These are genuinely different boots that cross the line between road and trail. I’ve been seriously impressed after wearing them daily for a few months.
That’s still a couple of inches shorter than serious motocross boots such as Alpinestars Tech 10s, but it puts them among the tallest road-orientated models on the market.
Apart from height the other feature which sticks out is the fly-reel fastening mechanism, which is produced by the Atop company and is similar to the Boa system used on other products.
For me this is the boots’ strongest asset as it makes them very easy to get on and off and allows me to clamp them to my feet in a way I’ve only previously experienced with the fiddly multiple fasteners on Sidi race boots.
Photography: Helen Meeds
I use these to commute in and out of work every day and the simplicity of the mechanism is a revelation.
I’m not sure what strength the steel wire used in the mechanism is rated to, but I imagine you could land some decent-sized tuna with it.
Some Held boots and Knox gloves use a similar system, albeit with a nylon-type thread, and in the many years I’ve been dealing with these products I have never had one returned for issues with the mechanism.
Another advantage is that these boots work well with thick calves, thanks to a four-inch (10cm) strip of velcro at the top. This benefit expands their market to a few more riders who I know have difficulty in this area.
The boots’ height means a pair of slim-fit jeans won’t fit over them, and it can be a little bit tight getting my straight-fit Oxford jeans over the top, although it’s fine once they’re on.
As long as you don’t have turn-ups it’s easier to fit the jeans inside the boots, though I appreciate that may not be your style.
Things were a little bit easier with my Rukka waterproof trousers thanks to their wide cuff opening and I was able to zip and Velcro them securely at the base, giving a great waterproof seal.
I suggest trying them on with your regular riding trousers before you commit, as this is one area where they may not work for everyone.
In the wet they have performed exactly as I’d expect from a pair of high-end Gore-Tex boots and not a drop has ever entered, even when negotiating some deep puddles with a lot of upward splash. This is where the height really comes into its own, and proves beyond any doubt that short boots really aren’t for soaking wet days.
The suede trim around the front is a bit of a dirt magnet and you’re never going to get the high-polish finish that is required for morning parade, but a quick once-over with a stiff brush and some cleaner gets rid of the worst of it.
The high and hard plastic shins will win points with anyone who has encountered a high footpeg in their lives, and the Groundtrax branded soles have a pattern that is fine for gentle green laning.
I have used the boots briefly off-road and the grip they gave on the pegs was well above what you’d expect from a road-going boot, and a lot more than I got from my Michelin Pilot Road 4 sports-touring tyres when riding on dirt!
They also have machine-washable Ortholite insoles, which are claimed to help keep your feet comfortable and moisture-free. They certainly seem to work well for me as clammy feet have never been an issue when wearing these boots.
I thought I may need to adjust my bike’s gear lever to suit the boots, as I have when trying motocross boots on the road, but this concern was unfounded. I can click away at the lever to my heart’s content and there is plenty of feel through the sole for rear brake modulation.
The way these strap to my legs gives a reassuring feeling of security that is matched by few other hoof covers. I’ve worn them all day without any comfort issues and while I wouldn’t want to climb Everest in them, I suspect they could do the job if called upon.
If you’re looking for a serious boot that could cope in all weathers and all road conditions I have absolutely no problem recommending these.
The only downside is that getting your trousers over them takes a little longer than a regular pair, but for me the quality feel of these at the end of your legs more than outweighs that small concern.