After too many years of wearing steel-toe work boots as motorcycle boots, I decided it was finally time to retire the old clodhoppers for something more legit. So in April 2012 I considered my needs, riding style, and desired features and honed in on the right boots for me.
At the time, I was riding a caféd ‘77 Kawasaki KZ650B1 and my toes, from time to time, made contact with the pavement while turning. How did this happen on such a bike, you may ask? I really don’t know. But they did and having thick lug-type rubber soles catching on the macadam like a high-speed pencil eraser invoked a particular level of panic that I cared not to experience again.
Requirement #1: Toe Sliders.
While I did enjoy the weekend romp in the Brandywine River Valley, most of my riding took place in my 35-mile commute from Wilmington to Philadelphia. If you are familiar with the area then you know how perilous and unpredictable I-95 can be during rush hour so the highest level of protection was also a priority for me. I like the additional bracing that the Sidi ST, Alpinestars SMX-Plus, Dainese TRQ, and TCX S-Race boots provide. These boots combine an excellent balance of lateral bracing and flexibility for shifting, braking, and walking. Now, I know what you’re thinking... “what’s a café rider doing wearing a modern racing boot?” You make a compelling argument. In my book, however, modern function trumps old-school style when it comes to safety. Also, my ankles would look even goofier in casts.
Requirement # 2: Hinged Ankle.
Remember what I said about commuting? My round-trip commute is 70 rush-hour miles that account for about 2 hours a day in the boots. Needless to say, comfort and fit would be key since I would feasibly spend at least 10 hours per week in these.
Requirement # 3: Comfort.
Once all the options were pooled together, I landed on the Dainese TRQ Race Out boots. While the Sidi ST, Alpinestars SMX-Plus, and TCX S-Race boots would have worked out equally as well, I favored the slightly simpler styling of the TRQ’s since they were all black with the exception of the single grey stripe up the side.
At the time of writing this review (Oct 2012), I have logged about 3,000 miles since purchasing the TRQ’s and have no regrets, qualms, or snide remarks. They have certainly performed as expected. Fortunately, I have not had to test the safety of the “D-Axial jointed anti-ankle twist back system” but I am comforted knowing it’s there if I need it.
My biggest praise for the TRQ Race Out boots is definitely their supreme level of comfort underneath riding pants or over my Racing Leather Suit. From a fit perspective, I own them in size 43/10 and they fit me perfectly. My feet are of average “D” width and I measure 10.5 on the Brannock device. For reference, I wear size 10’s in my Puma street shoes and Sperry’s (yes, I have a preppy streak from time to time) and 9.5 in my Cole Haan dress shoes. The D-Axial joint allows for forward and backward mobility while maintaining lateral rigidity which makes these boots easy to accommodate more or less aggressive riding positions. I have since entered into the modern age, bikewise, with a 2008 Honda VFR800 Interceptor. The riding position is definitely different than that of my old Kawi but the boots perform wonderfully on both bikes providing excellent support and feedback from foot controls. I’ve been comfortably wearing these with REV’IT! Tour Winter and Summer socks (also highly recommended) in temperatures ranging from 40 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit respectively.
Surprisingly, the Dainese Race Out's also provide great support off the bike. In June, I had to pick up my KZ650 from a local repair shop. Having no ride to the shop at the time, my only option was to walk one and a half miles in my TRQ’s. I was concerned how they would perform but was pleasantly surprised. While I certainly did not feel like I was walking on air, I did not necessarily feel like I was wearing race boots either. They wouldn’t be my first choice for hiking or long walks on the beach, but they did their job and were comfortable in doing so. On that note, I’ve also occasionally forgotten to bring a change of shoes with me when commuting to RevZilla so I’ve had to wear these through my typical 9-hour workday as well. I’m not convinced that Dainese had that kind of use in mind when designing the TRQ Race Out but if you find yourself in these boots all day, you won’t be disappointed.
The Dainese TRQ boots are available in several colors and have other options depending on your needs such as an “Air” model that provides increased ventilation, an “In” model that utilizes Dainese’s Boot-to-Suit system, and a “D-WP” model that is waterproof. For riders who don’t need toe sliders but desire ultimate waterproofing and breathability, the TRQ is also available in “Tour Gore-Tex” trim. Bottom line: If you are looking for a highly protective boot that provides excellent on- and off-bike comfort, then I’d suggest you add the Dainese TRQ range of boots to your list.
-- Joel P.