I've never owned a modern pair of specifically-designed motorcycle boots, and thought it was time. I did a fair bit of research, and decided on the Joe Rocket Sonic R boots. I've been a fan of JR stuff in general for years (wore it professionally for years as a motor officer), finding the quality to price ratio very good.
Many of the boots currently available are constructed of "man made materials". Assuming you get a perfect fit, "out of the box", there's nothing wrong with that. Synthetic materials, though, generally don't break in during use. The Sonic R boots have leather uppers, with synthetic soles & accouterments such as shift pads (both boots...not sure why this is...maybe for old British bikes?), hard plastic skid plates on the sides of the toe area (Lord, don't let me test those!), etc.
I have VERY wide feet. I buy size 13 shoes to give me the width I need because, although my feet are precisely 12" long (which would otherwise indicate a size 12), I need an EEE width. As the JR's reputedly fit to standard North American sizes, but knowing my need for extra width, I ordered a size 13, rather than a size 12 that would normally be indicated.
On receipt of the boots, I was well pleased with the quality of construction and design of the boots. I'm not overwhelmed with those skid plates on the toes, but hopefully I'll get used to them.
On trying them on, I knew immediately that I had a problem. The right boot was waaaay too tight at the widest part of my foot. The left boot was snug, but acceptable. Did I mention that my left foot is an EE, while my right is EEE?
Now, the good news. As the boots are of leather construction, I set about stretching the right one's width (not usually possible with synthetic boots - see why I mentioned that earlier?). I set about doing this in three ways. First, using an old set of size 12-13 D-width wooden shoe forms, I built up the width of the right one by a full inch, at the points it was needed, using (God forgive me) layers of cardboard and about a hundred yards of duct tape, until it was the same shape as my foot, only slightly wider. I forced these into the boots, and put them aside for a few days.
Essentially, no effect.
Next, I tried live steam, using a Shark steam machine, which shoots out prodigious jets of live steam. A tad dangerous this is, so caution is called for. Disregarding my own caution, I donned the boots & shot live steam at the offending areas for quite a period of time. Interestingly, my foot never got uncomfortably warm - apparently, these boots are very well insulated. They never got damp, either - surprising, as there were rivers of water running off them as the steam condensed on the leather.
There was, this time, a slight but noticeable effect. While still very tight at the pinch points, it was...tolerable, at least. I walked around in them for an hour, until I could bear it no more.
Next, I reinserted the home-made Frankensteinian formers, and did the live steam trick again. Then, I put them aside for a further week, moving on to more pressing matters.
Tonight, I put them on for my 2015 inaugural ride, and found them only slightly tight, but quite tolerable. Even after an hour's ride, my foot felt okay.
The moral of the story is, if you're buying boots or shoes online, try for leather, as you CAN stretch them to fit. Synthetics, not so much.
Anyway, the boots themselves are touted to be 100% waterproof to a point above the ankle & below the calf. From what I can tell, this appears to be accurate. They have a nylon zipper from the sole to the aforementioned height, and a Velcro-secured, thick leather wrap-around closure above that. The boots are easy to take on & off - even before I stretched them, which surprised me. The soles have a grippy, but shallow tread (deep treads can be an issue on motorcycle foot controls, foot pegs, etc.), and seem to give good traction.
Price is reasonable (around $117), and quality seems very good indeed. If you have wide feet, do yourself a favor - buy at least one size bigger than you normally take, so you get the width you need. If you have normal (or narrow) feet, standard sizing is fine.
Hope that helps!
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2 posts • Page 1 of 1
- Posts: 2580
- Joined: Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:59 pm
- Location: North Bay, Ontario, Canada
- Motorcycle: 2009 GL1800 AD
When I was at WingDing in Tennessee a few years ago, I had the chance to try on several brands of boot at the Wing Stuff booth. I have the same problem as mentioned above with EEE feet, so always have to buy a size bigger to even be able to get it on, and then must make sure it will break in, ergo, leather. I tried on a pair of TCX Airtech Gore-Tex Touring Boots, and they fit like a pair of gloves. Normally these are quite expensive, but at WingDing, they were selling for $140. I bought a pair, wore them for the week of WingDing and then went back and bought a second pair. After wearing these for 3 years, I still have not had to move to the new ones yet, but they are waiting. The largest benefit I have found from a dedicated motorcycle boot is ease of shifting with a Goldwing, which does not like steel toed motorcycle boots. I have no regrets.
It ain't about the destination - it's all about the journey
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