When it comes to choosing a pair of riding boots there are a myriad of things that come into question. Important thoughts such as, "Will they protect my ankle area properly?" "How hard are they to get on and off?" or "Do they offer good walking traction and comfort when not riding?" And that doesn't even include thoughts around cost and aesthetics, which for most of us, are two important factors.
All of these questions make choosing that perfect set of boots quite a difficult and laborious process. How many of you have spent hours reading online reviews looking at a sea of photos only to still feel left with that question - "Is this the right boot for me?" Well, consider your questions answered, Ace! The DCC Crew has been putting the full range of Vitesse Moto's boots through some real honest to God ton-chasing coffee tasting testing over the past few months and you'll be pleased to hear the results are outstanding.
In this review we will dig deeper into the "Glove" boot, the most popular and most diverse in the entire Vitesse line-up. Stay tuned though, in the months to come we will also explore the other fine offerings Vitesse has made available for those of us chasing the ghosts of vintage speed.
First things first, I'll admit I was a bit shy to the idea of wearing a modern-ish boot like the Vitesse Glove simply being that I ride vintage bikes 95% of the time. Call me a fashionista if you will and laugh all you want, but there's just something about the way a pair of vintage boots looks and feels when you're riding a twin cylinder Cafe Racer. You know, big woolen socks over the boot, that worn and semi soft rubber under your heals and the feeling of that zipper running up the calf. It not only looks good, it feels good too. Well, after slipping on the Glove's for the first time and taking a spin around the DCC loop I can tell you that my opinion was changed about as quick a Grimeca 4LS hub can bring a CB350 from 100 to 0.
Almost immediately I felt more confident as a rider. It's as though the feeling of my foot "popping" into its place inside the V-Cockpit as I slid the Glove over my heal, the zipping of the side calf protector area and the closure of the sturdy velcro side resonated in my psyche and said "You're protected now, you can push the limit." When riding, the feeling of the strong impact resistant heal found on the Glove against the hand turned rear-sets on my trusty steed was a match made in heaven despite my initial thoughts. It was as though I had a better connection to the machine and my ability to steer it into corners tighter and faster was amplified as a result of it.
Running up to the quarter mile mark just past the shop the engine revs; 2nd, 3rd and 4th gear. I'm close to the TON, I learn hard left steering with my feet and the bike pulls towards the pavement fighting gravity. Like a champion, it wins in the end because I have control, because the Gloves that now adorn my feet give me the edge I need to push the limits of my ton-up steed that much farther. What an awesome feeling...
Running through traffic now, shifting up and down, changing lanes, dodging soccer mom's headed to the tanning booths and spin classes that make their lives worth while... Brake left, brake right, accelerate...I escape the clutches of urban riding once again. It's all a process of ease with a set of Gloves on your feet.
Surprisingly, for a boot that fits so "snug" in all the right areas it's more than easy to pivot and my shifting actually seems to be better. More exacting in the riding process. The actuation of my foot seems more in sync with the bike more than ever before. The toe kicks of my shift and brake levers are available with a moments notice and everything just feels right. Nirvana on the street..
The ecstasy felt when riding with a pair of Vitesse Moto boots is due to the employment of what Vitesse has dubbed "V-Cockpit technology" which is the centerpiece of the Vitesse brand and is the heart of Vitesse's performance package. It is a patented ankle management device that provides riders the best protection-to-comfort ratio available. A soft, wrap-around inner-boot encapsulates the foot in a comfortable cradle, offering better walking comfort and impact absorption. A rigid, tri-dimensional structure helps protect from impact. The extended forefoot construction guarantees maximum torsional rigidity, keeping the foot stable in the event of an aerial crash. And a radial monobloc chassis integrates the two other layers into a fully functional system. In lamants terms, it reunifies the function of control, stability and protection into one single piece.
Combine that with other best-in-class features such as the use of an external tibial plate for superior impact protection, sticky rubber forefoot for added traction, contoured Vitesse G last for a snug, supportive fit with a flatter toe box for a performance feel, the external calf spoiler to offer added support, an internally reinforced toe box to limit pressure points from shifting and an external, asymmetrical shift pad to limit abrasion and you've got the makings for what very well may be the most comfortable and high performance boot available. And did we mention, it looks great with cuff'd jeans, a rocker jacket and a pudding bowl? Digg it.
Having tested the Glove boot while racing at the Bonneville Salt Flats, around town here in St. Petersburg, FL and most recently on some hair-raising rides through the Alabama hills during the Barber Vintage Festival I can attest to the quality, comfort and style that the Glove line so perfectly balances giving the rider the opportunity to do just that, ride.
But that's not the only measure of a proper test for a riding boot, is it? What about the hours you spend once you get to your destination on your feet. Walking and talking with friends about bikes, kneeling over to do repairs or digging for treasure at a swap meet. You have to be comfortable and just like the previously aforementioned hightened sense of experience the Glove's offer a rider while doing what they love most, riding. They even offer respite during the down times when your two wheeled terror is parked, waiting patiently for your return and a wrap on the throttle.
The level of comfort the Glove's afford when simply walking or standing is a bit perplexing as you wouldn't expect to feel that comfortable in a riding boot that offers this much protection. You feel the sturdy heal under your foot and the crispness in your step however, do to the V-Cockpit technology, your motion is not inhibited nor your stride affected which helps tremendously with fatigue. Granted, they're not as comfortable as wearing a pair of chucks that are broken in, but after spending a solid week wearing them around the shop, at the grocery store and just about everywhere else as an additional test I can tell you that they're simply put "pretty damn comfortable" for the protection they offer.
DCC's final opinion on the Glove boots from Vitesse Moto? That for the money, you can't buy a better quality boot that offers more protection while not compromising style or aesthetic, but most importantly comfort. Head on over to Vitesse Moto's website today by [CLICKING HERE] and snag a pair for yourself, you won't be disappointed.
For the full review photo album [CLICK HERE].