Since my misguided, punk-rock youth, I’ve been a boot guy, especially black leather combat boots. Though I’m probably compensating for deep-seated inadequacies, I walk taller—literally and figuratively —in tough-guy boots. My love of boots has meshed well with my love of motorcycles. Boots that get worn the most are those that serve double duty for stylish, comfortable daily wear and versatile protection while riding.
The folks who founded Cruiserworks ride big cruisers, and they designed “a boot for Boomers who bike.” They strove for a classic look, comfort on and off the bike, safety, weatherproofness and good grip when putting your foot down. I’m not a Baby Boomer, but I certainly appreciate all of these features. Made in Ohio, Cruiserworks boots start with soles that are oil/acid resistant and walk the tightrope between softness (comfort and grip) and toughness (wear and tear). The “V-grip” pattern on the sole is designed to provide surefootedness in loose sand and gravel. Instead of a steel shank, Cruiserworks uses technology designed for cross-country ski boots: a cushioned, fiberboard footbed with a tensile strength of 4,300 pounds per square inch. When your feet are on the pegs or floorboards, vibration is spread over an area three times larger than a steel shank, which dampens the effects of the vibration. And, the broad footbed offers stability when walking on uneven terrain.
The Cruiserworks Defender boots boot stands 9 1/2 inches tall, including a 1 1/4-inch heel. Aesthetically, the lace-up design is a cross between an engineer-style work boot and a dress boot. It is made of premium, polished work boot leather with waterproofing worked into the pores of the hide rather than painted on the surface. A nice touch is the lace retention strap on each boot that secures with hook-and-loop. The toe box design is adapted from Canadian military boots, and is intended to be lightweight, tough and resistant to cold. An inner layer of Kevlar around each ankle provides an extra layer of abrasion and puncture resistance. The air-injected, antibacterial, polyurethane insoles are designed for comfort, to wick away moisture and to fight odor. The boot lining also wicks away moisture, which helps keep you cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s cold
Lots of product descriptions make all sorts of claims, but Cruiserworks Defender boots have made me a true believer. They were immediately comfortable (though the leather was a bit squeaky), and have become more so as the fiberboard footbed and leather have broken in to the shape of my feet. These are some of the most comfortable shoes I’ve worn, not just compared with other boots but with any type of shoe. Despite appearances, they are lightweight and feel nimble rather than clunky when walking or operating a motorcycle’s foot controls.
Quality is first-rate everywhere, including the tough boot laces and the nickel-plated, rust-proof brass hardware. After riding in heavy rain for more than an hour, my feet stayed mostly, but not completely, dry. This may be partly attributable to the lace-up design; some additional weatherproofing to the seams might do the trick.
At $269 these boots are a good value because you’ll have them and love them for years. Available in men’s sizes 8-14, with half sizes through 12 (Cruiserworks recommends buying a half-size larger than your usual size for best fit). A women’s version—called the Lace—is available for $239.
For more information: Contact Cruiserworks, LLC, 437 Dimmocks Mill Road, Suite 8, Hillsborough, North Carolina 27278; (800) 955-1187; Cruiserworks