CHOOSING THE PROPER ADV BOOT
Guest: Brian Price, owner of Atomic Moto (https://www.atomic-moto.com)
Join me as I chat with the owner of Atomic-Moto.com, Brian Price, to discuss everything you need to know about proper footwear for adventure riding. Brian shares his extensive knowledge about motorcycle boots, from their complex construction to size variations. We cover why a good boot is essential and how it can enhance control, reduce fatigue and even prevent accidents when riding off-road. You’ll also hear Bret’s personal experience with boots, including his initial purchase of an inexpensive boot, and why he eventually traded it in for a more suitable one.
As we continue our chat, Brian tackles the challenge of choosing the right adventure boot, suggesting research into construction, different brands, and stretching your comfort level to get comfortable with the right boot for your riding. Whether you’re a novice rider or a seasoned adventurer, tune in for an in-depth look at why investing in the right boots is an absolute must.
0:00:15 – Bret Tkacs
Welcome to Around the Wheel with Bret Tkacs, and today I have a very special guest and I’m going to let you introduce yourself.
0:00:23 – Brian Price
My name is Brian Price and I am the founder and owner of Atomic-Moto.com.
0:00:30 – Bret Tkacs
And today we’re going to talk about a topic I don’t think we can cover too often, and that is proper footwear, and really just dig through what’s a good adventure boot when are we overdressed, when are we underdressed? How are these things built? I mean, you’re kind of the boot guy, aren’t you?
0:00:51 – Brian Price
I try to be. I like to think of myself as that. I put more time and effort into studying them and understanding them and making good recommendations to people, so that’s my goal.
0:01:02 – Bret Tkacs
For me, I know, when I’m teaching, one of my greatest concerns… when I’m talking about gear recommendations, people are always asking me well, how should I set up my bike, what tire should I have, what helmet should I wear, what gear should I wear? And the only thing I really get insistent on is footwear. I’m like if you come out to train with me, I want you to have the best protective footwear you can, because when we’re learning, we’re far more likely to put our feet on the ground, to get caught under the bike and to end up with those feet injuries. And to me, it’s one of those places where you really do get what you pay for. You can buy a cheap Snell helmet and you can buy some pretty good entry-level riding suits, but when it comes to boots, at least in my opinion, you seem to get what you pay for.
0:01:48 – Brian Price
That is true for a lot of reasons. One of them is that a motorcycle boot is a relatively complex piece of gear compared to a helmet. A helmet is typically about 50 pieces total and the key pieces of a helmet – the shell and EPS liner are manufactured by machine, and a motorcycle boot is a minimum of 150 pieces and in the case of a some like the [Sidi] Crossfires, a pretty technical boot, that’s probably well over 200. And there’s a lot more machine… actually there’s less machine labor, there’s just a lot more human labor in them and more steps. It’s a more complex process, there’s more going into it, and I think that that’s one reason why an inexpensive helmet works fairly well. But that sort of comparison doesn’t work quite as well with boots.
0:02:40 – Bret Tkacs
Now I know that as we go through life, often the lessons that we share to others, our greatest experiences, are the mistakes that we’ve made, and I am 100% guilty of this. When I first got into adventure riding – actually motorcycle, off-road motorcycle riding, I was actually my mid-30s. I started off like many riders: I went out, I bought an inexpensive off-road boot, realized that wasn’t a really good decision, and then my wife had gone out and bought me a set of Alpinestars Tech 10s and of course that’s their top of the line, top shelf boot. I was naive at the time and thought to myself this boot costs more than my helmet. This is ridiculous. I don’t need to do that.
I returned the boot and I didn’t go all the way back down to the bottom, but I traded that Tech 10 in and ended up getting a Tech 7. And I do like Tech 7s. But I was naive at the time, not understanding why that boot was so expensive, and I think even now anybody listening to this podcast is probably wondering why are they so expensive? I mean, I can buy a suit or a jacket, sometimes for what I can pay for a pair of boots, and then to see boots out there that cost as much or more than my helmet. It’s really hard to sometimes wrap your head around this. Why are we spending so much?
0:04:03 – Brian Price
There’s many answers to that question. I can only hit upon a few of them. One of them is that the country of manufacture, the area where they’re manufactured, is not a very low wage area, especially for some of the raw materials that are machined over there, like the buckles and things like that.
0:04:23 – Bret Tkacs
Most of these boots are made in Italy, now, right? The good, high quality stuff?
0:04:26 – Brian Price
Yeah, I actually lived over there and I worked for Alpinestars actually when the Tech 10 was being developed and at the time several of the manufacturers were working on moving their factories just the production across the border into either Romania or Croatia because it was… not strictly because it was cheaper, but it was easier to get space. There were less governmental regulations for things like gluing soles on, it was easier to get workers. It was actually a little harder logistically, but at the time they were getting all the materials in Italy, from Italy, and then driving them across the border and dropping them off and picking up a load of boots and bringing them back. It’s a fairly good system that actually works fairly well. The level of quality isn’t really any different from.. despite what some people say, the level of quality isn’t really any different from manufacturing in Italy. But that’s one area, one reason, excuse me. Another is…
0:05:24 – Bret Tkacs
I think you mentioned just the complexity, the number of pieces. I had no idea that a Sidi Crossfire was upwards of potentially 200 different pieces. That’s one of my favorite boots. If I’m going to get stupid, the Sidi Crossfire is my go-to boot. That’s crazy. That’s a lot of pieces.
0:05:46 – Brian Price
It is and that reflects their design philosophy, at least the one that they had when that boot came out. It’s evolved a little bit but they’re very focused on making the best possible boot that they can and ignoring any influences, financial or technical or otherwise, that would get in the way of them producing the best boot that they can. And other brands, other companies, have a slightly different design and product development philosophy. Gaerne, for one, I can see when they’re producing a boot… you know they probably draw it out on paper and then they… typically you draw something out on paper and then the designer hands it off to the product team and then the product team tries to walk some of the stuff back to make it either easier to manufacture or less expensive to manufacture or sometimes better. But Gaerne and Sidi’s philosophy is a little bit different. Sidi has moved with some of their later stuff a little closer to that, where there’s fewer pieces and, for example, they’re new Atojo or the X-Power, and that’s just a kind of a reality and probably down into some arcane stuff that people don’t really care about. But that’s just one of the realities of developing a product.
0:06:58 – Bret Tkacs
We are talking about really high-end stuff and most of this that we’re discussing right now is really motocross boots or professional level riding and enduro type stuff. Obviously, my audience is primarily adventure riders.
I know, for me, one of the… we’ve kind of coined as a tongue-in-cheek kind of thing lately about wearing adventure slippers to class and a lot of riders show up in these boots and even though I send out an information sheet on how to select boots and what my recommendations are versus what the minimum requirement is, a lot of the riders show up with that minimum requirement, which really is that adventure boot, which to me, I consider a nice street touring boot that looks like a dirt boot and that’s what a lot of those are.
But this is something that I deal with all the time that they think that they’re uncomfortable, that they can’t manipulate the controls, they feel like they’re wearing a snow boot and they just say, well, but I got this other boot and it feels so comfortable and I can walk around it and it looks really protective. I think compared to their street boot, it is and it certainly looks and feels a lot sturdier than the street boot. What’s your take on, as we so jokingly call them, adventure slippers?
0:08:16 – Brian Price
Yeah, I think that you have nailed a very important part of riding gear. I don’t know how to describe the category… and you did a really good job. Just before this, I watched your video on 5 Adventure Boots and you are talking to this ‘adventure slippers’ topic, which can be said in different ways. I say ‘wear as much boot as you want to tolerate’, and really what it is – first of all, is that the industry has done a terrible job of explaining to people how gear functions and what they really need, and what they do instead is they take the easy path of least resistance when selling footwear, which is driven by the way we buy our casual footwear.
If you’re going to buy a set of athletic shoes or hiking boots or anything that’s not a technical piece of equipment, you choose that footwear based on how comfortable it feels, and what that does is it forsakes the design of the footwear, the boot, and you know, for example, if it’s an off-road motorcycle boot, how much plastic does it have, how high is it, what kind of sole… and that focus of comfort – It leads to people buying boots that are too soft and nobody is doing… I shouldn’t say nobody; you are doing a great job. Many other people are trying to. I’m trying to, but there just needs to be more people that say look, if you are going to take a motorcycle off road and you have a boot that feels super comfortable in the showroom, sometimes it’s not going to be enough if you drop your bike.
0:09:54 – Bret Tkacs
I think a lot of this comes from a lack of experience in education. I did a video talking about – not just the boot video, but I did another one where I kind of mentioned the challenge of having a softer boot. And it’s not just protection, because a lot of people just kind of poo poo that and I understand – they want comfort; we ride motorcycles not because they’re safe, we ride them because they make us smile. But what I think a lot of riders don’t recognize is boots are more than just for protection. And when you look at these massive foot pegs that are produced for adventure bikes, that is only so you can create a platform because your boot is not stiff enough. If you have a smaller foot peg but you have a very stiff motocross style boot, it will support itself because the sole itself supports the rider. It doesn’t wrap around that foot peg causing fatigue – which also can lead to injury in a crash because it’s so soft. But it’s also that fatigue level.
The other place that riders benefit from having these more proper or more aggressive off-road boots is it allows you to lock into that bike. That stiff upper and that stiff lower when you, when you clamp down with those feet, when you pull your heels in tight and your foot tight to the bike, it provides a better indexing. It clamps on where you have more control – and you feel like you have more control. And, of course, feeling like you have more control means you have more confidence. The more confidence you have, the less you’re going to make a mistake, the less you actually need the boot. So the truth is, by having these more protective boots that reduce foot fatigue, that allow you to have better control of the bike, that allow you to have higher confidence level, also results in the fact you’re less likely to actually need the protective properties of the boot. That’s my perspective.
0:11:49 – Brian Price
I think that’s dead on. They’re basically a device… I sometimes forget, thank you for pointing out the support in the pegs, I sometimes forget that because I wear fairly stiff boots all the time because I have an ankle injury, but they’re a device that is supposed to act as a brace and then to minimize the effect of any force being applied to your foot, ankle or leg and not just resist that force but sometimes absorb some of it, and then also support the foot to prevent fatigue, to grip the bike, sometimes to be waterproof and give weather protection. They have to interact if you’re wearing the armor on the knee instead of in your gear, they have to interact with those. It’s a pretty complicated device and then the other thing about it is, I mean, you don’t you don’t fall and whack your head very often or stick your hand out and abrade your palm, but your feet typically get banged up a little bit on every off-road ride. It’s not uncommon at all.
0:12:56 – Bret Tkacs
What I think people miss the little… obviously it’s the things we miss that we need it for and I have more than one time been near brush where I’ve caught my toe or had something kicked up by another rider or even my own front tire that has caught my toe and you feel this major impact and I’ve… Wearing a set of Tech 7s, I was pretty positive I broke my foot just by riding by, it was a stump that was hidden by behind a piece of grass and the bike was narrow, I caught this on the toe and it hurt and it hurt bad.
I waited until I got all the way back out, off the trail because I was on a trail. I was actually riding the lightweight dual sport at the time, and I waited all the way back before I took the boot off because I wasn’t sure – I was positive I busted my toes and luckily I hadn’t. I just stunned my foot pretty bad, but it really illustrated how important that is and how quickly things like that happen, even though of course, we’re doing everything we can to avoid it.
0:14:02 – Brian Price
Yeah, that brings me to something else that I think is helpful for people researching or comparing boots, that they should. Yeah, I emphasize again, the comfort is important, but you should focus on the design and within the design, you need to look at boots and consider them and compare them in terms of zones, and so the support of the foot and bending at the toe, that’s one zone. Crush protection on the top of the toe, that’s another zone. The support of the ankle, that’s another zone. The support of the tib/fib again, and then how much torsional support it gives you from clamping the shaft of the boot around your leg, and that the thing that you’re sort of touching upon is… there’s a trend now, back to that stuff that I said about choosing boots was for comfort, excuse me, where in the showroom, a boot that has a lot of toe flex, that feels like a normal walking motion, that feels familiar, it feels good.
And if you’re wearing a boot with a stiff sole, a welt sole, you know there’s some flex the ankle but you maybe roll up on the toe a little bit. It just feels slightly, a slight bit unusual. But that toe flex – frontal impacts, either striking an object as you’re going past it, or sometimes, you know, stuffing your toe into the ground, having the bike fall on your heel. Those are pretty common and that injury, which is called a Liz Frank injury, is really bad and I’ve had, you know, wearing a good firm off-road boot with a welt sole, I’ve had just terrifying frontal impacts on things where I caught it against the rock and then the footpeg came up behind it. Or I’ve caught my toe on the ground and my heel under the swing arm and lifted the rear wheel of the bike up so that flex of the toe -that is an industry trend that I think you need to go into that, being aware of that, eyes open and understanding that there’s a trade off there.
0:16:10 – Bret Tkacs
Absolutely and because that’s the same thing when it comes to shifting, that’s the biggest complaint I hear is – the walking people talk about, but the number one like “I can’t wear this when I ride because I can’t feel the brake.” And I try to explain to them you don’t have to, again thinking like a street rider, we keep our foot on the peg and then we use the brake and the idea of taking my foot off the peg to use my toe to brake is uncomfortable, it’s foreign. On the other side, the shifting – and this is where proper bike setup and modifying shifting technique comes into play. So it’s, it can very easily be remedied to be able to shift well and comfortable and like anything, the more you use it, the more you do it, the more natural it feels, the less you notice any of this cumbersome feel. So we can make those corrections. So anybody listening guys, don’t think that just because you can’t shift, you can make the adjustments to your shifter, or you can make adjustments to the brake or add a step, or change the way you brake, but you really… you really need to understand that it’s protecting you, it’s helping you ride better, it’s helping reduce fatigue and that’s very, very important. What I’d love to go to and to carry this conversation into, because, so we’ve kind of explained why this is so important, where the flaws are.
But the big question is: how do I choose a boot? If I just want to make sure I had the ultimate protection on an adventure bike, what am I looking for in a boot? And the follow up to that is, I’m gonna buy an adventure boot, so I know that I’m gonna give up some of those other advantages. To what level am I giving those up? And what should I look for in an adventure boot? Because I’ve always told people that has “adventure” in the name. It’s not a good off-road boot. I hold firm to that.
But also, we ride adventure bikes because we also tour, we commute, we go to the grocery store and sometimes we’re just doing some gravel roads and it’s reasonable to understand that we’re not always gonna be dressed up in the most protective gear. So let’s start with, how do we keep ourselves safe? What should we be looking for in any boot, whether it’s a Gaerne or Sidi or or Alpinestars or any other brand that’s out there? There’s a lot of really good brands out there. And then the second side of that is, as an adventure rider, knowing I’m giving up the safety compromise, what might I be looking for in one of those boots? You’re the expert, take it away.
0:18:39 – Brian Price
Oh man, the pressure. Well, if someone reaches out to us at Atomic Moto, I try to not… initially, right away, give a specific boot recommendation. What I try to do is, oh, the first thing I do is to explain… when you’re talking about boots that have adventure in the title, that ties into something that I call the unresolvable conundrum, and that is to say that a boot that feels comfortable and is convenient enough, or maybe some easy asphalt riding, getting on and off the bike, walking into a restaurant, is not going to be protective enough if you go off-road and go down a dirt road that pitches down, has run off and you end up getting into something to drop the bike, and then a boot that has enough protection for that scenario is probably going to be inconvenient for the first. And so, the first thing to point out is the idea that there’s one boot that does it all is… I don’t know if I can say it, but it’s BS and I think that that’s, I mean just the way that the industry pushes these… There’s a couple of models out there that are aimed at adventure riding, and they are so frustrating to me because they are so inadequate. They work nice in a very narrow set of use of circumstances. But they don’t work if you are a real adventure rider, especially if you’re an adventure rider that is committed to being more adventurous.
The second thing is… I think that people kind of want to just go right to ‘what boot do I get?’ And so they’ll ask that question online and then it turns into a kind of popularity contest. You know, people just recommend what they bought and sometimes those conversations, those threads drive me insane because people are, you know, they’ll say I want to boot with these conditions and some of them recommend something that’s completely different than that. So, I think that the best thing to do is to kind of understand a few things about the construction, pay attention to some things about the construction, look for good brands like Gaerne, Sidi, Forma, TCX, Alpinestars. Compare things like the sole flex, welt sole or glued sole, mechanical hinge or no mechanical hinge, full height or not.
Narrow it down to short list, and then, you know, if you’re going to spend some time off-road, there’s probably a comfort level that you want to hit and I encourage people to stretch that a little bit to where as much boot as you are willing to tolerate, and that’s… that’s just another sentence in the paragraph that you brought up before about adventure slippers. What you’re saying is hey, these are, you know, these aren’t really as technical enough as… I mean, they’re great, but in some circumstances they may be inadequate, and so I think you should study the construction, understand how they’re made, look for good brands, do some research and then stretch your comfort level a little bit – actually, in the inverse, you know, a little less comfort and a little more function and design. Typically, that leads to pretty good results.
I know there’s one more thing I want to add. This is important for newish riders. A lot of times they will be standing at the door of entry to the sport and everything is really foreign, and they have lots of information to assimilate and they’re hemorrhaging money, right? You know who do I ride with, where do I ride. I’ve got to get saddlebags, I’ve got to get boots, lots of things to absorb. What they need to realize is that the learning curve, the acclimation curve, is pretty fast, and so in certainly twelve months, but in six months, they may be doing something very different, they may do a different kind of ride, and so it’s also good to ask them, close your eyes and imagine what your ideal ride would be. And if it’s doing the TAT or one of the BDRs or something like that, then you probably want to lean a little bit more to an off-road boot. And if you live in an urban area and you’re not going to do that so much, then you know, maybe a little bit more to the adventure side.
0:22:51 – Bret Tkacs
And the other things that people don’t think about… I prefer a stitch sole on the outer stitch and those are the boots often that come with that steel toe on them, which is agreat addition if you’re off-road riding but being adventure riders and being on the street that’s kind of a hazard. You know, you put your toe down, you have that steel toe, you don’t have any traction and I always recommend to people to remove that if they’re gonna be using that as adventure boots. Generally it’s a couple screws underneath, a couple screws on top, but certainly if I was shopping for a boot or telling somebody to shop for one, make sure that steel toe is removable so that when you’re on pavement you don’t become a hazard.
The other thing I always mention to people is bring in the gear you’re gonna be riding it, because again, that’s compromise, that’s a whole other conversation that we’re wearing this armored street gear as opposed to off-road gear where I’m riding a proper bike, proper tires and then I’m all geared up for falling in the dirt and the adventure bike is twice as heavy and no suspension, all this other… anyways… but before I go down too far, the other thing is bring those pants with you that you wear and most of us are wearing over the boot pants, adventure riding and make sure that that boot fits underneath. A lot of the hardcore off-road boots have that really thick shin on them because they’re designed to have the pants and the knee armor tuck into the boot. That’s part of what holds it all in place and when we wear adventure here, that’s not the case. Again, one of the reasons I chose the boots I chose was it fits underneath my gear very well.
Or you may want to buy that stuff in tandem so that you’re buying your pants at the same time you’re buying your boots, to ensure that that’s a fit, as I’ve had the same, even from the same company, you know, I wear a lot of Rev’It because I’m a skinny guy and they make skinny guy riding gear and some of their old suits didn’t match their expedition boots that they made. They have such a thick upper boot I couldn’t get my pant legs over them. Now their new stuff all fits but the old stuff didn’t. So, even coming from the same manufacturer, that became a challenge. So I would certainly encourage people that are shopping to consider either a boot that fits what you have or make sure when you get a boot, that you buy stuff that fits over the top of it, certainly when you’re going with the hardcore stuff.
0:25:10 – Brian Price
Yes, good point. You know that shin plate is actually… that’s a sort of focal point of the graphic design, the styling of off-road boots, and so that tends to be a little bit more exaggerated and kind of in your face and it’s a big branding opportunity. And so a lot of off-road boots, even that are used by adventure riders, tend to have migrated from that side of the product selection and different brands do a different job of it. First of all, if you’re, you know, 190 to 200 pounds, it’s not as much of a challenge. And if you’re you know 170 and under it probably is, and in between… it depends on the boot.
You know, I spoke to somebody today who’s a size 31 and he can’t get almost anything under – any off-road boot under his pants and cinch it properly around his leg, which is very important to do, and some brands are better than others, you know, Forma is a little bigger for their off-road line, up top – their adventure line is not, Gaerne is kind of in between, SIDI, the ones that you use… they tend to be the most svelte, to use a fancy word. They’re looking for the…
0:26:22 – Bret Tkacs
And to be clear for anybody that’s listening, those are the SIDI Crossfires, not the SIDI Adventure. I don’t wear the Adventure boot.
0:26:27 – Brian Price
Yes. Yes, yes, yes, they’re a little bit better. They fit under pants very easily.
0:26:33 – Bret Tkacs
And you know, if you go to SIDI’s website and you look under their touring category, that’s where the Adventure 2 comes up. It’s not listed under their off-road boot. That’s the same thing with the Forma Adventure. And the Forma Adventure is one of those boots that ends up in a lot of debate with us specifically – and I know you sell boots so I don’t have to be shy about the names I drop, but the Forma Adventure, people just swear by that boot because it’s so absolutely, incredibly comfortable. But it’s also one of those boots where we’ve seen more injuries than other boots because they’re so comfortable, because they’re so sneaker-like.
Certainly it’s frustrating for me when riders come in and they’ve specifically gone out and bought a boot to take a class with me, and then when they show up they find out that we’re not as excited about their choice as they are and I always tell them, hey look… and sometimes it’s all they can find that fits – guys that have size 14 or 15 size foot. But for me I’m like, don’t be upset about your purchase because you’re going to use that boot. That’s a great street boot, it’s great touring boot. It’s just not good for what we’re doing now, you know, off-roading and I think you’ve kind of hit the nail on the head going – look, you cannot have the perfect boot. You’re not going to have one that is a great touring boot and it’s going to be fantastic off-road protection. You’re going to have a compromise one way or the other. The more you get into this, the more you do things where you’re going to realize you’re probably going to have two sets.
I have boots that are more relaxed, that are my adventure slippers. Currently I wear the BMW Venture Grip. I’m not sure who makes them, but it’s a leather boot, it’s Gore-Tex lined, it’s right at the $300 mark. It’s a bargain of a boot, but it’s definitely not a great aggressive boot; it reminds me a lot of the SIDI Discoveries, one of the first boots that was targeted towards adventure riding, which was modeled after a trials boot.
0:28:33 – Brian Price
Yeah, it was a trials boot.
0:28:35 – Bret Tkacs
Yeah, all it was was their [Sidi] Zero, with basically a Gore-Tex liner and made of leather instead of synthetic leather; good boot for what it was on the street, but definitely not a great off-road protective boot, and I think that’s something that, as people build their budget and figure out, going ‘where do you start’? My recommendation is always going to be if you’re buying a boot and you’re new to adventure riding, go to the extreme side, get the most protective – as you put it, the most you’re willing to endure, and I’m gonna say “go beyond that”. As long as you don’t absolutely hate it, and you won’t wear them and you’re gonna ride in socks, then you’ve gone too far. But if it’s within your comfort zone – and there’s a difference between foot comfort and comfort zone but if it’s still in your comfort zone, it’s probably not enough boot, because I’m thinking that’s when you’re most likely going to need it and you’re the most naive about riding and injury and what’s going on, because you’re discovering the sport.
0:29:26 – Brian Price
Yes, and when you get accustomed to those more substantial boots you feel kind of naked when you don’t have them – you know it’s… I’m nervous sometimes when I’ll try something new. I try to test as many boots as I can and then spend at least a ride o two in them, and that’s up and down the two categories: adventure and off-road. And when I go out with a, you know, a firm boot, I just feel more normal. And sometimes when I go out with something that’s a little bit softer, it feels like riding without a helmet, right? Just that ‘oh boy, this doesn’t feel right.’
0:30:06 – Bret Tkacs
Let’s talk about those adventure riding boots for people who are just not looking for the extreme boot, and what to look for in that boot and I’m going to lead off on this one with – when I’m looking for an adventure boot, thinking of touring – I like that, that stiff sole. That’s why I’m wearing those BMW boots is they seem to have a fairly stiff sole, even though the upper is pretty soft at the ankle – Again, they have that, that shin guard that looks adventury, which I could care less about, but it does have kind of that stiffer sole so when they stand up on the bike I don’t get as fatigued. So that’s one of the things I look for. What do you look for, or suggest to people to look for, in that more relaxed adventure touring style boot instead of the off-road boot?
0:30:53 – Brian Price
First of all, I think that the five Italian-based brands: Gaerne, Sidi, Forma, TCX and Alpinestars in no order, do a better job at footwear than the rest of the industry. That’s not to say that there aren’t other models out there that are good, but I think that brand matters. There’s philosophies behind the product development and positioning and quality of a good brand and I think that that really factors in. Second, if you’re going off-road, I like full-height boots. If you’re spending more time on the road, shorty boots are good. A welt sole or a glued sole – there are advantages to both. A welt sole, I think, is a little bit better. I like to see buckles. I don’t like zippers on the inner side of the boot. That is a closure that doesn’t have adjustability. It does not alter the shape or volume of the shell of a boot and they can’t pop open.
0:31:51 – Bret Tkacs
I’m going to have to jump in and double down on that one. I definitely don’t like zippers on the inside of the boot, and I don’t like zippers on the inside of riding pants for offroad because we clamp in at the ankle -you’ll destroy that zipper on the boot just, if you’re riding properly when you do go off-road. Granted, street touring it doesn’t matter as much, but we still have to consider the fact we’re adventure riding. At some point we’re going to probably be standing riding somewhat. All right, not to cut into many times, I just wanted to go: Me too, me too.
0:32:23 – Brian Price
No sweat at all. I’m loving the conversation and I appreciate being here on the podcast. Waterproof boots are great. Gore-tex does have an extra layer of guarantee behind it. And hen there’s a whole system of manufacturing that you have to negotiate to make a Gore-Tex product – that generally leads to a slightly higher quality. You pay for it, but it’s a good thing, it has better longevity. Then everybody is concerned about wide feet and I could talk for hours about wide-fit boots. Most boots are pretty wide, despite whatever anyone says online. Most boots are pretty wide, even some of the narrow-seated models tehey’ve enlarged a little bit. The trick is getting the right shape. That’s a really complicated equation. That’s really the bulk of it. I like to sort of create this framework and then talk to individual people and hear their individual needs and bike.
0:33:17 – Bret Tkacs
You’ve really kind of addressed something that is a big concern for riders and a big challenge of going -e fit. It’s one thing if you can walk into a dealership and try on a bunch of boots, but often a lot of dealers don’t stock as much as they used to or they don’t have the right size, especially people who have an extra large foot or narrow, or they have a tough time finding a fit. How good are you at being able to help people get into a boot that’s going to fit, hopefully the first time it comes to their door? And eing that you’re an online provider, how do you handle that when you send a boot out hat doesn’t work. How does that all work?
0:33:57 – Brian Price
By now. I’m pretty good at fit. It is a very, very complex topic and so the more you learn about it, the more you realize what you don’t know. I’m pretty good at it. I keep charts and photos and measurement of people’s feet – kind of not what I aspired to do when I was younger, but I ended up doing this. Focusing on the EU size: This is a really important thing. Man, ignore the US size. Great example: Gaerne a 46 is an 11. Sidi a 46 is an 11.5. Forma a 46 is a 12. They’re all the same length. They’re all 46’s. The US size doesn’t matter, that’s just a different… it’s a conversion that they do them differently.
So look at your casual, athletic or hiking shoes. Figure out what the EU size is and that’s what you should buy for hen you’re looking at these Italian-based brands. The better the quality, the more expensive the boot. The more expensive the boot, the less likely it’s going to be stocked in brick and mortars. So the best stuff is usually a little bit harder to find and the best place to find the best stuff often is online, and that’s where a lot of people come to me. And if you get something and it doesn’t work, you can’t be an online retailer and survive if you don’t have a good return policy and we do. We make return shipping pretty easy. We don’t have any fees or penalties or anything like that. Of course, we don’t want you to wear the boots out on the bike, but that’s just a part of life and we do it pretty well.
0:35:22 – Bret Tkacs
Hey, you’ve brought up quite a few things that I didn’t know about boots and I try to stay well-versed. Obviously, that’s my profession, but I’m looking at a much broader range of information that I have to retain and I don’t get the hyper-focus on one small aspect like you do, and I think it’s wonderful to have somebody like you be able to come onto the podcast and chat and share your knowledge. But more importantly, for all those of you who are listening is to have some place that you can call, some place you can contact, and the fact that he’s willing to let you send a picture of your foot to him to try to find a boot says exactly how interested he is in doing this and he can have it, because I’m guessing that most of you that are listening I have no interest in seeing your naked feet.
0:36:07 – Brian Price
No, no, no. I was very clear to say “in a sock” – dear God, it’s hard enough as it is that way. Please, not your bare feet!
0:36:16 – Bret Tkacs
All right guys. Hey, I appreciate all you guys that are listening to this podcast and I know that they’re not always regular, but I try to wait until we have some good information, good topic and good guests, and it was nice to get somebody on that knows boots, that can talk about boots, that has the same position I do, that we’re very realistic about the fact that protection matters, but also we ride motorcycles not just for protection but for all the other things, and he’s very open to discussing that with you. Thank you very much for supporting this. Again, there are no sponsors on this podcast or on any of the videos or anything else I do, which is how we can name-drop and say good things and bad things, as we choose, and that’s the same with all the guests. Everybody comes on voluntarily; they share their information freely and we appreciate all of them for being here. Brian, thank you so much for giving us your time and your expertise.
0:37:20 – Bret Tkacs
Fantastic. Talk to you guys all later, see you on the trail.
0:37:23 – Brian Price
Thank you guys.
Transcribed by https://podium.page