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$100 boot review

Discussion in 'Boots' started by jd, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. Yet another in my series of reviews of cheap stuff I consider more than adequate for commuting and/or new riders, and a lot more practical than the more race-orientated stuff.

    First a little background. My previous boots actually only cost me something like $50 (from Aldi), yet despite this they've held up well over several years which includes one serious crash at 100kph in which my leg was messed up but my feet were fine. Recently though I had one of the zippers break and although it's still useable I figured it was probably about time to retire them and look for something new. Unfortunately none of the stores I tried in Brisbane seemed to have anything under $300, so on a recent trip to Victoria I took the opportunity to drop into AMX to see what I could get for around $100.

    First pair I looked at were (I think) Dririders priced around $130. To me these seemed to be just a basic boot like the Aldi pair I had, only with a lot of garish plastic bits (including toe sliders) stuck on to try and make them look like a more expensive race boot. Fit and quality seemed okay, but on looks alone they moved to the "only if I can't find anything better" category.

    Next up was a pair of Thomas Cooks for (I think) $150. Again a basic armoured boot which seemed okay, although it was using a fairly fine-toothed zipper which to me looked more suited to a thin waterproof jacket than a leather boot. I also found the area around the heel to be far too tight, and since this was lined in plastic armour there was obviously little hope of the fit improving over time.

    This lead me to a pair of X-treme branded boots priced at just $100 (down from $189). I was actually already familiar with the brand since I've been wearing a couple of pairs of their Kevlar jeans for quite a few years now, and have had no quality issues with them whatsoever. I know they're a Melbourne based company but have no idea where they're sourcing their boots from, since despite thorough checking I couldn't find a "Made in ...." tag on either the boots or the packaging. I was amused though by the fact the cardboard in one was cut from the back of a frozen pizza box (at least they recycle), so guessing they must import in bulk from China and package here.

    Anyway, the boots themselves seem good for the price. Obviously they're not offering the same level of protection as a $600+ race boot but they do have basic plastic armour in all the important places (heel, ankle, toe and shin). More important for me though is the fact they're quite comfortable to walk around in, since they allow a useful amount of ankle movement and have a decent sole thickness. They're fully waterproof and seem fairly well insulated, although when I was riding around yesterday in 30+ degree heat (and high humidity) I didn't notice my feet getting uncomfortably warm, at least not compared to the rest of me.

    Only significant issue seemed to be with sizing. My previous pair were a size 43, yet with these the 43 felt too small. Strangely when I went up to a 44 they seemed even smaller, and yet the 45 fit perfectly. So definitely something I'd recommend trying on before buying (and make sure to try both boots just in case).

    The boots I bought are basically these ones:
    http://x-treme.com.au/large.php?cat...=246&p_id=381&pname=ROAD KING MOTORBIKE BOOTS

    There does seem to have been a few changes in the design though, since the logo is now embossed in the toe shifter pad, as well as having the brand name printed in white (which I'm hoping will wear off fairly quickly). The logo on the shin guard has also moved to the centre.

    AMX seemed to have quite a few boxes of every size a week or so ago so if anyone in Vic is looking for a cheap first pair of boots, or just something that fits between ordinary boots/sneakers and full race boots in terms of price/protection, they're well worth a look. Of course the ones I rejected were also pretty good value, and might be better suited to other people's tastes (I didn't even look at the cruiser or race-style boots they had).

    For those in other states I was told that AMX are planning on having an online ordering site up very soon, so well worth keeping an eye on their website if you're in need of cheap gear and don't want to order from overseas (and no, I don't work for them).
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