Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Riding Boots

Back when I took the rider course, I needed a pair of boots pronto. Someone had canceled and a slot had opened up in the class. I bought a pair of boots off the shelf at the local mall. They were a pair of Lugz on sale for twenty bucks. After a few years of riding and buying boots, I’ve come to realize those are the best darn boots I’ve ever owned. I still wear them on occasion although they have seen better days. I like that they are insulated, thus offering warmth on cold riding days.

The next pair of boots I owned was better suited for looking at than for riding. The soles were nonskid which was good, but they let in the rain and cold. I’m not sure they offered much in the way of ankle protection either. Considering the price of boots, I stuck with them and wore the soles smooth. Then I was on the hunt for another pair.

One of my pet peeves is wearing clothing with logos or brand names splashed all over the place. I really don’t like being a walking billboard. I take this into consideration with boots as well. In my hunt for a new pair, I saw some Harley styles that appeared suitable. Unfortunately, I don’t want to be free advertising for Harley or any brand and the name was emblazoned across most of the styles I considered. I wasn’t having any luck. Then I stumbled upon a boot I felt would do. It zipped at the inside, was high enough to protect the ankle and although it was a Harley brand it wasn’t obviously labeled. I plunked down some big bucks and went home with the new boots.

After a short while, the defects of the boot were soon evident. My feet were as wet in these as in any. In addition, the 1 ½ inch heels were killing my feet. Now 1 ½ inches might not sound bad to some, but with bad feet like mine, the flatter the better. It felt as if I were walking on the balls of my feet, the precise location of my foot trouble. They ended up in the closet, and out came the Lugs, worn soles and all.

I started asking around and a riding acquaintance mentioned Cruiserworks boots. Expensive, he said, but waterproof, and a good solid boot. I visited their website. To my dismay, they only had three women’s styles. All had heel height unacceptable to me. The men had a selection that went on into infinity. This was certainly an inequitable situation.

I remembered that a woman I ride with has feet issues too, and that she had found a pair of boots that suited her. She selected a men’s boot, as there were no women’s sizes available. I checked these out. They were not that high, but covered the ankle bone, water resistant, and a flap that covered up the laces. This is a nice feature to keep out the water, and also keep the laces from dragging down and snagging on something. I found a pair at a local shop, but my feet would not fit right in any of the sizes. Either they were too snug or too loose. At $119.00 I hesitated in taking a chance with these only to have them end up in the closet.

Then I remembered my Lugz. They were a perfectly good boot although advertised as a “work boot.” Waterproof, steel toed, and slip resistant, everything you look for in a motorcycle boot. I went to the local department store and scoured the work boots. There were few options for women, and plenty of men’s styles. I inspected the men’s department more closely and with the help of a friendly and sympathetic clerk came away with a boot I’m going to try. They are waterproof with an absorbent lining, steel toed, slip resistant, all leather and the price was right. Although they don’t protect the ankle as much as I’d like, they at least cover the ankle bone. No boot will save your foot from harm, not matter how good they proclaim themselves to be. I have a friend who knows this all too well. Even if they last only one season, offer a good amount of protection, if not the maximum, it will be well worth the comfort.

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