by Bruce Mike

So I went to Daytona Bike Week this past March, (story on page 10). Before I left I wanted to make sure I had the necessary gear, which is something I always do before attending a motorcycle event. For some reason I almost always feel the need to buy something new. I’ve purchased helmets, seats, jackets and for Daytona, it was boots.

As you can see by the photo, I have lots of boots. There’s a good chance that if I dug around a little more, I could have uncovered a couple of more pairs. All the boots you see were purchased specifically for riding. I know, it’s kind of Imelda Marcos like. When I saw them all piled up like that, it clearly illustrated for me that this boot thing might be a problem. What I find encouraging is that the pair I bought for Daytona are turning out to be, quite possibly, the most perfect pair of riding boots I’ve ever owned.

My problem with footwear stems from the feet I have been blessed with. I share foot characteristics with Barney Rubble or maybe a Hobbit. My feet are really wide, and I have very high arches. Also my calves are like tree trunks. You put this all together and the my choices in foot protection are limited.

My requirements for good boots are the following; they must breathe, protect my ankles, be comfortable to walk in for extended periods of time and be durable. If they are not water-proof or water-resistant, then they need to dry out quickly. Unfortunately for my bank account, I have come by these requirements by buying boots that have met some or none of them. It’s a trial and error system I have developed over the years that I use in quite a few areas of my life. It has worked for me but it hasn’t been cheap. It is all directly related to my impulsive spending habits. That and I have a tendency to do the same thing 5 or 6 times before I learn from it. It used to be 10 or 15 times, so I am getting better.

These perfect boots I got are Alpinestars Harlem Air Boots. They have a funny name but they fit like a glove and were comfortable from the moment I put them on. I think I’ve finally come to the conclusion that I don’t have to break-in footwear. It’s been my experience that they don’t stretch enough from wearing them and if they aren’t comfortable when I first put them on, I should look for a different pair. I should mention that I own a pair of boot stretchers that have never worked. Which I’m pretty certain has more to do with my unrealistic expectations than it does with the stretchers doing what they are designed for.

These Alpinestars cost me $160. I have a rule that I won’t spend more than $200 for something I put on my feet. I’ve never broken this rule but when I look at the cumulative cost of my little collection I’m somewhere between $600 and $800. That’s a lot of money that I could have spent on other stuff I don’t really need. I think I may have finally learned my lesson with riding boots. Hopefully this will migrate into other areas of my life because when I was pulling all these boots out of the closet, I came across a lot of jackets that at the time they were purchased, I really needed them.


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