I admit it; I didn’t put a lot of research into motorcycle boots before I purchased the Contours ($459.00 CDN). My requirements were clear even if my research was non-existent: I needed boots that were waterproof, not water-resistant, waterproof! Having been caught in cow floating rain while touring keeps the need for such things fresh in a person’s mind.
Touring also means a lot of daily living takes place in your boots, and we’re not just talking evil fungal colonies, so they need to fit for walking in towns, cities and deserts, plus the occasional inexplicable rock-climbing urge at Joshua Tree. And there are the safety concerns. To top off my requirements the boots needed to have a style to match my ride of the time the K1200RS. On the spec sheet the Contours did all this.
The claim of 100% waterproof with a Gore-Tex membrane and made from “breathable cowhide with a hydrophobic treatment” holds true. The Contours are waterproof; I’ve yet to find a more weather-resistant piece of gear. Actually, they need little spigots to let the water out when it runs down the inside of your suit turning your boots into twin aquariums. This is not a failing of the boots design, but of the rest of my gear during a torrential February downpour heading North out of San Francisco.
Practical daily use (when not full of water) is eased by massive Velcro fastener flaps, which make for easy entry and provide weather coverage for the zippers. Non-slip, “fuel and oil resistant rubber soles” are good for treading about in the real world, a touring must. And for orthotic-wearing biomechanical nightmares like myself, walking comfort is improved when your inserts replace the removable insole. For a few this will improve an already very comfortable product, but it has a downside.
High profile. On the bike the Contour’s height dictated that either the shift lever or I would have to be adjusted. But, while initially cumbersome, the boots broke in and gained more flex, alleviating shifting difficulties a bit.
Other peeves? Only one really; the Contours scuff and mar easily. After only a 12,000kms of ownership they looked much the worse for wear in comparison to a set of Wind boots now 62,000kms old and still going strong (except for the sole). But regardless of appearance the Contours maintained their watertight standing.
The Contours also add to your safety. The back of the boot from top to bottom is covered a reflective material called Dynatec, effectively turning your ankles into a disco ball when hit by the lights of unaware cagers around you; the trick part is it’s done without the material looking overly reflective. A nice design touch.
For physical protection in the event of a get-off the boots feature shin protectors and ankle gel-pads. Not over-built or exo-skeletal, but these safety features proved effective in an unfortunate test.
The get-off was a low side at about 120kph in a descending radius corner. The bike proceeded me off the road and over an embankment, landing about 50 metres down the ravine, luckily clearing the way of fence posts and barbed wire… except for the one piece of wire that snagged my ankle, rapidly decelerating me and allowing me to bungee to a spot only 10 metres down.
These boots withstood the incident with only a minor separation of seams on the left boot and a number of minor scratches and laceration on the right where the barb in the wire sliced merrily along. They also ensured that I came away with only torn ligaments on both the medial and lateral sides of the ankle.
All told for a touring boot these did very well, in fact I am still wearing them. Even after the crash and with ripped seams they are still 100% waterproof! And even better, now they have an excuse for looking bagged out.