I’ve been riding for close to 7 years now. It’s not much, but I’ve had my share of tumbles, falls and serious crashes. The one thing I’ve rued after every tumble was the lack of good armoured motorcycling boots that fit my budget. I realize the need for genuine, purpose built armour, but I don’t have a fortune to spend on it. If you’re a salaried someone who’s addicted to motorcycling of any kind, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. Today, in India, we have a plethora of brands to choose from, when it comes to helmets, armoured jackets, pants, gloves etc. But what about riding boots? And I’m not talking about heavy leather boots or gum boots that are ALMOST THE SAME as purpose built riding boots. We can try and convince ourselves that they’re the same, but if you've been in a tumble, then you know that’s not true.
And I've used them all.
Marine Grade Gum Boots
Bought them in 2010. Have taken them on 2 Ladakh rides. Still use them in every monsoon. They’re resilient as rock and cost peanuts. But they are totally unventilated and will cook your feet better than a microwave.
Military Service Boots
Don’t deny it. Every rider either has one of these or wants to own one of these. Depending on where you buy them from and for how much, they’re sturdily built, and will last long. But they’re military boots. They’re meant for walking and running and climbing. They have absolutely no impact protection, and most of them are made from leather, which is BAD for Indian moisture and long term daily use.
Joe Rocket Sonic R Motorcycle Boots
I regret the day I bought these. They lasted for all of 8 months, and I must have used them for a total of 15-20 riding days. In about 2 months, the mounting of the sliders rusted away and fell off. And since we’re in India, there’s no question of any replacements, right? The material started peeling off where the sole meets the body, as soon as monsoon started and in the 8th month, while I was on a ride, the right boot just disintegrated. I had to come back wearing my spare Crocs.
So yeah, I’ve spent a good deal of money on finding a good pair of armoured motorcycle boots. I was just about to give up hope, when I spotted the “LONG RIDING BOOTS” from Royal Enfield (RE). The price tag they carried was even more eye catching, Rs 6499/-, well under the price tag of any other comparable riding shoe available in India.
I rode with them over a distance 600 km last weekend, my first ride wearing the Royal Enfield Long Riding Boots. This is a first impression review. I’ll be testing and experiencing them over the next 6 months and will come back with a detailed long term use review, similar to my review of the Cramster K2K.
So let’s see. I’m used to wearing gum boots when I ride, and the Acme gumboots are bulky. The RE boots are even bulkier, like they’re on steroids. But surprisingly, they turned out to be really agile in use. It was not so difficult to break them in; in fact, I’ll say the LONG RIDING BOOTS do not require any breaking in at all.
One thing though, the boots come with really long shoe laces, and I’ve not been able to figure out what they’re for. So on the day of the ride, it took me some 10 minutes of confusion, but I just tucked them in between the Velcro, and I was good to go. Once you configure the laces, the boots can be taken on and off very quickly with the side zipper, which is really convenient.
I rode through a really hot day, and my feet felt as cool as can be expected. They didn’t cook, which was awesome. After about the first 100 kilometers, I forgot that I was wearing new boots. I didn’t feel the weight of the boots, I didn’t have to change any of my natural movements while changing gears and braking.
I have just used them for 600 km and 2 days of riding. In the upcoming monsoons and the Ladakh season, I plan to put them through a rigorous routine to really test their mettle. Here’s what you can expect to read in my long term review of the Royal Enfield Long Touring Boots:
- Will they withstand the drastic change of seasons in India? – Summer to Monsoon to Winter
- Will they be flexible and nimble enough off the road? Will they prove trail-worthy and become my boots of choice, or will I continue to have to use my steel-toe Acme gumboots?
- Will they remain hygienic through my 30 day long Ladakh ride or will their plush sweat absorbant inners become infested with odorous and rash-causing bacteria?
- Will they start disintegrating or will their apparently top-notch workmanship stand the test of time and grit and grime.
The RE Long Riding Boots have given me a really positive first impression, and I’m hopeful.
Note: A sample of the Rynox Advento Pants was sent to Motonomous for review.
"Give me a motorcycle, a camera, a good book and I can rule the world", says Aditya.
Aditya is the lead strategist and conceptualiser at Motonomous and also heads the content, design, photo and video teams.
Aditya bought his first motorcycle in 2009, and has been travelling on two wheels ever since...