If you’re a rider, there are few things more frustrating than hurting yourself badly enough that you can’t ride. Funnily enough, the frustration and anger levels you may feel about such a situation magically rise in accordance with the amount of time you spend away. I know, I know—correlation is not causation, but the math seems reasonably clear.
For those not familiar with me, I live in Chicago. It’s a place with some pretty notable winter weather. As such, I don’t usually ride year-round—although I’ll continue to ride when it’s quite cold out. There are usually at least a couple to a few months where I don’t get to ride, unless there’s a press trip that gets me out of my usual geographic area. As a result, when warmer weather draws near, the excitement about being able to ride again tends to rise to a fever pitch.
Drop It Like It’s Ow
Like any rider in an area that experiences winter probably would, I scheduled a necessary medical procedure over the winter in early 2023. That way, I figured, I’d be good to go when it was riding season. As it turned out, I only had a couple of rides in the early part of the season where I was just about back to full strength—and then I sprained my ankle.
Never mind riding; I was having trouble just walking. Also, there are stairs in my house, which were awful. Truthfully, though, the absolute worst part was the knowledge that if I’d just been wearing boots with better ankle protection, I probably would have been fine. (I’d dropped a bike on my foot, and if that sounds dumb to you, just imagine how dumb it felt to be the one to do it.)
Anyway, after a few miserable, bikeless weeks that felt more like months, I was almost back to 100 percent riding fitness (again). Following a decidedly inauspicious start to the season, I was also determined to up my boot game.
I’m a firm believer in all the gear, all the time (or its more popular acronym, ATGATT). However, as anyone who’s crashed can tell you, it’s not enough to just wear any gear that fits. Sometimes you need to reconsider your options—and sometimes, you unfortunately must learn that fact the hard way.
Rev’It! Discovery GTX Boots
The Rev’It! Discovery GTX boots are meant to be an all-around protective, comfortable, stylish, and understated touring boot. Features like a breathable Gore-Tex lining and a Vibram sole are both extremely practical and just, very simply, quite nice. However, it’s all the protective reinforcement at the shin, surrounding the ankle, and gently guarding the toes against crush injuries that really make these boots.
Well, no—that's not entirely true. All those protective features wouldn’t help a whole lot if these boots didn’t also fit extremely well. Arguably the coolest feature on the Rev’It! Discovery GTX boots is their Boa adjuster system. The clicky adjuster lets you quickly and easily dial in exactly the right fit around your ankle and lower calf, in a way that mere laces and zippers never could.
As a person who didn’t learn to drive (or ride) until I was an adult, I grew up walking a whole lot—and I have the monster calves to prove it. To make things more difficult, at the same time, I have pretty average-to-small ankles. The combination of these two things can make it challenging to find boots that fit well.
The good news in 2023 is that boots with Boa adjusters, like the Rev’It! Discovery GTX, can accommodate whatever combination of narrow ankle and strong calf muscle you might have. After snugging up the adjuster, your ankle is firmly and comfortably supported. There’s no worrying wallowing feeling, like you might get with some other boots. At the same time, your calf is also comfortably ensconced inside the boot, and secured in place with the sturdy Velcro closure and tough shin guard that goes over the top of the Boa adjuster panel.
Once you get used to simply being able to twist the dial to get your boots secured on your feet, it becomes second nature. Twist n’ go—and that’s well before you touch your bike’s throttle.
The Riding Experience
I’ve been wearing this pair of Rev’It! Discovery GTX boots for most of the 2023 season. While they’re obviously made for touring and/or adventure touring, they’re comfortable on all kinds of bikes. Depending on the pants you’re riding in (and your calves), you can either tuck the pants inside these boots, or pull them down over the outside for a more incognito look.
No matter what you choose, they’ll keep you well supported, comfortable, and stable on your bike. That ankle support is especially confidence-inspiring when you’re standing on the pegs, and the Vibram soles grip exactly how you want them to.
While I’m certainly not suggesting that you purposely roll a wheel over your toe box or drop a bike on your foot to test them out, I am here to tell you that if you have bike-related mishaps in these boots, there’s a significant chance that your foot will come out of it just fine. These boots are extremely good at their primary job, which is protecting your feet and ankles.
The Walking Experience
As a touring boot, the second thing that something like the Rev’It! Discovery GTX boots should theoretically be good at is comfort. Once you’ve dialed in the fit on your feet and ankles and closed that Velcro shin guard, they might seem a little stiff at first. I quickly adjusted, though—and the more I walked, the more comfortable I was.
They’re like any boots (motorcycle or otherwise) that just require a little bit of time to acclimate yourself. I wouldn’t even call it a break-in period; they’re much more comfortable than that, at least to my feet.
Colors, Sizing, Price
To keep things simple, Rev’It! Offers the Discovery GTX boots in your choice of black or brown. I’ve been wearing the brown boots, and it’s a soft, fawn-like shade of brown that goes well with a lot of things. They’re understated enough that if you tuck them inside your pant legs, non-riders might not even realize that they’re motorcycle boots. If that’s a thing that matters to you, this unobtrusive level of protection and comfort could be something to keep in mind.
In my experience, the Rev’It! Discovery GTX boots fit true to size. Follow the size chart for these boots, take measurements with a tape measure, and you should be fine in terms of length. I have an average-width foot (neither wide nor narrow), and these boots fit me well. Your mileage may vary if your feet are either very wide or very narrow.
Rev’It! sells motorcycle gear all over the world, and pricing may vary by region. In the US, the MSRP on these boots is $599. They’re definitely not cheap, but they are very, very good and comfortable. It’s up to you if it’s worth it, but I’ve been having a difficult time wanting to ride in any other boots since I got them.