by James Parchman
The complexity of the human foot is truly astounding; 25 percent of the bones in the human body are located in our feet and ankles. Each foot also has 33 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. It’s little wonder that developing a boot that both fits and performs is no easy task. During a recent trip to Pakistan, I visited the city of Sialkot, where hundreds of factories specialize in the manufacture of leather motorcycle gear. There I visited the Sigma factory that was busy producing motorcycle boots designed and marketed by Teknic.
A modern motorcycle boot like Teknic’s Defender is also extremely complex. For touring riders, the circus lion tamer and strap-and-buckle Marlon Brando styles have largely evolved into modified Star Trek designs. The Defender is attractively styled in this manner and its 11-inch height provides ample protection without being constricting. Access of the foot is easy through a side opening gusset. Closure is via a three-quarter-length zipper over which a leather side panel securely and precisely seals, using hook-and-loop fabric.
A correct fit is critical for a boot. Unlike a shoe, boots require fit at the foot, ankle and lower leg of the wearer. The Defender has a removable, sweat-resistant footbed that enhances fit and supports a body’s full weight. A motorcycle boot should also be impervious to moisture. The Defender achieves this externally by using tanned waterproof black cowhide combined with an interior Powerskin II membrane that is breathable and waterproof. During production, 100 percent of the interior membranes and completed boots are tested to ensure there is no leakage.
Sometimes we forget that the primary function of a motorcycle boot is a rider’s protection. The Defender incorporates several features designed for this purpose. These include reinforcement plates in the shin, ankle and heel. The boot’s toe area is similarly reinforced internally and padded externally, useful when competing in tire-kicking contests.
The outsole of the Defender is molded rubber of about 1-inch thickness at the heel. An internal steel shank provides arch support. The Skywalk outsole superbly fulfills twin purposes: providing grip on road surfaces while riding, and providing stability and comfort when walking. A morning was recently spent touring a large motorcycle factory while wearing these boots. Extended walking is a literal pain in many motorcycle boots, but no throbbing foot or robot walk was experienced with the Defender.
Teknic’s Defender has become this writer’s boot of choice after more than a year’s use. Riding in more heavy rains than can be recounted, there has been no leakage. The boots were also loaned to a friend for his impression. He concurred on their dryness. Fortunately, he was also wearing the boots during an accident that totaled his Harley dresser. Some slight damage occurred to his upper body and more to his pride. But his ankles and feet suffered no damage from the crash or a 50-foot slide across pavement. The left boot received some external abrasion but was otherwise undamaged.
The Teknic Defender MSRP is $129.99. It is available from motorcycle retailers and online gear suppliers in men’s sizes 8-13.
For more information: Contact Specialty Sports Ltd., 532 Wolverine Street, Rockford, Michigan 49341-1048; (616) 866-3722