With adventure bikes being in vogue at the moment, at least in my part of the world, adventure-touring boots have become all the rage so to speak. Going through a few adventure gear guides on YouTube reveals that the adventure-touring segment in the footwear market is not exactly the best choice in terms of protection and stiffness, at least that’s what serious off-road adventurers will tell you.
If every serious off-road adventurer will tell you to get a serious boot just in case you tip over, what about the moderately serious adventurer? I, for one, am not an avid adventure rider. I happen to ride an adventure bike for work from time to time and have yet to add one to my collection. However, the boots came first because of the recent surge of adventure-type events and bikes that I had to cover, so I decided to get a pair for myself.
That pair was the Falco Durant adventure-touring boots. Gear nuts will say that I should have gone MX or Enduro for my first pair, but should I have skipped the adventure-touring section in the moto footwear department and headed straight to MX or Enduro-specific pairs? After sliding my feet into the boots, I gathered a few thoughts after my on and off-road adventures with this particular model.
Let’s get something out of the way first because I feel that it’s something that needs to be addressed. Adventure-touring boots are built with a parallel purpose to the bikes they find themselves on, in which they can go off-road, can go on long tours, and can go wherever (somewhat). Just like taking a heavy adventure bike off-road, a dirt bike will more often than not be better than a 500-pound heavyweight with more power than you will ever need on the dirt. Though, on a tour, it’s a different story. Enduro boots or MX boots, often feel like you’re strapping leg weights on your feet, ankles, and thighs, on top of that the restriction that you get from all that protection probably won’t be too comfortable on your way to Starbucks.
I kid with that Starbucks quip (somewhat), but it’s kind of hard for comfort to coexist with protection. It’s even harder if you want all of that to coexist with style as well, but I feel that Falco did a good enough job with regard to this boot’s quality, design, and purported longevity. As a comfortable touring shoe to pair with your adventure bike that may see dirt from time to time, or perhaps a lightweight scrambler of a motorcycle that will see the trail from time to time, it seems like a good bet to get this particular model.
Throwing some semantics into the mix, I can safely say that these boots are adventure-TOURING boots, with an emphasis on the touring side of things, but there are things that give it some legitimately good traits while on the dirt—more on that later.
Italian Design and Quality
I can safely say that Falco knows how to make a good pair of boots. I find that this particular pair is a blend of form and function, with a style that’s suited for adventure bikes and also scramblers. These boots aren’t just good quality for a pair of motorcycle boots, but they’re good quality for pretty much any kind of boot, period. I’ve had my fair share of okay-quality boots and have run into problems with a few other brands. I tread carefully whenever the topic of boots is brought up, especially with regard to the construction of said pair.
The Durant features a Goodyear welted sole that’s also stitched for added durability and security. What the process will give you is a long-lasting bond between the upper and outsole of the boot and something that is unlikely to come undone for a long time. I’m usually rough on my shoes and I instantly gravitate towards pairs that have stitched soles on them, because that usually indicates that extra care has been taken to ensure that the sole stays attached to the shoe. It’s not fun to go out for a ride only for your sole to start flapping and yapping once you take your feet off the pegs. Thus, the construction deserves a bit of personal praise from me, mainly because it’s one of the reasons why I gravitated towards this model and not the others like the Falco Avantour 2 which features cemented or glue-on soles. Now, that's not knocking on the construction of other boots with glued soles, but it's just my personal bias.
Moving on, the upper is full-grain oiled leather. The pair that I got was black, but it is also worth noting that there is a brown pair available if you’re into that kind of color for your ride. As far as leather quality goes, it’s quite good from a quality standpoint and nothing like the cheaper hides you'll find on mass-market boots and leather shoes. Comfort-wise, the upper broke in really well and after the first few wears, the boot feels one-to-one with my feet. It only took about two short rides for my feet to get used to how these feel and I think that I'll still be graced with aching feet if I decided to go the MX route. After the initial break-in, I could’ve sworn I was wearing lower-cut boots. However, note that my feet are quite skinny, so your mileage may vary. Apart from that, the plastics, metals, and other panels on the boots were all stitched well and placed well. There was a slight misalignment with the inner liner where the material would bunch up, but that did not impede the functionality of the boot and is an issue that’s isolated to my pair.
I feel that this is one of the best reasons to get this boot. Wearing it around the house, on the bike, or even out on a bit of a stroll is no problem. The boots may look out of place in a casual environment, but they really don’t feel out of place on feet. I find that adventure boots are asked to do a lot of things like being protective enough for motorcycling—being able to resist water, being walkable enough for some exploring on foot, and also comfortable enough to not feel like a pair of cinderblocks. In terms of comfort, I could ride around in this pair all day. Shifting isn’t cumbersome, there is enough flexibility in the ankle area for you to go on your tip toes in case your inseam isn’t long enough for your motorcycle.
Walkability is also a pleasant surprise with these boots, and walking didn’t feel like a chore with them on. Of course, I still prefer my casual riding sneakers when I’ll be doing a lot of footwork, but let’s just say that I could spend the whole day with the Durants. The thing is, these boots are closer in construction to trials boots, such as the Balance series of models from Gaerne, however, the hallmarks that make trials boots so great for the sport can also make sense in the touring world, especially for those that ride long and encounter a bit of dirt on the way.
I find that these boots will do well on a long-winded tour, especially if I needed to prepare for the worst when it comes to rain and also mud. My feet still felt fresh after a full day of riding, and it’s a pair that I see myself bringing whenever I have a multi-day ride out through light off-road trails. On top of that, the ingress and egress have little to no drama involved. The enclosure system includes two buckles and a Velcro pad on the shaft. The boots open wide so there is no need to wrestle the boot onto your feet, which is great after a long day of riding and even some hiking.
I feel that these boots skew more heavily toward touring, but that doesn’t mean that it is a complete fish out of water on the trails. Even if there is a more touring focus with these boots, they still feature an ABS shin guard with D3O armor to protect your shin from whatever. The rubber sole is oil-resistant, and it is also relatively aggressive in its tread pattern, allowing you to hike at a moment’s notice or if you need to push your buddy out of a ditch. The sole is actually quite grippy on the trail, so you get added peace of mind when it comes to the traction on your feet, a trait that other Falco users have lauded about the brand’s on-road and off-road footwear. It’s worth noting that the Durant has a pronounced heel, more so than a traditional MX boot, and you might need to adjust your footwork on the bike slightly if you’re used to flat soles.
These boots aren’t stiff, so I’d shy away from hardcore enduro and motocross moves on this particular pair. A typical explorer’s pace is what I would adopt with this pair of boots, anything faster might bump up against the protection ceiling that this boot offers, but on that note I’m at least assured of shin, heel, toe, and malleolus protection courtesy of ABS reinforcements and D3O inserts. The sole is also stiff and crush-proof, but I think that I’d be most worried about my ankle should a heavy bike fall on top of my leg. The consolation there, however, is the flexibility and relatively light weight of the boot which would allow me to still remain limber enough to escape a 500-pound falling object. Falco’s more modern Avantour 2 is what I’d recommend if ankle crush protection and support was an important consideration.
There are added pieces of synthetic wear-resistant material on the lateral and medial side of the boot near the toe area. There is a scuff protector on the lateral side that adds an additional layer of abrasion resistance, and there is also a medial side panel that also wraps around your toe box to form a shift pad. The material is also grippier than the base upper of the boot. The same grippy material can be found wrapping the entire heel for added wear resistance.
However, one feature that I find makes this boot rather unique is the additional suede-like layer on the medial side of the calves. For most motorcycles, this section provides an adequate amount of grip for standing up and hugging the seat of the bike you’re riding on, but apart from giving your legs a nice surface to grip the bike with, it also helped shield my legs from exhaust pipes on certain bikes like let’s say the Triumph Street Scrambler while sitting down. When it came to shielding my legs against heat, it help up against high-mount exhaust pipes, cylinder heads, and generally hot engines, unlike my regular setup of riding jeans and casual riding sneakers.
Water resistance is another thing, and one of my first rides with the boot actually involved heavy rain, on which I wasn’t wearing water-resistant touring pants. The boots did let some water in, but not a lot. Caught in the same situation with casual riding boots, I know for a fact that my socks would have soaked through, but the Durant kept my feet and socks relatively dry thanks to the High-Tex membrane sewn up to two-thirds of the height of the boot. I think that my chances of keeping my feet completely dry would have been much better with a set of water-resistant adventure or touring pants that fits over the shaft of the boots, but since I was wearing riding jeans, full water resistance wasn’t assured at the time. However, for light rain showers and for splashes, the boots held up well, and there were no leaks as long as the shaft didn’t have water directly poured into it.
Also, the insole is quite comfy, and removable as well in case you want to give it a bit of a wash. The insoles are anti-bacterial, however, so it will either take a very stinky foot or quite a number of miles before the smell becomes unbearable, I reckon. My pair still smells fresh after a number of rainy and dirty rides and it'll only take a bit of TLC to bring it back to stockroom fresh condition.
A seriously comfortable boot, for a less-serious dirt rider
The most optimal rider for this boot will definitely be someone that skews more toward touring rides than off-road adventure rides. If on- and off-bike comfort, walkability, and longevity are all non-negotiables, the Falco Durant is something to consider. You do sacrifice some ankle protection in favor of walkability and all-day comfort, but for most riders whose lifestyle involves light trails and long rides with not-so-gnarly happenings, this pair of full-height boots are kind of perfect. What’s even better is the fact that for just about $250 USD, you’ll be getting a pair of decently water-resistant, reasonably protected, Italian-made leather boots that are surprisingly comfortable for a full-height pair with full-on shin protection to boot.
If you’re a little more hardcore, however, I do recommend that you look at the Falco Avantour 2 if you’re looking for something in the brand’s lineup. The additional plastic reinforcement in the ankle area makes it something of a more serious adventure rider’s boot. Otherwise, and if you really don’t need the flexibility, or are adamant about trading-off protection, then perhaps going for an MX or Enduro pair of boots will be your best bet.