Review of the Daytona Lady Star GTX Boots
- GORE-TEX®, fully insulated boot with an extra thick sole
- YKK Zippers (the best zippers I've ever seen on a boot)
- Reinforced calf protection
- Adjustable calf width via velcro (on the larger side, so if you have narrower legs/calves then these may be too wide)
- Euro Sizes 35-39 (Size 40-43 are called the MStar)
- My US Size: 6.5 / Size Purchased: 36
- Where to Buy: Helimot, San Jose or Revzilla.com
- $449.00 (Handmade in Germany)
- Review date: March 2011
- Sample purchased by GearChic
- Update 6/5/14 posted below
What makes these boots so special? Why would anyone spend this much money on a pair of motorcycle boots? Well, without the use of my feet, it's a little hard to ride my motorcycle. These 100% German made boots (not China, not Pakistan) offer more than just an additional 1"-2" in vertical height.
They've given me far more confidence in terms of what I will and won't do on my motorcycle.
I know that on an unpaved, gravel filled road, or a sloped hill, that these are going to give me maximum traction to maneuver the bike at a slower speed. I also know that I can handle more weight than I ever thought I could.
Before purchasing these boots over 4 years ago, I had heard so much about the legendary Ladystars, which the most expensive protective motorcycle boot for women out there. I wouldn't fully experience the benefits until having to use them in a couple of unfortunate accidents.
So how do these boots give you added height? As a short woman (5'3", 28 3/4" inseam), I am lucky to have a slightly taller inseam than other people my height. But, that doesn't mean that these boots aren't still crucial for me on my bike. The photo above of my right foot on a book and the other in the boot should illustrate how amazing these boots are. But since I was at Helimot that day, I was able to get a pic of the sole by itself. That's the secret to these boots. When I tell people that I get an additional 2" of vertical height (compared to my natural inseam), they think that I'm wearing giant, frankenstein boots. But it's all in the insole. So sneaky! It's also perfect.
In addition the added height, these boots have 3 zippered/velcro'd enclosures. The fully adjustable velcro flaps on the calf give these boots another advantage that you won't find on just any boot. You'll also notice the elastic leather band that fits comfortably around the calf. The Ladystars are also fully armored, with reinforced toes, heels and shins. You'll also find a small, reflective patch on the back of the heels, which are highly visible in traffic, especially at night to cars behind me.
And of course, I can't forget the reinforced ankle armor. Sadly, I've had to test these out about 4 times. Between 2 drops and 2 accidents, I've had to yank my foot out from underneath the bike every time. There are 2 major goals of any protective motorcyle boot:
- to keep your feet from being crushed/mashed; and
- to stay on your foot, no matter what happens.
If it weren't for these boots, I never would've walked away without any foot injuries. I've never had so much as a scratch or sore foot from any of these incidences. It doesn't take much for a bike to fall or tip over on you when you least expect it. And having boots that are reinforced in just the right spots are going to be the difference between a bruise or a break.
As you can see, I've worn and scuffed them out quite a bit. But the quality is amazing, and I know these will last me at least another 5 years, probably longer. The only downsides to these boots are:
- the price. They've gone up $100 since I bought them (at full price, 4 years ago). But for me, they're worth every penny, (If I had to buy another pair today, I absolutely would!)l and
- moderate ankle bracing support. If I were to start doing track days, I would go for something better suited like the Sidi Vertigo Leis
- might not be comfortable if you have high arches. The area above the arch is a little narrow. I have high arches and had to have these stretched in that spot since I had a bunion form right above my arch. They stretched out over the first year to where it hasn't been a problem since, but for the first few months I couldn't wear them for more than 4-5 hours at a time.
The Ladystars are an ideal boot if you commute to work every day, are planning a road trip, or want a modest looking waterproof motorcycle boot with very real protection. I've ridden these from San Francisco to Los Angeles (about 4-5 trips), as well as any time I go for a ride, whether it's 5 miles or 500 miles. If I can't wear these boots, I simply don't ride.
After riding in heavy rain, I've found that these boots really are waterproof. I've never had any issues with water getting in, However, I've always worn waterproof overpants to keep me fully dry. The coldest temperatures I've ever ridden in is probably 50 F degrees with windchill on the freeway. I don't recall ever having my feet feel cold either in the rain or on the freeway (at the same time) at these temps. I've also ridden in 90-100 F degree heat and have found them to be fairly comfortable. Of course, I always wear smartwool socks so that my feet can breathe. Given that they have a GORE-TEX® liner, the boots breathe quite well, as do my feet. But only when I wear the right socks. If your feet tend to sweat a lot like mine, then you must rely on socks that wick the sweat away.
I am also amazed at the additional traction they give me when parking my bike. Before these boots, I always felt like my feet were going to slip out from under me. I feel much more confident when maneuvering my bike in small spaces, especially parking. You may also need to adjust your shift lever to make room for the extra thickness as well. Should your soles wear out or you need a zipper fixed, you can ship them to Helimot to be repaired at a very reasonable price. Send them back to Helimot, so they can fix anything you need without damaging the GORE-TEX® liner. It's ok to use a good boot polish or cream on them occasionally, but "gooping them up week after week would make them not breathable any more, but once in a while is a good idea." Linda Key, Helimot. I would go with once every 6 months or so. I've never polished this particular pair, but with the way I'm scuffing them up, they could use just a little bit of polish to make them look new again.
Overall, I love these boots. Without them, I don't think I'd be this far along in my riding career. I certainly wouldn't be able to back my bike down into my garage, with its horrible unevenly sloped pavement, or maneuver my bike in tight, awkward spaces.
Being a European boot, of course the sizes are European! So you might find that you're going to be 1 size smaller in a Daytonas than any other boot. I'm normally a Euro 37 in most shoes/boots, but I'm 36 in Daytonas. The general feel when you put these on for the first time is that your feet feels like it's pushed slightly forward, and a little high. When you sit on a bike for the first time, you might notice that it's a little harder to reach your shift and/or rear brake pedals. You may need to adjust the levers down just a bit to make these more comfortable. The other thing you'll find that makes these boots simply magnificent, is how comfortable they are! I've worked on my feet, all day (8-10 hours) in these and they're ridiculously comfortable. They're designed to be an every day, sport touring boot. So if you plan on doing a lot of walking and riding and don't want to feel or look like you're wearing a clunky boot, these will do the job quite well. It's a minor adjustment, after awhile you'll get used to the feel. Before you step into the boot, it's important to note a couple of things:
- Unzip them all the way down on both sides
- Zip up the long side first, then the short side. Otherwise, the short side may not have enough reach to zip shut.
- If it feels like you can't get your foot all the way into the boot, try to ensure that you've FULLY unzipped both sides. Even an 1/8" can make or break your ability to get your foot in these boots. You can also try sitting in a chair and making sure that your knee is bent, with your foot slightly behind your knee. If you extend your foot out straight in front of you to put them on, you're going to find yourself fighting the cut of the boot, which is designed for full comfort and fit in riding position. (this is true of most boots with the same purpose in mind).
There is a generous amount of space around the calves, if you don't tuck in your leathers or pants. Even with the velcro on the back side fully adjusted to the tightest position, I still have plenty of room. For those of you having trouble finding boots to fit your calves, I can *almost* guarantee that these will fit. And, if you have very skinny calves you may find them to be a little too big, which may make for a chilly ride with the wind going down into your boots.
You'll find a little room in the heel, but I was assured by Helimot that it's perfectly normal and it'll change once the boot is properly broken in. Remember that you need to sit on a bike, preferably your own when you try these on. Depending on your riding position, you might find them really comfortable or, uncomfortable. If you're going to be on a cruiser, with your feet forward, you're going to be working against the fit of the boot, as it's ideal and most comfortable when your knees are bent and your feet are positioned below you, either in a standard or sport position. There's a small oval patch of stitched leather on the top of the foot, which definitely helps the boot flex better in riding position. When the boots are fully broken in, they definitely feel more flexible and it seems easier to ride in either position. But when they're brand new, they might feel a little awkward. So I advise sitting on your bike, or a bike with a similar riding position when you try them on.
They'll essentially expand all around after you've broken them in so make sure they're fairly snug when you buy them. I will say that they tend to be tight above the arch. If you have a really high arch, or thick feet like me around that part of your foot, you might have trouble getting your feet in, or worse, it'll feel too tight. I had to send my boots back to Helimot for a couple weeks to be stretched above the arch. For ~$30, they were able to do this for me, which made a huge difference in comfort. Even though I got a small bunion from this, it didn't deter me from wearing these Every Day, and ~20,000 miles later!
If you're a guy, and you need a pair of motorcycle boots with added height, try the the MStar. Or, if you happen to wear a size Euro 40-43, then you're going to go with the MStar as well.
And finally, there is NO rule that says you must flat foot with both feet on your motorcycle. I know we've all heard that before, but it's simply not true. It might take you a little longer than you'd like to get to your dream bike, but you can get there if you start small, <250cc and work your way up to the bike of your dreams. I did, all without chopping my suspension or lowering my seat (on any of the motorcycles I've owned.)
By investing in a great pair of boots and taking the time to gain riding experience and improve your skills, you'll get there too.
Since I wrote this review, Daytona has improved a few features on the Lady Stars:
I also wanted to note that I no longer wear these as my every day boots. I do wear them when it's really cold or wet, because they make excellent winter boots. However, I've made the transition to slightly stronger street boots that fit and work a bit better on my sporty bike. It's a little easier to get under the shifter with my Sidis instead. I also found that the extra calf space was just too much and it started bugging me when I would my foot back on the pegs, because the calf would catch on the peg.
If I ever get a taller dual sport bike, I'll definitely whip these out to add as much height as possible. But for now, I have found that riding more often in boots that take away vertical height have forced me to change my riding techniques to improve my balance, braking techniques and overall control. I still haven't lowered any of my motorcycles to accommodate my inseam (28.5"), instead I've accommodated myself to my motorcycles.
It's amazing what you can accomplish when you put your mind to it!