Legitimate motorcycle boots generally fall into one of two categories: Superhero Chic (think garish colors and plastic buckles) and Mad Max Desert Cowboy (leather straps, unnecessary patchwork, zippers in weird places). The Los Angeles-based apparel company Aether saw an opportunity to make something more sophisticated. Enter the Aether Moto Boot.
What It Is:
This is Aether’s first foray into footwear, and in keeping with the company’s minimalist ethos, the boots are built to make a strong but subtle statement. Pebbled Italian leather and rugged Vibram outsoles give them a lifespan that’s probably longer than your motorcycle, while the biggest surprising stylistic flourish comes from the blue thread on the welt. It’s the sort of distinguishing mark that’s only visible to someone who finds themselves staring.
But what makes the boots motorcycle boots, aside from their general heft, are the four pads of D30 ankle protection. Over each malleolus, the protruding bones popping out on either side of your ankle, you’ll find a circular patch of armor strategically placed to prevent road rash.
Why We Like It:
We didn’t test the boots in a crash, and hopefully we never do. But the weight of the double-layered leather, along with the armor, implies that we’d fare as well as one can expect in a motorcycle accident.
The bigger selling point is that we’ll actually wear the Moto Boots for daily rides. Even though they’re burly enough for long, multi-day trips, they don’t scream, “I’m a motorcycle guy!” We’d feel completely comfortable wearing them to the office or during lunch appointments.
The reinforced shifting patch on the vamp is the biggest giveaway that they’re motorcycle boots, but that’s something we’ll be happy to have once the leather really softens. The boots are pretty dang stiff out of the box, so it’s easy to imagine they’ll still be in commission a decade from now.
Minimalism has a cost. While the outer armor aligns perfectly with our protruding ankle bone, the inside pad feels like it’s about 1.5 inches off the mark. Fortunately the physics of going down on a bike dictate that the outside ankle is the one most likely to need protection, so we still feel protected. In any case, the Moto Boot is still magnitudes safer than the thin boots we were wearing before. And they look just as good, if not better.
[$595; aetherapparel.com]Get it