As a new baby rider, I used to wear laced-up combat boots, until I caught a lace on some piece of my motorcycle and nearly toppled over simply because my foot was stuck and I could not put it down. Adrenaline dictated I break the lace rather than drop the bike (hooray for old, worn-out laces, I guess), and I swapped to a pair of zippered Harley-Davidson branded boots which were heavy leather but not armored.
Some months later a minivan helped me off my bike by broadsiding me out of a side street, mistaking me for a gap in traffic. My ankle was caught between the minivan’s front bumper and my motorcycle’s engine case. The way that crash happened, I’m not sure any boots would have completely protected my foot, but the ones I was wearing sure didn’t do much. Since then (and after 2 months in a cast and 3 on crutches) every time I ride I wear really well-armored race boots, and have simply gotten used to them being terrible to walk in. So that’s where I’m coming from with this review.
The fine folks at Dainese have sent me these Metropolis Motorbike Shoes (yes, shoes, not boots) for review. They are definitely lacking in the shin protection department, but what they lack in protection they make up for in comfort. How’s that for a tradeoff? You will have to work that out for yourself.
If you are coming from riding in T-shirts and jeans, and you want just one step up in the protection department without having to change your shoes or be faced with wearing squeaky, uncomfortable, ridiculous looking, armored superhero race boots all day, these may be the ticket for you. If there are summer days that you just cannot be arsed to pull on a tall, heavy pair of boots, well, these are short and breezy and are definitely better than running shoes. If you regularly take short trips and don’t want to gear all the way up, these can be your daily walkers.
The soles are relatively thick rubber but not stiff, and they’re pretty walkable. The laces give me a little bit of the heebie-jeebies thinking of my near-tipover due to tangling my lace with the bike, but so far I have tucked them in behind the tongue and they’re just fine.
There’s a double-layer of suede over the toe where the bike’s shifter makes contact with the boot, and I will say this: I am glad I’m not riding a BMW airhead or an old K75 in this footwear or I would be bruised from preloading the shifter on those grumpy transmissions. There is armor in them, though: the shoes have circular pucks sewn into the fabric to cover each side of both your ankles.
Are they touring boots? No way. They are not remotely waterproof and leak in the rain. Wet feet are not such a big deal if your trip is short, but I will tell you, the black dye in these boots bleeds into your socks and your feet when you ride in the rain, and that isn’t pretty. Dainese offers them in a less-breezy waterproof variant, though, so that can be mitigated (or, if you are a fair-weather rider, these are not your concerns).
Overall I like them; their off-bike comfort really does make up for some shortcomings in the armor department, for my own personal safety tradeoff calculus. Where they really fail, though, is in reentry. You can lace them up to be comfortable and take them off just by unzipping that side zipper, but you can’t (well, I can’t, anyway) get them back on without loosening the laces. It’s a struggle. Keep your shoes on.