Motorcycle boots are a funny thing for me. They never appear at the top of my gear wish list, in fact I don’t even pay much attention to them until the ones I’m wearing develop an ache, a sharp point, tightness, or don’t support me when getting into some nastier terrain.
With that in mind, I decided, before we headed over to Australia on a four month trek around the continent, to do a bit of research on a touring or “soft” adventure boot. There are of course more options than you can shake a pair of insoles at. Yet, one kept coming up with a barrage of opinions – the BMW Santiago boot. There’s no reason they shouldn’t, its a nice looking boot. You don’t stand out in a crowd, and they can be worn with jeans to go out to your favorite sunday cafe. They offer a decent amount of support for a non MX or off-road boot, and in true BMW RIDERS GEAR fashion they are more money than any of their competition.
The factions are split down the middle. The question of their value: are they over priced or are they the best value for your hard earned money? This is the centre of internet adventure riding controversy. I’ll leave the controversy and conspiracy to others, theories of why they are more money than their competitors, or where the Santiago’s are manufactured is BMW prerogative. I’m just here to write my thoughts after a cross-continent adventure with them.
They are very comfortable. Even when its sitting or standing on the pegs for what seems to be an insane amount of time. They’re still comfortable on a small hike to get that perfect picture. A few times I would have walked a few kilometers in them to get a waterfall photo or whatever with no issues.
They are pretty typical BMW style: understated and neutral black boots. These can be worn with off-road pants, goretex, cordura, or jeans, making these a very good all round boot. In fact, in my opinion probably a more of a “all round” boot than the BMW ALL ROUND boots I have worn previously.
Again typical BMW, with excellent build quality on the petrol and oil resistant sole, the buckles, and the leather and its seams. There was one issue. The steel toe caps tend to liberate themselves at the first time of any serious riding. I spoke with someone else on the road, and later more people online whom had the same problem. I think I would just recommend taking that toe cap off on the onset, and save wrestling with it when its half hanging off the boot and bent to all buggery.
Part of the controversy over the Satiago boots are the price. When Gaerne, Oxtar, and Sidi offer similar boots at a cheaper price it fuels the internet debate further. I think in terms of motorcycle gear, with BMW you pay a premium. You’re paying for the quality, and then the leg work of BMW’s team in finding the right manufacturer and design. It stops the guessing in a sense. I’ve tried and bought a lot of boots. If I add up some of the cheaper models I wore and then decided weren’t right for whatever reason, they would equal a truckload more than a pair of Santiagos. When it all comes down to ashes, it is with that revelation I can finally live with the extra price incurred in becoming a BMW apparel model.