Six pairs of riding shoes, the latest trend in motorcycle footwear.
1. Looking for a riding boot that doubles as a street shoe? Enter the “riding shoe,” a fast-growing category in motorcycle footwear. Firstgear’s new Kili Lo Boots slot in somewhere between some of the more radical new-wave street boots we’ve seen and a traditional riding boot. A high-top design with lace-up closure plus a hook-and-loop ankle strap means they fit securely and fully cover your ankles in the event of road contact, yet they’re still cut low enough to be unobtrusive walking around town, making them a nice option for riders who are looking for the safety of a dedicated riding boot with the convenience and flexibility of a street shoe. The leather and composite upper features a breathable but waterproof Hipora membrane plus a soft polyester fabric lining. There are also hard shin, ankle and toe box protectors in addition to a reinforced heel counter and a reinforced toe shift patch on each boot. $119.95.
2. Riders with offroad/outdoor-oriented aspirations should check out the new CR-4 Gore-Tex XCR Boot from Alpinestars. Inspired by technical hiking books, the CR-4 is an interesting proposition, filling a gap most of us didn’t know existed until the advent of “adventure” riding. Looking every inch like a hiking boot, the CR-4 features an upper made of a combination of PU coated leather, suede and textile panels. There’s a breathable mesh lining on the collar and tongue, and the integrated Gore-Tex XCR membrane is waterproof yet highly breathable to keep your feet comfortable regardless of conditions. The toes are reinforced and also have reinforced toe shift patches, and a metal shank in the heel combined with a thermoplastic polyurethane shank in the arch provides structural rigidity. The lace-up closure features heavy duty nylon laces with metal eyelets and top hooks, and the full ankle coverage helps ensure safety and a firm footing on land. Comfortable, nicely tailored and well made, these are the perfect riding boots to go with that new R1200GS — or vintage R100GS. Available in black, red/gray or silver/gray (shown), $199.95.
3. The Guardian Boot from River Road gives a nod to the modern riding shoe concept while still looking more like a traditional dedicated riding boot. The upper is made with a combination of leather and fabric mesh panels for comfort, durability and breathability, and the inside is lined with a breathable, moisture-wicking lining for all-day riding comfort. The oil- and skid-resistant sole features fairly aggressive lugs for offroad conditions, and the lightweight and contoured EVA high-density vinyl foam foot bed is designed to help distribute weight evenly for reduced rider fatigue. It also features a lace-up enclosure and full ankle coverage for rider safety. Also available in the high-cut Guardian Tall. $79.95, Guardian/$99.95, Guardian Tall.
4. Joe Rocket draws inspiration from racing with the new Atomic Shoe, its latest entry into the riding shoe category. The slash-cut rear makes it easier to pull the Atomic on and off while also increasing flexible motion in the shoe, and pull loops on the rear and the tongue also aide ease of entry. A two-strap enclosure features a hook-and-loop upper strap and a ski boot-style aluminum ratchet lower for secure fastening. Each boot features a replaceable toe slider, and the low profile toe box has a reinforced toe shift patch. Made of 95 percent cowhide and 5 percent synthetic leather, the boots feature full ankle coverage with a padded ankle cuff for added comfort. $119.99.
5. With a look that’s clearly more inspired by the skateboard-hipster crowd than the motorcycle crowd, the Black Nine leather riding shoe from Speed and Strength is unquestionably the most street-oriented riding shoe featured here. The look is pure urban high-top, but the construction of the Black Nine supports its riding pretensions with a full leather upper, molded toe, and heel and ankle reinforcements. The non-slip rubber sole is bonded and securely stitched to the leather upper, which features full ankle coverage. The metal eyelets are, curiously, for show only as the laces in the lace-up enclosure actually feed through nylon webs hidden by the eyelet panels. The inside is padded and lined for rider comfort. Casual but purposeful, they’re definitely more than just another pair of sneakers. Available in black, tan or gray (shown in Slideshow). $99.95.
6. Cortech’s entry into the riding shoe category walks a similar path to the Black Nine from Speed and Strength. Made with water-resistant leather and heavy duty canvas, Cortech’s Vice WP Riding Shoe is very much from the urban school of design and they’d look right at home riding down the streets of Chicago or Los Angeles on your caféd Honda. The lace-up high-top design provides complete ankle coverage, and while it’s taller than the Black Nine it’s a little lower than a combat boot and somewhat reminiscent of old school wrestling shoes. The interior features a waterproof and breathable Hipora membrane plus a soft, 100 percent polyester lining for comfort. The non-skid rubber sole has a reinforced shank for support, and there’s also a thermoplastic heel cup and toe cap for added strength, plus molded nylon ankle guards. $104.99. MC