River Road Ranger Harness Leather BootsRead Reviews Buy on Amazon
Boots are an integral part of the safety gear you should be wearing while on a motorcycle. I’ve heard too many horror stories of riders just wearing tennis shoes or (*cringe…*) ‘Flip Flops’ when they crash.
Shoes like that give you no ankle support or abrasion protection which can leave a downed rider missing half a foot.
I have worn and tested everything from motorcycle racing boots to moto specific riding shoes, but this was the first opportunity I had to test something a ‘cruiser’ rider would wear.
Construction & Look
The first thing that stuck out about these boots was their look. They definitely have a certain style to them, one that would fit more comfortably on a harley davidson or Honda Shadow rather than my 2001 Kawasaki ZX6R. That didn’t deter me though and I was pleasantly surprised that they fit right in with my usual riding gear. The toe of the boot was even thin enough to easily slip under the footswitch to change gears.
They are made out of full grain oiled leather with steel rings secured by leather straps at the ankles. This doesn’t leave any room for adjustment that I could see, so you have to make sure that you get the right size when ordering these boots. They also have a large heel compared to what I am used to wearing, with the heel itself coming in at over an inch.
All the motorcycle boots I’ve worn were primarily made for racing and so they are almost uniformly flat on the bottom. Getting used to the heel took some work, but after a while I really started to like it. It really grabs onto the pegs when I’m on my motorcycle, and I imagine this is even better if you had forward controls like you would on a cruiser style bike. The added heel also made me a bit taller which was a bonus on and off the bike!
The boots seem very well made, the leather is extremely high quality and it hasn’t even scuffed or torn at all during the review process. I’ve ridden in the wind, rain, and the burning sun and the boots have held up incredibly well for the past two months. I don’t think River Road claimed their Ranger boots are waterproof, but they are definitely water resistant right out of the box. They use Goodyear welt construction which means they can be resoled later if you wear them down to nubs but I think you would have to walk a thousand miles to wear these boots down.
I honestly have to say I’m not sure how I feel about these boots. I wantto love them, I mean they just look so damn badass! I’ve gotten a couple compliments while wearing them which only adds to my desire to like them despite their faults. But faults they do have… The first thing I noticed when I put them on is the boot itself is very skinny. It was the right size concerning the length of the foot (I wear US 10 1/2), but the width of the boot made my foot feeling squished. This was partially remedied by wearing thin socks, but if I had by chance put on socks that were a little too thick then my foot would be too uncomfortable to walk any great distance.
The other thing I noticed was the boot wanted to slip off my foot relatively easily when I first got them due to excess space in the ankle area. This was quickly remedied with a pair of Dr. Sholls Gel inserts, but it sort of sucks you have to go buy something else just to make brand new boots fit better. The inserts did do the trick though and the boots felt very snug and secure from then on.
The other thing that took a long time to get used to is how LOUD these boots are. The heel and bottom of the boot are made out of hard rubber that clicks and clacks on any surface other than carpet. I’ve never worn shoes that made so much noise and it kept making me think of women that wear high heels that click when they walk through the mall. Other boots I’ve seen sometimes include a softer rubber at the bottom of the heel to help limit this noise, and that is something I would recommend that River Road incorporate into the next iteration of the Ranger Harness boots.
To like or not to like…
I am still really torn on these boots. I really love the way they look, they have a style that is classic and it even looks good on my sportsbike counter to my original assumption. I want to wear them all the time, they are super easy to slip on and they look great in jeans or leather pants.
Unfortunately, it always seems like a dice roll when I do wear them. Sometimes I will have to change to a thinner sock because my foot is being squeezed, other times I will be walking on tile or linoleum a lot which will make the click/clack noise to the point of embarrassment. Yet on other occasions I will slip on the boots and they just seem perfect. I’ve never reviewed a piece of gear that I’ve gone back and forth on so much.
I would say that if you have a wide foot then avoid these boots like the plague. I have what I would consider to be an average sized foot and they still are a little too narrow for me at times. If however you are a shorter rider with a smaller foot that needs a bit more height to comfortably flat foot their motorcycle then you will absolutely love these. They are comfortable off the bike for the most part and I really love riding with them as well. Be sure to add the inserts if you need to take up that extra space in the ankle, the boots won’t do any good if they slip off during a crash.
- 1-1/2″ square back heel
- Slip-resistant TPR outsole and fully padded insole
- Rich, smooth, full-grain, oiled leather uppers
- Tempered steel shank for outstanding support and wear
- Goodyear® welt construction for durability and can be re-soled
- 11-1/2″ tall upper
- Includes 1-year manufacturer’s warrant
- Look amazing
- Quality construction with well oiled leather
- No need to zip them up or lace them, just slip ’em on!
- Very narrow fit
- Extra space in the ankle
- Click / Clack noise while walking on hard surfaces