By Olaf Wolff
[This BMW ProTouring Motorcycle Boots Review was originally published in the April 2009 issue of Rider magazine]
Doing this evaluation on BMW’s professional touring boots turned into something like one of those over-the-top European road test commercials, where you get slammed with nearly every conceivable harsh weather road scenario, one after the other. It began with heavy, wet, morning coastal fog and quickly kicked into brutal desert heat, peaking at 111 degrees. That was before breakfast. The day ended in Flagstaff, Arizona, in drenching rain and thunder. After settling into a motel, I walked to dinner without giving a thought to changing shoes. BMW ProTouring boots are billed as having year-round utility, but sometimes it only takes a day to fully appreciate all the characteristics of genuine versatility.
BMW’s ProTouring boots are constructed from 100 percent full-grain cowhide and given a hydrophobic treatment, which forces rain to bead up and roll off. Say what you will about substitutes, but Gore-Tex, the original, waterproof, breathable membrane is still the one. With this winning combo of climate control lining the inside and the tough leather exterior, my feet felt like they were in little portable Barcaloungers.
The soles are oil and fuel resistant, and they’re superbly abrasion defiant. This ride totaled 3,200 miles; there were plenty of times the boots touched the road before I had come to a complete stop, yet overall wear is negligible.
There’s a protective shield of polyurethane rubber that wraps around the toes and halfway along the boots’ exterior, and a rectangular patch of it on the left boot where it meets the shift lever as well. The insoles are made of what BMW refers to as “function fleece.” You can remove and wash them, and they’re listed as permanently anti-bacterial. Can’t vouch for that either way–permanent is a long time–but they’re still working perfectly after a good, long run.
The textile Cordura insert supporting the upper part of the foot encourages more efficient thermal exchange, so they run a tad cooler when it’s needed. The contour heel design and the hook-and-loop cinch straps on the side of each boot provide a means to customize your fit. It all goes into explaining why these boots feel as supremely comfy walking to your bike as they do riding it.
The way the boots slide on and off with the greatest of ease became a much-loved feature at the end of the first day. There’s the traditional entry zipper, but the hook-and-loop closures on both sides of the boots instead of the conventional single closure make a distinct difference. Designing the boots to open on both sides creates a clamshell-type opening that allows the front instep-guard portion to fold forward. This was a particularly endearing feature when I finally removed the boots, just as it was when I had geared up in the wee morning hours.
It’s really not overstating things to label these professional touring boots, and it’s not the least bit surprising they perform at the highest level without ever breathing hard, and look marvelous while doing so. So, it’s also not startling that they’re a bit pricey, but this is one of those situations where you get precisely what you pay for. The ProTouring Boots retail for $359 in men’s sizes 6.5-13.
For more information: See your BMW dealer or www.bmwmotorcycles.com