sneaker is made from leather, with moulded protection on the heel, while the Dry sneaker includes air mesh for ventilation as well as BMW’s OutDry technology to help keep your feet from getting wet when the weather turns… or when someone spills a drink.
Though Harley-Davidson and BMW were the only brands to reach the minimum sample size for our 2019 ratings, there are plenty of other brands available on the market, including the below.
With plenty of styles, colours and varieties available, Alpinestars is a well-known brand within the motorcycle industry, offering a number of options for your protective needs. The Alpinestars boot range will generally set you back between $200 to $600, depending on which pair you walk out the door with, making it one of the more expensive options available.
For those who prefer full-length boots, Alpinestars has options for both off-roading as well as those who stick to the bitumen. The line-up consists of the SMX and Supertech R models, suitable for both on-road and track riders, while the Andes range could be better-suited for those who are searching for additional waterproofing. If short boots are more your style, the SMX range is available in a short boot, alongside the lightweight Faster range, which includes abrasion-resistant microfiber and a breathable mesh lining for the ideal balance between safety and comfort.
Aussie brand DriRider offers a range of protective gear to keep you safe while out on the roads, with its boots priced between $100-$300, making it competitively priced in the market. Popular DriRider boots include the Adventure model for off-roading, as well as the Air-Tech and Climate boots for rider comfort on longer journeys. Both the Air-Tech and Climate range include waterproof lining, as well as ankle guards for increased protection, with anti-slip soles and reflective patches for additional rider safety.
Other DriRider boots include the likes of the Stealth boot if you’re after a full-length model, as well as the shorter Street boot range, ideally suited for those who usually stick to the busy city streets when riding. If you’re looking for something a bit more on the casual side, the IRide or Urban boot may be more your speed, each with lightweight material for those nights out, as well as a bit of protection in case you need to hop on your bike.
Made primarily with the off-road rider in mind, Fox provides a range of short and full-length boots for Motocross and dirt tracks, with the specialised brand one of the more expensive picks on the market, priced between $300-$700.
Primarily available in the Instinct line, Fox providers a number of colour schemes to help you stand out on the track. Features include the Hinge Lockout system, which stops motion before hyperextension, as well as a new Duratec compound to improve grip and durability. If a full-length boot isn’t your style, Fox additionally offers the Bomber short boot, made from full synthetic leather and TPU plating to ensure critical impact zones such as the toe and heel are protected, with a lace-free design to ensure you don’t get tangled in any part of the track or your bike.
While shoes might be one of the first things we decide on when choosing an outfit, boots often aren’t the first thing that Aussie motorcyclists reach for when it comes time to hit the road. However, with plenty of brands offering protective equipment, riders are starting to come around when it comes to keeping their feet protected, although deciding on the right boots can still cause many to get cold feet.
With survey respondents spending an average of close to $250 on their most recent pair of motorcycle boots – and 18% owning multiple pairs of boots – it can be a costly piece of safety equipment, meaning it’s not an area you’ll want to step foot in without a bit of research.
Ultimately, which pair of motorcycle boots you decide to strap on will come down to your personal preference, as well as where you plan on riding, as each surface and bike could require a different level of protection for your feet and toes. As a result, it’s best to do your homework and try out several boots before deciding which pair to buy. If you spend lots of time on the road, comfort is crucial. But so is your safety.
Photo Credits: ChocoPie/shutterstock.com, PPstock/shutterstock.com, Chatchai Somwat/shutterstock.com
Canstar Blue surveyed 800 Australian motorcycle riders across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased and used motorcycle boots in the last 3 years – in this case, 258 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
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