As an 18 year old my riding gear was pretty basic and I would ride my roadie in a pair of blundstone work boots. When I finally purchased my first pair of full length boots I never went back as a good set of boots not only provides better protection but is also designed for riding. Over the years I’ve worn out many pairs of motorcycle boots.
In 2016 I spent a week riding the Pyrenees in Spain and France. This was my first trip overseas where I took riding gear. Travelling overseas with riding gear is quite a commitment as it takes up an extraordinary amount of room. If the only reason for the trip is to ride then it isn’t such a big deal, but for me it’s usually only one of the many activities I’m doing so the rest of the time you are lugging around all this big and awkward gear, taking up valuable luggage space. The one thing I didn’t pack for that trip was my boots as they just take up too much room, so I used my walking shoes.
They really weren’t much better than running shoes and didn’t provide any safety and I left a bit of the shoes on the Pyrenees as the shoes aren’t designed for scraping the pavement! After this trip I wanted to find a better option for my next trip overseas.
In preparation for our 2018 two week tour in the US we each bought a pair of Alpinestars short ankle length boots (his-SMX-1R, and hers-Stella SMX-1R). Below is a picture comparing the size of my short and full size motorcycle boots.
These were my first pair of ankle length boots, and were bought primarily for our overseas trip as they would pack better and provide more protection than general shoes. However, I quickly found that they were a great commuter boot, as I could easily wear them under my suit trousers. And as the boots are black I could get away wearing them to meetings at other Government Departments around town, although the toe sliders do creates comments, but other than that you’d hardly notice them.
I find these boots very comfortable and easy to walk in when off the bike sight-seeing or ducking down to the shops. When touring it can be annoying having to clomp around in your big boots when doing touristy things like walking, or a bit of a side hike like I did on a trip in 2015 to the end of a 1.6km jetty at Port Germain. And as they are easy to pop on then I’m more likely to use them for general things around town like going down to the shops rather then just using my runners. The big full length boots can be a hassle so I tended not to bother for these short trips.
Speaking of protection … while they don’t offer the same level of protection as full length boots, they do provide really good protection around the foot as the share features from the full size boots, and they include some additional ankle protection. In our trip to the US in 2018 we put these boots to the test as we went for a bit of a slide on Beartooth pass when the Harley ran out of ground clearance. The only real damage was a few scrapes and a torn strap across the top which I got fixed when I got home. While this was a only a low-side slide at less than 60km/h, there is no doubt these saved our feet and ankles from any damage in our fall.
These boots are now my go-to boot for commuting, boots I wear for short trips, and my preferred boot for trips when riding the more touring orientated ST1300, and they have now ridden in a number of countries around the world.
After 3 years of regular use and many miles they are ready to be retired as I have worn the sole down to the canvas on left boot. Why only the left boot.? The bike’s side stand is on the left so you always get on and off the bike from the left, where you swivel on your left foot as part of the action of mounting and dismounting.
While there are a lot of short boots and even more shoe-like motorcycle footwear available now. I like the balance of the style, protection, comfort and walkability of these boots so there really wasn’t a question in my mind of what I’d replace them with. The only thing that I find with the full leather construction of this boot is that they can be a bit hot behind all the wind protection of the bigger touring bike. This is especially true in our 40+C temperatures summers. With that in mind I purchased the vented version of the Alpinestars boot which is essentially identical to my old boot but with perforated leather – SMX-1R Vented.
After our recent 7,000km return trip to far north Queensland I can report that these new boots are just as good as the old boots … just cooler.
So if you are looking for a shorter boot option then these are a great option.