Canstar Blue reviews motorcycle boots from Harley Davidson, Alpinestars, Fox and BMW based on factors including their fit, durability, protection, comfort, value for money, style, functionality and overall customer satisfaction in 2017.
There’s more to motorcycle protective gear than just your helmet. While a helmet is the only legal requirement, other protective gear – such as a good set of motorcycle boots – can also be massively beneficial. Boots could mean the difference between walking away after an accident and being left in a hospital bed for weeks with road rash, broken feet or worse.
Harley Davidson is world famous for its motorbikes, but what you might not know is that it also produces a wide range of motorcycle accessories, boots included. In 2017 it beat out dedicated and popular gear brands such as Alpinestars and Fox, as well as BMW, in our annual review of motorcycle boots. This suggests that you don’t always need to go with the dedicated brands to get a satisfactory product. Harley Davidson dominated in every category, yet Alpinestars was a brand hot on its heels, with some key ratings:
Protection is the name of the game when it comes to motorcycle boots. We surveyed hundreds of motorcyclists across the country and 30% said protection was the biggest factor behind their purchase decision, while in close second was comfort/fit at 28%. By contrast, 11% said it was because of the style/look and 13% said a cheap price was their main motivation. Price should really be a secondary consideration behind buying a pair of boots that fit well and provide the adequate amount of protection. Ideally you’d great a great pair of boots at a great price.
Those surveyed spent an average of $234 on their pair of motorcycle boots. Harley Davidson customers spent an average of $262, which is slightly higher than the average. However, price, as mentioned earlier, was not the primary purchasing factor. Harley Davidson was also rated five stars on value for money, meaning there’s more to ‘value’ than price alone. With that said, the drivers of customer satisfaction identified from the research were pretty evenly spread:
This means that to satisfy Aussie riders, brands need to be somewhat of a ‘jack of all trades’, rather than a one trick pony. So let’s review the brands below, and see what each has to offer.
The brands featured below all received the minimum sample to be included in our 2017 review. Keep in mind that other brands are available.
Harley Davidson’s motorcycle boots are as much about form as they are function. Many are classically styled in leather, so you can look the part both at a restaurant and on the road. A lot of boots in the range resemble a ‘hiking’ type boot, but with tough leather reinforcements and stitching, as well as interior zips to prevent injury. An average piece of 1.3mm-thick cowhide will provide 3.8 seconds of abrasion resistance, and this is more than doubled with two layers. Harley boots range in price from about $200 up to $300. Harley Davidson was rated five stars for overall satisfaction and in every other research category, including key areas like protection and fit.
Alpinestars is a company that specialises in all things motorcycle protective clothing. The Italian manufacturer produces a large range of both on-road and off-road boots, with performance and protection in mind. It manufactures protective gear for the Moto GP and Motocross, as well as for NASCAR and Formula 1, giving credibility to the brand. Motocross boots can be had from about the $200 mark, while basic road-going boots can be found from about $150. The dearest models cost up to and over $600! Alpinestars was rated four stars overall, but achieved top marks for protection and functionality.
Fox is a dirt specialist, based out of California. While it does not make any road-going boots, its dirt-oriented boots are centred on protection and comfort/fit. While you likely won’t be able to fit in with a trendy downtown bar with these boots, on the trail they reign supreme. Fox boots often sport bright colourways, as well as claiming maximum protection. Upper models feature hinge lockout systems – said to stop motion before leg hyperextension. Buckles are also heavily featured, which make for getting in and out of the boot a lot easier. Fox boots start at around $270, but prices can quickly climb up to around the $700 mark. Fox was rated four stars overall and four stars for protection, durability, functionality and style.
BMW is yet another brand you might not expect to make motorcycle boots, but it does. BMW makes all kinds of cuts of boots, from ankle biters up to full-length boots. Some are classically styled so you can feel more like James Dean than Valentino Rossi. Most of the range is designed with touring in mind. Many also fit in at a family barbeque as well as out on the open road, with ‘sneaker’ type boots available. More premium models feature up to and over 3mm of cowhide leather. BMW boots can be found for around $200, while premium ‘Pro’ models can cost near $500. BMW was rated three stars for overall satisfaction, and in every other research category.
Canstar Blue commissioned I-view to survey 800 Australian motorcycle riders across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction. 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, 318 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 alphabetically. 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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