Boots

New Time: Monday's LiveStream about Motorcycle Boots

Last week I talked about choosing a motorcycle jacket. I gave you some tips and advice on what to think about when it comes to making the best choice. If you missed, watch now:

WHEN: 9:30 PM East / 6:30pm West (so more Left Coasters can join in!) My last few streams were at 8pm East, so I'm pushing it out so my friends out west can also join :) 

WHAT TOPIC: Motorcycle Boots: How do you choose a pair? What do you need to consider? Why is it not a great idea to buy your motorcycle boots on Zappos? And for my fellow women riders, I'm going to give you ideas for men's boots that work really well for us for different lifestyles including ADV/Race and Touring. We know that men have far more options, but luckily brands like TCX and Dainese make sizes small enough for us to wear. I'm also going to break down fit differences between mens and women's boots.   

HOW TO WATCH:

1. On your Smart Phone/iPad/Tablet: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=WnZw1kF5M48&client=mv-google&layout=tablet 

2. On your Desktop/Laptop: http://www.youtube.com/user/GearChic/live

When you log on through your desktop or laptop, there's a handy chat window to send in questions. Otherwise, you can also text or email your questions: gearchic@gmail.com    

See you then!  

If you missed the LiveStream, watch now:

Only 19 Days Til Christmas

So here's an idea for a stocking stuffer.

Everyone needs something to maintain their riding boots. Nothing like wet, cold feet to ruin a ride. If your favorite motorcycle person commutes, travels, then warm, dry feet are always a good thing!

Nikwax makes a great selection of products for maintaining your boots, gloves and technical riding gear (as well as non motorcycle specific technical apparel). I use their Tech Wash to take care of my textile jackets and pants. 

Stay tuned for day 18 tomorrow!

New Dainese Women’s Motorcycle Gear for Spring

dainese_womens_veloster_leather_jacket  

Dainese launched a few new products worth mentioning in its latest Spring 2016 Women's collection. Here are my favorites. 

Veloster Perforated Leather Jacket

This jacket has a great sport fit to it, without being too aggressive for street riding. It features a removable, long sleeve thermal liner so you can make this work most of the year depending how mild your winters are.  Lucky you! :-(

For those of us on the East Coast, this would definitely be a Spring/Summer/Fall Jacket. Even the toasty thermal liner wouldn't cut it in the middle of February!

I tried this one on and I really loved it. It reminded me of my Dainese Cage jacket,  which has a more relaxed fit from other women's Dainese Jackets. It's too bad my closet is already overflowing with leather.... #firstworldproblems.

Veloster 2 Piece Women's Race Suit $999.95

This suit comes in 2 pieces, both in the size that you choose. It isn't a new suit, but hot damn it's HOT! I just had to mention it. It also comes in 2 more colors including less red and more pink (for the few pinks fans out there)

! If there's one thing Dainese knows how to do, it's designing motorcycle gear. Why am I sweating so much right now? If I needed a 2 piece, I'd run out and get this one. Too bad I have tooooo much gear in my closet. The only downside to buying a set like this is if you are different sizes on top or bottom, then you're stuck. But the good news is you could always buy the Veloster jacket, and then buy Delta Pro Evo (race fit) or Pony Pants (street/touring fit)!

dainese_veloster_2piece_womens_suit

Women's Torque D1 Out Boots

$389.00 I wrote a blog post about these boots earlier this week, check it out!

dainese_torque_d1_womens_boots_black

 

 

Carbon D1 Long Gloves

$179.95 THANK YOU again Dainese, for adding Palm Sliders to these gloves which the mens version had previously! Some brands like Olympia and REV'IT has always made the women's gear equally as protective as the mens versions, but some brands are still catching up. These are also offered in 2 more colors as well. Whoop!

dainese_womens_carbon_d1long_gloves

 

As you may or may not know, Palm Sliders are *really* important for street riding, because the minute you fall down you will almost always put your hands out in front of you. And if you're moving, now you're tearing through the leather on your palms. These are also available in a shorter version, which I don't recommend unless you're wearing them with a Dainese jacket, because the elbow armor guards extend almost down to the wrist.

You can check out the rest of the items in the Dainese Spring 2016 Women's Collection on Revzilla.com!

So Excited! Women's Motorcycle Boots with Real Ankle Protection

dainese_torque_d1_womens_boots reddainese_torque_d1_womens_boots_black  

As soon as the temperatures come back up and it's time to go riding again, I'll be upgrading my everyday riding boots to these beauties, the Dainese Women's Torque D1 Boots. With my tiny Size Euro 36 / US 6.5 feet, it's incredibly difficult to find motorcycle boots that offer real ankle protection. What this means is full lateral support, and that these boots will make it nearly impossible for your leg to bend sideways at the ankle. Hopefully it should minimize the injury to a sprain or fracture vs. the need for major surgery.

Although you can't 100% prevent every injury, you can drop it down to the best possible outcome. When I crashed last June, I got lucky when I lowsided because although my foot was pinned underneath the bike for a bit, I only walked away with a fat bruise. Every accident is different, and you have no idea what can happen to you in each circumstance. Some people wear absolutely nothing and get up without a scratch, who knows how? But then there are many riders who can't get up at all. I don't want to be one of them, and rather than gamble with the ability to walk comfortably without pain, I'd rather wear a better boot.

Sidi Vertigo Lei lowside accident swollenfoot_after_motorcyclecrash_nobrokenbones_sidi

I do *adore* my Sidis, but I have to give in to the extra protection that these offer. They're too good to pass up.

dainese_torque_d1_womens_boots_pink

 

I just hope they fit me as good as my Sidis do. I only got to try the 36 (barely, since my feet couldn't get into the opening!) and not the 37. I put on a 38 and definitely had enough room to add my amazing insoles.

riding motorcycles with lifted insoles

So FYI, these do run narrow especially at the instep. The opening is rather narrow.  So I recommend ordering a size up unless you have narrow feet.

Smaller Motorcycle Boots for Men?

alpinestars_mono_fuse_gtx_motorcycle_boots_smallfeet Reader Jason needs help finding a pair of boots! :-) 

Hello there, I have just recently started riding and had a question about boots. I have very small feet for a guy and would need to look at women's boots and was wondering what I could get away with without them being too girly looking. I wear size 7.5 in women's.

-Jason

Dear Jason,

This is no problem! TCX is one of my favorite brands, as they offer many boots in Euro 38 which I think is the size you're looking for. The TCX Infinity Evo GTX dual sports above are a prime example, if you're looking for a Gore-Tex adventure style boots:

tcx_infinityevo_dualsport_boots

 

They also have a couple of good city sneakers like the X-Street WP (available in waterproof, non waterproof and air versions) and S-Sporttour EVO if you need a good sport touring boot. But take a look through all the TCX boots, because many are offered in Euro 38.

tcx_s-sporttour_evo

 

Alpinestars is another company that offers many boots in Euro 38 as well! If you need a sporty boot, many of their race and sport boots are offered in 38 including the SMX-6's below (which I wear).

alpinestars_stella_smx6_womens

On the touring side of things, in addition to the Monofuse boots I linked above, they offer the Web GTX boots in 38:

alpinestars_web_gtx

 

And of course if you're looking for city sneakers, they have quite a few in 38 too. I think you'll find plenty of options in both these brands in your size in various styles!

 

Technical Riding Sneakers for Women

Another video from yours truly! Check out my recommendation for women's riding sneakers in another Geek Speak from Revzilla.com.  Keep in mind that riding sneakers are meant for low speed, city riding conditions (~15-35mph). I wouldn't recommend these for any type of backroad or highway / freeway riding or commuting.

QnA: Summer Gear for Athletic Body Type?

olympia_womens_switchback2_jacket_pewter  

Reader Cori needs a 2 piece summer suit to ride in hot weather but still provide protection and comfort. She also needs help finding something with a little more room in the shoulders. 

I am looking for some advice on what gear to buy for riding in South Louisiana. I am a brand new rider (I actually have yet to ride and will be purchasing a bike next week). I will be a commuter with a 9 mile, non freeway, daily commute. What do you recommend for gear? I'm going to start with purchasing a helmet, gloves, boots, jacket, and knee pads. I am feeling very overwhelmed by the process, and have no idea where to start. Any suggestions, or places you can point me? In particular I'm looking for gear that's good for warm weather. (very, very warm).

Some back ground information, I am 5'3" and 140 pounds and am in the process of purchasing a honda rebel 250cc. I have an average to short torso, with broad shoulders ( my waist is a small and chest + shoulders range from a bigger medium to a smaller large. I don't know my inseam as of right now but I typically need pants that are labeled short. 

The only other concern I have is about my arms, I have bigger arms. ( I am a weightlifter so while I have a slim athletic build my arms and shoulders hold a lot of muscle) 
Cori in Louisiana
Hi Cori,
For your helmet, it's all based on proper fit. If you live anywhere near a dealership that has helmet options, I would highly recommend going in and getting fitted. If you can't find a dealer, then you want to check out this article on helmet shopping. Honestly, I find it impossible to help anyone get fitted for a helmet over the phone or online. There are also a ton of youtube videos for you to figure out how to fit a helmet. Do not, I repeat do not pick a helmet simply due to colors/graphics. You MUST get the fitment right for a helmet to work properly and actually protect you! I have a few favorites when it comes to helmets, but it really does come down to fitment. For example, if you have a true long oval then you need an Arai Signet-Q. But if you have a really round head and are XS, you need an Arai RX-Q. It just depends.
Gloves are also tricky in this sense, because they really require trying on and fitting. But I can give you a few ideas here:
  • Revit Bomber ; these fit longer in the fingers and narrower across the hands, but are the Best summer gloves out there. More protection and ventilation at the same time.
  • Dainese Mig C2: these fit a bit shorter in the fingers, and also are fantastic summer gloves. Avoid synthetics, they are the cheap, less protective and don't work well for pavement. You need real leather for street riding!
My recommendation for a jacket is the Olympia Switchback 2 Jacket ($239), size S (shown above). Don't worry, it's available in 2 other colors if white isn't your style! I really love this jacket not just for the fitment, but also because it has a really great fit for you. Relaxed in the shoulders, biceps and forearms, this will give you plenty of room to move around without feeling too constricting. You might feel a little tightness in the elbows/shoulders since the armor is fairly thick and rigid, so I would definitely recommend upgrading the armor to Forcefield or D3O if you find it too restricting.
The other reason I love Olympia for you is the torso is average length (lower in the back, higher in the front) and is constructed of Dupont Cordura, which provides more abrasion resistance than other mesh jackets in the same price point. The mesh is still nylon, but your slide zones are covered by Cordura.
I would also consider mesh overpants instead of just knee guards. You need more than jeans when riding, they just don't have the abrasion resistance.
First, I would recommend the matching Olympia Womens Airglide Pants ($229) in a size 4. These have a slightly fuller fit, so if you need extra thigh, hip and booty space you'll love these a little more. These are also constructed of Cordura (except the nylon mesh for airflow).
Olympia Airglide 3 Women's Motorcycle OverPants
The second pant to consider is the Revit Airwave Pants, ($199) in size 36. I would recommend these if you need a leaner leg and slightly less room in the hips/booty area. I call this table booty (which is what I have).
Rev'it Airwave Mesh Pants Summer womens textile
Both are available in lighter colors, including white (Revit) and silver (Olympia) to keep you a bit cooler.
Looking at boots, it's hard to find vented boots for women. When it's really hot, it's the opposite you actually want a slightly heavier boot to keep the heat out! Imagine a lightweight sneaker, and how quickly that absorb heat. Leather actually deflects quite a bit. A few ideas:
  • Sidi Livia Rain ($230): Ideal for wider feet, higher insteps and larger ankles. It's a very loose fitting boot. These breathe very well and are fully synthetic leather as well.
  • Dainese Svelta GTX ($289): Ideal for narrower feet (all Dainese boots are narrower, btw) and these are GoreTex which are the most breathable waterproof membrane. I've ridden in 90+ temps in GTX boots and they are fantastic.
  • TCX Aura Boots ($219): Also waterproof, they run even narrower than the Svelta in the toebox. Super comfortable and low profile.

 

Alpinestars SMX-6 Womens Motorcycle Boots

alpinestars_stella_womens_smx6_motorcycle_boots (1)  

As much as I adore my Sidis, I had to change my boots recently due to a change in the size of my tiny feet. 

When your feet are size US 6.5 / Euro 36 (Euro 37 for really narrow shoes), there aren't many options for truly protective motorcycle boots. When I say truly protective, I mean boots that have full ankle protection to keep your ankle from twisting like these from Dainese. For me, these are the best compromise to achieve a better fit and still have a higher level of protection.

My Sidis (size 37) offer lots of impact protection. And in fact, I can attest to this by the accident I had 2 weeks ago where I lowsided due to hydraulic fuel in the entire right lane of a right hand curve. I only had bruising on my right foot. No broken bones or fractures. And that definitely saved my foot. I absolutely would buy another pair if my feet were just a half size larger!

gear damage 2 (2)

 

Somewhere in the last few years my feet have changed sizes slightly. I wear 2 different insoles in my Sidis because my ankles and heels are skinny. Without them my ankles and heels are swimming, and then my toes smush into the toebox and then I'm in pain. I also added a couple of foam pads to the inside of the boot above my ankle to further stabilize that area. I also have shorter slightly wider toes so the Alpinestars also give me a better fit in the toebox.

The SMX-6's  in a 36 fit much better, slightly shorter and more fitted and secure in the ankles/heels. It's a slight compromise since I lose some impact protection but gain a piece of ankle support on the outside of each boot (the long plastic looking piece running vertically along side the outside of my ankle).

I think these are going to work better for me, given how much better they fit my tiny feet. And for me, a really good fit has a slightly higher priority. If you're looking for a great summer boot, these are also available in a vented version!

I can't wait to test ride them this Sunday and on a nice long, weekend getaway. Stay tuned for a review.

QnA: How Do You Handle the Weight of Your Bike?

A woman rider asked me recently about how do handle the weight of her bike as a new rider.  Initially, she had questions about the Daytona Lady Stars, and whether they would help her get both feet down comfortably on a Ninja 250. When I do wear my Daytonas (but not all the time), they only allow me to have both balls of my feet on the ground. So most of the time I use one flat left.

2012_triumph_street_tripleR

"So with the boots, I'm able to put a foot down. How do you handle the weight of the bike? I meant like when you're parking or in situation where you need both feet to roll the bike?" - Mango 

I'm assuming that you can get almost one flat left or a full flat left down. If this is the case, then you will always, always keep your right on the rear brake for stability, no matter what. As long as your right foot is on the brake, your bike won't go anywhere.

Continue to practice braking as perfectly Smooth as you can. Pretend you're entering a contest for the best braking technique and the grand prize is going to be a million dollars. The only way you're going to balance the motorcycle without dropping it is really finessing and perfecting your braking so you don't stop and release too soon or grab all at once.

As far as parking, get off the bike. There's nothing wrong with having to park the bike while walking next to it. In fact, if I never did this I wouldn't be riding my motorcycle today because I can't park unless the pavement is completely flat. If there's even a slight slope I always get off and park. Most of the time I find it faster and a lot easier to manage. When you do park, lean the tank on your hip and walk the bike backwards. I have a blog post here that shows what I mean with a few pictures.

Keep practicing, and try not to think about what others will think or say or do. It's all about You riding your motorcycle, not them.

 

 

Reader Question: Are My Motorcycle Boots Too Big?

Hi There,

I'm in the market for my first pair of official motorcycle boots. I commute 60 miles a day on my 07 BMW F800ST which has very cramped footpegs. I have narrow feet with med/big arches. My budget is around $200-240 max.

It was suggested to me by several people to get the Sidi Fusion boots as they tend to run narrow unlike some other sidi boots. I couldn't find them anywhere locally, and I had a $140 store credit for cycle gear so i ordered them from the cyclegear website. I went ahead and ordered a size 45. The fit: The boot feels a tad bit loose, and it feels like my feet slide forward in them which cramps my toes. I slapped my FAVORITE insoles in (Sofsol Airr) and it tightened the boot up nicely, but then my toes were so cramped they now get tingly. Should I trade them in for a 46? Do i need to go to a different boot? Help! Love your podcast and always love to hear your feedback.

-Kyle

sidi_fusion_lei_womens_motorcycle_boots

Hi Kyle,

I would definitely recommend a completely different brand for you. Sidis can run narrow in the toe box, but not everywhere else as your experience is showing you (heels, ankles). The reason your toes are smashing into the toe box is probably because the heel and ankle area isn't pulling your foot back enough to keep them out of the toe box. I have the same issue with my Sidis as well. Unfortunately my feet are so small that they don't make a size small enough!

My recommendation would have been anything from Dainese. Unfortunately you will have to spend just a little more to find something that fits in your budget. Dainese is the only brand that has this type of narrow overall fit everywhere:

  • Dainese Giro-ST Boots: $259.95 These are identical to the protection you have on the Sidi Fusion boots, the fit is completely different.

For the price I think these would work really well for what you are trying to accomplish. Although they're a slightly larger investment I think you'll be *very* happy with the result. I would recommend a size 45.

Update 11/23/2014

Kyle wrote me back with an update!

So I went into cycle gear to order your suggested boots and they said they would give me the TR-Course Out for $5 less than the others. Got them for $250! Holy moley they feel great!!! Way overkill for my commute but I'm not complaining!

Dainese TR-Course Out Boots narrow feet