Friday, April 2, 2010

Quest for Little Red Riding Boots

Okay, so I don't really want red riding boots per se, but I would like a pair of nice new shiny black ones. I figured I'd already done the Goldilocks post so I might as well keep the 'Fairy Tale' theme going since that is what trying to find new boots locally is turning out to be.

I have been using my current riding boots since late 2001 early 2002. I bought them before I took my MSF course in the fall of 2002. I went to our local Coastal Farm Supply and found some nice H H Brown Opanka Packer boots that lace up 8" up the calf and they have been good to me. (see pic to left) The problem is they have a higher heel than what I would like. I've looked halfheartedly over the last few months for new boots since these are not bad for the passenger riding I've been doing, but since I now have my own ride the search is on for more rider friendly boots.

We do not have many options locally for purchasing riding boots. I can buy western style all day, but not motorcycle specific boots. Well, technically if I wore men's boots my options would open up considerably. What I should say is that there are not many options locally for women's motorcycle boots. We have one Honda shop here in Corvallis that seem to be geared more towards off road riders. No luck there. Eugene has a few more options but nothing really in the way of gear for the ladies. Our favorite motorcycle shop in Eugene has a few options but nothing that seems to fit.

I have had three ankle surgeries back in the day on my left ankle due to osteochondritis and I still get a little touchy when interior shoe/boot seams rub it the wrong way. A certain height heel will also cause my ankle to give way while walking. This combination poses an additional challenge when looking for boots.

We've been to all the motorcycle shops in Eugene, Portland, Beaverton, Salem, Corvallis, and Albany and still no luck. I did find a pair that wasn't too bad in Albany when I bought my jacket but they just weren't right and I couldn't spend the over $250 on them when they didn't feel right. On Sunday we were in Salem and stopped by Cycle Gear and I tried on the only style of women's boots they had and they weren't bad. But the sizing was a little off. No half sizes. The price was better at $139 but the fit still wasn't right. After stopping in Albany on the way home to look at a 'boot shop' and finding all mens boots I looked at Troubadour and said, "Finding ladies riding boots is like shopping for men's nail polish." Sure places sell boots, but not ladies. Sure drug stores sell nail polish, but not men's nail polish. Think about it.

Sunday night I finally started looking on the Internet. I figured if I could find some brands and styles maybe I could find a place semi-local to try some on. I did find a few potential models but don't know if I could find them locally or not. I haven't ventured to order shoes, let alone boots online before so I don't know how well it would turn out. I could always order two sizes and send back whichever doesn't fit. Or just order one size and get two styles and pick which ever is more comfy and send the other back.

Some potential contenders I've found are as follows:

Ariat Dynamite H20 Boots I believe Lucky would call these 'big stompy boots'. They are a fair price at $140.

I like these with the neato retro look Women's Xelement Black Siren Strap Motorcycle Boots. Function and frosting at an online sale price of $75, regularly $150. They do have a zipper on the inside leg for easy on/off as well. And I like that I can tighten the straps to cinch them down around the calves.

I also find the Xelement Advanced Dual Strap Leather Boots slightly intriguing. I like that they have shin protection and seem to have more impact protection that the others I have listed. I am worried about the bulk as my calves are quite small, but the few reviews seem good. Have any of you heard of this brand before? A good price at $80 on clearance from $150.

My favorite pair out of all I've seen online are the Harley Davidson Melia Boots, but I have a hard time bringing myself to advertise for, or wear Harley branded gear. No offense to the brand but I think too many people already fork over good money to advertise on their behalf. They too have a zipper on the inside leg for easy on/off. They are a fair deal at only $130 and Troubadour says go for it, no one will see the Harley badging.

Troubadour did some additional online searching and came up with a few other styles that might be good in the $150 - $200 range. Just not sure what to do at this point.

So.... any ideas out there on potential riding boots? What are you ladies using and why do you like or dislike them? I would try mens but my feet are so small that I need a size 5.5 to 6 in boys (mens aren't small enough) and it seems you just can't find them outside of off road boots. Help and advice are always welcome.

-Au Revoir

"Five years ago, we thought of the Web as a new medium, not a new economy."~ Clement Mok

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