Review: Icon Elsinore Boots

boots

Icon 1000 Elsinores, fresh out of the box

I’m not a “stereotypical” female when it comes to footwear purchases. Unlike many women whose collections rival that of Imelda Marcos, I usually go for quality over quantity; I buy relatively expensive shoes with the intention of wearing them until they fall apart.

20131027_111043

Old Harley boots…still lots of life left!

I bought my Harley-Davidson riding boots back in 2003, long before I had a bike. I just really liked the boots, and my fashion sense has always been a little…different. Since I started riding I’ve put a lot of miles on them, and they’re starting to show their age. One of the hasps broke somewhere between Deer Lake and Rocky Harbour last year, so the strap has been held on with duct tape ever since. The top of the left boot is showing wear from the gear shift, and the soles are well-worn. Other than that, they’re holding up incredibly well, which is what I expected given what I paid for them. I didn’t really intend to buy new boots this season, but when I saw the Icon Elsinores I really couldn’t help myself and made up every excuse I could think of to justify the purchase.

73ElsinoreRightSide

1973 Honda Elsinore. Photo credit: theowencollection.com

The boots’ name comes from the Honda CR200M Elsinore. The very first production motocross bike, it hit the showroom floor in 1973. The reason these boots are called Elsinore is quite obvious, they’re dripping with vintage appeal. Actually they look like a cross between 1970’s motocross boots and something that Mad Max would wear. The Icon 1000 line has taken on a post-apocalyptic theme which really appeals to me on some level, as does the recently popular “survival bike” genre.

The most “in your face” styling feature is the five adjustable straps. But fear not! You have to adjust these straps only once, because there’s also a zipper on the inside of the boot. There are no other boots on the market that have the “bad-ass” appeal that these do. Go ahead, go to a distributor’s website and search women’s motorcycle boots. I dare you to say that the Elsinores don’t jump right off the page! I’ve even gotten compliments from people who know NOTHING about motorcycles…that’s a good sign!

Of course, I didn’t base my purchasing decision on looks alone. I wear motorcycle boots for one reason: safety. And these boots have serious protection. There’s a steel shank in the sole, to keep your foot from crumpling. The shin area is reinforced to protect the shin bone from an inopportune meeting with the foot peg. There’s even plastic protectors that cover that boney part of your ankle…I think they call it the malleolus. Actually the way they’ve designed the inner ankle protector to fit around the zipper is really cool:

20131027_112723

When you pull up the zipper, the protector sits firmly on your ankle bone.

20131027_112848

The shinplate is a stylish, protective feature

I ordered these boots online, which is always a gamble size-wise. I had read that they fit true to size, so I ordered a 7.5. I was a little dismayed when I first tried them on, because they felt just barely too small. They were also incredibly stiff, and I felt like I was wearing those old-time dive boots like you see in the cartoons. Then I realized that these boots are THICK LEATHER, and will stretch and conform to my feet. Before I wore them on the bike I had to wear them around the house for weeks so that I would have enough range of motion to upshift…through doing this I realized that the boots also look great with pink Betty Boop pyjama pants.

When I had them sufficiently broken in, I finally went for a ride with them on. I had read that the large toebox in these boots sometimes interferes with the gear shift, and many people have to adjust their gear shift lever in order for the boot to fit under it. I didn’t have that issue, but I do have to move my foot in a slightly different motion to get it under the lever. No biggie. Other than that, the boots are COMFY, and a lot warmer than my Harley boots. The soles are nice and grippy, and the thickness of the soles is a bonus for someone with a tall bike and short legs.

The boots feel great off the bike as well, and while I wouldn’t recommend hiking Gros Morne with them on, walking around doing some mild sight-seeing is just fine.

The only drawback I see with these boots is the fact that they’re not waterproof, which I knew when I was buying them. I haven’t been caught in the rain with them yet, which is a miracle considering the climate I live in. I know from experience that water will go in through the zipper and proceed to soak my socks and ruin my day. Nothing that plastic bags on the feet can’t fix though. After some consideration I’m actually considering buying cheaper waterproof boots for touring. I really don’t want to ruin my Elsinores with dirt, mud, and other inescapable realities of logging serious miles!

I’ve heard other riders say that Icon puts fashion over function, and that their gear doesn’t stand up to wear and tear as well as other brands. I’m not sure what products they’re basing that on, but I currently own two leather Icon jackets (Merc Hero and Hella) and I have had no issues with them whatsoever. I have to say that the initial quality of these boots looks REALLY good, and I hope to get many years out of them.

It’s nearing the end of riding season here in Newfoundland, so it will be another 8 or 9 months (*sigh*) before I’ll be able to update this review, after I put a few thousand more miles on the boots. Now that I think about it, it’s really too bad that they’re not waterproof…they’re so comfortable that I’d probably wear them out and about all winter long.

UPDATE! July 29, 2014

I’ve now put about 6000km on these boots, and I ‘m ultra-impressed. They have broken in beautifully and feel like an extension of my foot when I put them on. I have no issues with premature wear, and everything is holding up as it should. I’ve worn them for 12 hours at a time and felt no discomfort whatsoever.

I did adjust the shift levers on both my Vstrom and my YZF600R, and that made it much easier to fit the boot underneath to upshift. The thicker sole meant that I also had to adjust the rear brake lever on the YZF.

If the Elsinores were waterproof they would make great ADV gear because of their comfort, safety features and grippy-ness when standing on the pegs.

Oh, and they still look AWESOME 🙂

 

Advertisements

Posted on October 27, 2013, in Reviews: Bikes, Gear, Books and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Those are truly gorgeous boots, and the safety features are impeccable! I have a lot of friends who ride – and though I don’t, yet, I LOVE bikes. We frequently get to talking about gear, and get interrupted by eavesdroppers asking “why is gear important, though? Can’t I just buy a cheap-ass pair of boots and jacket from, like, Winners?” Well yah, you can. You’ll look wicked fashionable… But you’ll be on trouble should anything happen!

    Your bike is gorgeous as well. Inspired to work on my own license this winter and be on the road by mid-season! Perhaps I’ll catch you around home 😉

  2. Thanks so much for reading! Motorcycle gear HAS to be protective, number one…but more and more manufacturers are making gear that looks great too…bonus!

    Good luck with getting your license! I strongly recommend doing a motorcycle safety course, you’ll learn so much more than if one of your friends teach you. 😀

  1. Pingback: Ride Newfoundland | How To Layer for Riding

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Fixed Seat Rowing

for rowers, coxswains, and coaches

G E O R D I E B I K E R

Goodtown: a collection of things two-wheeled

Travels on a Motorcycle

Overland journeys, allotment dilemas, cycling, open water swimming and walking a dog.

chickthatrides

Dirt, asphalt and other shenanigans

Daily Bikers

Ride, Wrench, Write, Repeat

The Footloose Nomad

A (little) travel Blog.

Nomadic Motorcycle

by Jayson D. Ambrose

lisaon2wheels

Lisa on Two Wheels. Motorcycle Enthusiast.

All things bike

The incessant ramblings of two bikers

A Pair of Stroms

V-Strom Adventure Riders

%d bloggers like this: