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Gentleman's boots for motorbike riding - newbie

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hi all.

 

When I need motorcycle boots, I think of thick durable military style hiking boots. 

But what can I wear while being a little more formal ?

 

I'm thinking of Chelsea Boot, Double Monk Strap boot, or Chukka that covers the ankles. 

My concern is I'll need to shift gears with the left foot and that can damage the boot surface finish.

 

Any ideas?

 

thanks!


Edited by enewmen - 9/1/16 at 1:23am
post #2 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by enewmen View Post
 

Hi all.

 

When I need motorcycle boots, I think of thick durable military style boots. 

But what can I wear while being a little more formal ?

 

I'm thinking of Chelsea Boot, Double Monk Strap boot, or Chukka that covers the ankles. 

My concern is I'll need to shift gears with the left foot and that can damage the boot surface finish.

 

Any ideas?

 

thanks!

 

 

I have a cut piece of sock that I slip over my left toe when I'm wearing shoes/boots I don't want to scuff up.  I'd go with a jumper boot.

post #3 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by enewmen View Post

Hi all.

When I need motorcycle boots, I think of thick durable military style hiking boots. 

If you drape your pants over them... Who is going to know otherwise? Unless by "Military-style" boot you think of a chunky lug sole.

Also, and this may just be my ignorance speaking, but how does shifting gears shred your boot? You aren't supposed to be using the tops of your feet...
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 

@Murlsquirl,

Thanks of the  jumper boot suggestion. I didn't think of that and it's looks more durable than my suggestions while being more classy than the combat boots.

 

@MonVert

I think people will notice combat boots with the chunky lug sole neatly draped over by slacks.   How does shifting gears damage a boot?  The left toe pushes a lever up and rubs the shoe toe cap with the lever.  The level is usually soft and doesn't do any serious damage, but it can scuff the surface finish. 

here is an example:

post #5 of 18
Well, my suggestions for you would either be...

The Dehner Tank Boots (Non-ME) with a Nitrene Sole by default. For a slimmer profile. Though I don't quite know how it will fair with traction on a motorcycle. Still, you do get your choice of Lace, buckle, or zip boots...

The other is buying a Wesco Combat Boot from Big Black Boots, and choosing one of their slimmer VIbram Sole options.
post #6 of 18
You need to look for something that has a heavy duty toe cap.
I had a pair custom made once that looked decent for work wear, but in the end were not "fancy" enough for work.
They were awesome for a more dressy casual.

I just checked the site again and it looks like they have increased their line since I last ordered
http://www.russellmoccasin.com/custom-options/

Check out the "heavy duty toe cap" option on the link above.. adds ~$60USD to the total price of a pair.
post #7 of 18
Newbie, as in new to riding? If so you should stick to gear that's designed for riding. After 40 years of riding I cheat a bit, but having been down a few times I always (at least) stick with thick leather uppers and grippy soles. Leather soles are a big no-no on bikes.
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjaminslost View Post

Newbie, as in new to riding? If so you should stick to gear that's designed for riding. After 40 years of riding I cheat a bit, but having been down a few times I always (at least) stick with thick leather uppers and grippy soles. Leather soles are a big no-no on bikes.

Thanks for the post!

I meant newbie to this forum rather than a newbie to motorbike riding.

Now I'm turning 50 and starting to wear a suit every day like my grandfather.  This made me think on what kind of boots I can wear with a suit and not look so awkward.  I agree tall thick leather and grippy soles are safest.  I also won't consider leather soles, but I'm hoping to find a compromise or "cheat" a little by hiding the boots under by pant legs. 

BTW, I'm also looking for a more dressy trousers material than the modern-thin wool used in slacks currently - there must be something that looks better and more durable than khakis.

post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by enewmen View Post

Thanks for the post!
I meant newbie to this forum rather than a newbie to motorbike riding.
Now I'm turning 50 and starting to wear a suit every day like my grandfather.  This made me think on what kind of boots I can wear with a suit and not look so awkward.  I agree tall thick leather and grippy soles are safest.  I also won't consider leather soles, but I'm hoping to find a compromise or "cheat" a little by hiding the boots under by pant legs. 
BTW, I'm also looking for a more dressy trousers material than the modern-thin wool used in slacks currently - there must be something that looks better and more durable than khakis.

OK, got it.. I like my Alden wingtip boots with commando soles. They are a bit sleeker than some of the other dress boots out there, and good quality. I also have plain-toe Alden boots in shell cordovan, which came from Alden of Carmel with the commando soles.

I like the commando soles a lot. They are thinner than Vibram or Dainite soles usually found on dress boots, but decently grippy for riding. A good option for the suit-and-riding thing. I also feel that shell cordovan is a bit more rugged than regular calskin, should I need the protection. However, my Alden wingtips are in chromexcel, which also seems decently rugged. Not Wesco rugged, but better than much of what would be found on dress boots.

Either of those boot options would be my recommendation. Allen Edmonds has a couple of dress boot models available, too. As far as I know they don't do commando soles, but the Dainite options they have might "pass" with a suit, depending on your workplace. The advantage of the AE boots is that they can be bought on sale for under $300, and often on Ebay for even less. To get a similar deal on the Aldens you'd be looking at "lightly used."

As for trousers -- have you looked into moleskin? It's a thicker cotton than what one normally finds in khakis, with a "velour-ish" texture. I have two pair from Dunhill that I've liked for years.
post #10 of 18

For the record, I have no affiliation with this store, I am just a huge fan of their stuff:

 

For me, the obvious ideal boot would be a cross of something that looks good and is made for riding so you don't hurt yourself when you eventually go down... with that being said, Union Garage in NYC has a decent selection of stuff that looks good and is also functional. I find that if you look at the brands that they carry, you can usually explore the manufacturer's website to find different styles, no matter whether you get stuff from Union Garage or not.

 

On a tangential note, they carry some great looking motorcycle gear, whether it's jackets, pants, or helmets.

post #11 of 18

Have you heard about royal enfield biking boots and biking sneakers? They are amazingly perfect for bike riding and are designed in a way to change gears and all.

post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the posts.

All very helpful.

The Alden wingtip rubber sole boot (Royal Enfield also looks like it provides lots of protection), a double pleated moleskin trouser, and a sport-coat made of moleskin & thick leather elbow pads looks interesting.  This seems about as durable as "smart casual" can get.   Or maybe a Perfecto leather jacket & knit tie instead of the sport-coat?  Anyway, I'm getting close.  

post #13 of 18
I'm new to SF, but I've ridden motorcycles for 25 years, in 47 states including Alaska, and across a good chunk of Europe.

This may be an unacceptable statement here, but you should NOT wear motorcycle gear for fashion. Yes, I realize most people do, the abominable Harley "style" being the obvious example where the motorcycle itself is mostly a fashion accessory for most so-called "riders". There is a "cafe racer" style that is similarly affected.

The primary function of motorcycle gear should be to save your ass when you inevitably fall. I don't know how long you've been at this, but it is absolutely true that the only kind of motorcycle riders are those who are going to fall, and those who are going to fall again.

So, boots for motorcycling:

The most common motorcycle injury is a broken ankle. The reason a motorcyclist should wear boots is to try to protect against that injury. There is no fashion boot in the world that is any better than flip flops or tennis shoes in a motorcycle fall.

The second purpose of a motorcycle boot should be to provide good traction on uncertain surfaces when coming to a stop. Again, no leather-soled fashion or dress boot will do this, resulting in a slipped foot on gravel and the broken ankle mentioned above when your bike falls on you.

The third purpose of a motorcycle boot is to keep the foot warm and dry in incliment riding weather.

Buy actual motorcycle boots. Good ones are expensive but will meet all three criteria above. I am extremely impressed with BMW motorcycle boots, and they don't look too horrible, but there is not really any way to accomplish the functional objectives of a motorcycle boot and have it look fashionable.

Wear proper riding gear, because I don't want to see a post from you next year asking what footwear best matches your wheelchair.

Same goes for jacket and pants. You might as well be naked in a sport coat and moleskin trouser. When you hit the asphalt, and you WILL, eventually, it's like hitting a power sanding belt. Only ballistic nylon or THICK leather has a chance to save your skin from disappearing. Look for a proper 3/4 length leather motorcycle touring jacket. NOT one made for fashion, one made for motorcycle falls with stupidly thick leather. Look at Vanson. There are British brands that are equally good. The jacket is the one area where motorcycle gear can be functional and fashionable, but it's gonna cost you.

Wear gloves. Motorcycling is dangerous. If you're doing this to ride around the city and have people admire how fashionably you're dressed, find another hobby.

End rant. Sorry. Be safe as your first priority.

Jim
post #14 of 18
This kind of jacket is a good match for the "TE Lawrence on a vintage motorcycle" look you're going for, but it will save your life in a crash. These look good in brown leather, too, and other makers have them with a more traditional, but not as functional, collar:

http://www.vansonleathers.com/prod-Teton-443.aspx?

It is worth noting that Lawrence died in a motorcycle crash. You're probably not going to want to wear a full faced helmet, either, but PLEASE do.

Jim
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrcampbe View Post

I'm new to SF, but I've ridden motorcycles for 25 years, in 47 states including Alaska, and across a good chunk of Europe.

This may be an unacceptable statement here, but you should NOT wear motorcycle gear for fashion. Yes, I realize most people do, the abominable Harley "style" being the obvious example where the motorcycle itself is mostly a fashion accessory for most so-called "riders". There is a "cafe racer" style that is similarly affected.

The primary function of motorcycle gear should be to save your ass when you inevitably fall. I don't know how long you've been at this, but it is absolutely true that the only kind of motorcycle riders are those who are going to fall, and those who are going to fall again.

So, boots for motorcycling:

The most common motorcycle injury is a broken ankle. The reason a motorcyclist should wear boots is to try to protect against that injury. There is no fashion boot in the world that is any better than flip flops or tennis shoes in a motorcycle fall.

The second purpose of a motorcycle boot should be to provide good traction on uncertain surfaces when coming to a stop. Again, no leather-soled fashion or dress boot will do this, resulting in a slipped foot on gravel and the broken ankle mentioned above when your bike falls on you.

The third purpose of a motorcycle boot is to keep the foot warm and dry in incliment riding weather.

Buy actual motorcycle boots. Good ones are expensive but will meet all three criteria above. I am extremely impressed with BMW motorcycle boots, and they don't look too horrible, but there is not really any way to accomplish the functional objectives of a motorcycle boot and have it look fashionable.

Wear proper riding gear, because I don't want to see a post from you next year asking what footwear best matches your wheelchair.

Same goes for jacket and pants. You might as well be naked in a sport coat and moleskin trouser. When you hit the asphalt, and you WILL, eventually, it's like hitting a power sanding belt. Only ballistic nylon or THICK leather has a chance to save your skin from disappearing. Look for a proper 3/4 length leather motorcycle touring jacket. NOT one made for fashion, one made for motorcycle falls with stupidly thick leather. Look at Vanson. There are British brands that are equally good. The jacket is the one area where motorcycle gear can be functional and fashionable, but it's gonna cost you.

Wear gloves. Motorcycling is dangerous. If you're doing this to ride around the city and have people admire how fashionably you're dressed, find another hobby.

End rant. Sorry. Be safe as your first priority.

Jim

Thanks for the concern and the post.

I don't believe anyone suggested I ride in less than fully safe & complete riding gear and there's no misunderstanding. - While riding,  I've always wore a leather jacket made for motorcycle riding, used a full face helmet, and boots & gloves made for motorcycle riding. 
I'll look at Vanson like you suggested.  

In my last post, I suggested a  Perfecto leather motorcycle jacket & knit tie - what's wrong with that?  Just can't see the tie while zipped up and riding. 

If denim jeans are acceptable motorcycle gear, why not moleskin if there is enough weight/thickness?  I read it's just as durable as denim.  I must be missing something.

I admit the moleskin sport-coat with leather elbow patches was going too far, I'll save that for bicycle riding.  

I can also look for a motorcycle boot that's the equivalent to a Vanson or BMW boots. Enfield biking boots was suggested before. 

 

Another idea is a  ballistic nylon motorcycle jumpsuit and wear something nicer underneath for a board meeting, for example? 

 

My vintage pocket bike:  Should be fun on local dirt roads when I move to rural Wisconsin. 


Edited by enewmen - 9/25/16 at 7:10pm
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