Diadora "Xtreme" Motorcycle Boots
by Yahaya Abdullah for webBikeWorld.com
Photos by Hajar for webBikeWorld.com
Light and airy feeling, the Diadora Xtreme boots are for riders who are looking for comfortable, good looking and affordable racing boot.
Why do motorcycle riders buy racing equipment? Do they ever go racing?
Or do they really need the protection?
I see many riders in full racing garb, even thought they're on a scenic excursion at nowhere near the pace that would mean a risk of falling off and getting hurt.
Of course, one could argue that accidents can happen anytime, anywhere, but isn’t it overkill to be wearing thousands of dollars worth of crash equipment when you are not even close to a racing scenario?
Not to mention how hot, heavy and cumbersome (and to a certain extent, uncomfortable) it is to get some of this gear on and move around for long or short rides.
In this article, I want to present the results of a piece of gear that was used in its intended environment: providing crash protection in a race!
Diadora is well known in the sporting world for their quality products, relatively inexpensive pricing and to a lesser extent, winning heritage in a few disciplines.
Recently, they’ve been on a push for their two-wheeled performance products, namely bicycle and motorcycle boots. They have a few riders competing world championships, namely David Checa in the World Endurance Championships and Simone Corsi in the Moto2 category of MotoGP.
Featured here are the exact boots worn by these and many other racers, differing perhaps only in colors and some features.
One of the first things that I noticed about the Diadora Xtreme boots is the exo-skeleton joints that protect the ankle from twisting. Dubbed S.A.S (Safety Ankle Support) by Diadora, the S.A.S. system has a mechanical look that shows its purpose and function which, as you will learn, works really well.
The toe slider is magnesium in matte grey color and it looks strong and feels shatterproof. The ratchet for tightening the boots is really beefy, while enhancing the side zipper entry system. All of the usual hook-and-loop fasteners are nicely positioned and have enough area to custom fit the boots over the calves.
The styling of the Diadora Xtreme boots at first impression are more sedate than other types of racing boots, but appealing in a more subtle way.
While most racing boots of today look like they’re ready for a night at the disco or have colourful and wild patterns that make them ready for a fashion show, the design of the Diadora Xtreme boots is almost plain, but with just the right flair and form to make them look racy and purposeful.
The way the stripes cross the upper toe surface, the understated contrast of colors and non complicated-looking mechanism gives the boots a secure look. And true enough, the absence of all the blings and blangs make for a light and easy functioning boot that’s really feet-friendly.
In fact, all of the patterns and the shape designs on the Xtreme boots have a function that is designed either for protection or for mobility and comfort.
The soles of the Xtreme boots are made of "Skywalk" triple-density, anti-slip material that is very grippy in every condition that I encountered.
The step between the foot and heel is not abrupt, letting my foot stay comfortably flat, but it still has enough depth to stick to the pegs for hanging off. The soles seem very durable, because on my last boots I actually dug a hole through the soles as I am a very feet-on-the-edge-of-the-pegs type of rider. Yet on the Diadora Xtreme boots, the soles have remained intact with very little wear and abrasion marks.
Using cow leather as the main material, the boots also feature nylon
weaving at the bending areas for flexibility and movement of the foot.
Air mesh lining is used in areas where breathability is needed.
Except for the replaceable magnesium toe slider, the rest of the armour
is made of high impact plastic, which proved to be very durable in a
situation I will describe later on.
I really like the mix of zipper, hook-and-loop and the "Rear Buckle Pump" ratchet closure system on the Diadora Xtreme boots.
Some boots are way too complicated to get into and don’t really differ in the protection level they offer for the hassle that is involved in putting them on. The side zipper on the Xtreme boots opens very wide so that the foot is easily inserted and then lodged very securely with the hook-and-loop pulls and the calves are squeezed tightly, but comfortably with the ratchet system.
The lever of the ratchet is moved left and right as it cranks down until the desired level of tightness is obtained. This system really holds the boot and the feet and calves in place, yet it still allows for mobility at the ankle.
To release and exit the boots is really simple also; just press the black release switch on the ratchet buckle, and the strap releases where you then have only to unfasten the hook-and-loop and unzip the side zipper. It performs exactly and as easily as I have described.
What initially impressed me about the Diadora Xtreme boots was their weight, or lack of it. I had been wearing a pair of Oxtar TCX boots (review) prior to this, and with all their titanium armour and loud clunking mechanisms, they really made me feel like a robot whenever I was off the bike wearing them.
Wearing the Diadora Xtreme boots felt so different -- exactly the opposite, because I feel like I am in a pair of hi-rise trainers! It absolutely feels light weight, to a point that I was wondering if the boots could save my feet in a crash.
Holding the Xtreme boots in your hands, you’d swear they could be a normal boot sans armour. When walking, the boots are very silent; the plastic mechanism not making any squeaks and when they come in contact with anything, they give only a muffled thump.
The Xtreme boots felt very comfortable; the shape of the TPU Dual Flex and anti-shock EVA midsole is probably for people with wider feet. I have a square-ish and wide shaped foot, and getting the proper fit is important because after a certain while in narrow fitting shoes, my feet really hurt to the point of agony!
So I have to say that these fit me really well in the footbed. On another note, the length of the boot from the tips of the toes to the back of the heel is significantly shorter than some boots I’ve tried.
A friend who is wearing Spidi XP5 boots commented the shortness of the Xtreme boots, and that his toes keep touching the front of the boot as if the boot is small in size, but very roomy at the sides. He has a longer shaped foot with long slender toes, completely opposite to mine. So the comfort factor, just like helmets, depends on the shape of the individual.
One thing you definitely need in a boot is ventilation when you’re riding hard for a prolonged period of time. In my book, the Diadora Xtreme really performs great even under racing conditions in the torturous heat of Malaysia.
My feet are barely sweating and over 15 MPH I can feel the air flow, courtesy of the "Air Ventilation Pockets", which maintain a constant amount of ventilation the faster you go, thereby giving some kind of climate/temperature control for the feet.
I can really feel the air moving inside and cooling my feet. Every time I took the boots off, my feet were always dry. I rode them in the rain many times and found that in light drizzle situations, the waterproofing is excellent, while only a heavy downpour will affect my feet. With the excellent ventilation though, the feet and the inside of the boots quickly dry out without a chill that might make the feet lose warmth and control.
Now this is the part where I think is the most important factor for anybody who purchases products for racing. You’d never be able to know whether the protection that is promised and advertised will come good in the event that you really need it, and I don’t know anybody who’d be a willing crash-test dummy.
So depending on different views, one could say that I was either
fortunate or unfortunate enough to crash while wearing the Diadora Xtreme
boots whilst using them for their intended purpose: racing!
During round 4 of the National Scooter Championships, I was facing really tough challenges from the Gilera 2 strokers. Pushing very hard lap after lap and trail braking all the way through each and every corner, I finally washed out the front of the Pirelli Dragon Supercorsa tires two laps from the end.
Whilst exiting that S-turn, both the front and rear tyres were sliding and I was keeping the bike from low-siding by pushing heavily with my right knee, correcting the turn angle by pressing down hard on the inner peg. When the front finally gave out, my right foot got caught between the trellis frame spar, and was dragged a good 20 metres at 50mph! I managed to free myself by kicking the handlebars and rolling away from the bike.
Two things I noticed to my foot after I got up. One, even at the speed that my foot got caught and the fact that I was torqued from one side to another violently while my foot was anchored, the Diadora "Pivot Gradial System" prevented my ankle from twisting and possibly dislocating.
So the anti-twist feature really does work, but the second thing I noticed as I peered down at the top of my foot, there was a hole as big as my thumb! Apparently the fall made my right foot face downwards and the abrasiveness of the track bore a hole straight through to my toes. It even cut straight through my sports riding socks.
To be fair, I was sliding at a quite rapid rate, but I really think that more protection, perhaps a layer or strip of slippery PU plastic on top of where the hole appeared might have helped with the protection.
I have to add one minor gripe here. Whilst I was cleaning the boots with liquid leather cleaner, the decals and small insignia wore away at the very first wipe! Now I was left with boots that have no letters and numbers, making them look plain with none of the fancy technical script.
In my opinion, the folks at Diadora should make the surface finish
more durable, as some people -- like me -- do admire the techy looks
of racing products.
Aside from the hole on top of the boot, which is admittedly a very rare incident (of course then again, maybe the designers should rethink the protection on this area in future, since it HAS happened), the armour and save-your-ankle features of the Diadora Xtreme boots perform during a crash, as I can testify.
I really like the fit, the lightness and the airy feeling the boots provide. The pricing is a bit less than one will pay for other high-end brands of racing boots and I feel that for the features they offer, the Diadora Xtreme boots fit the value proposition spot-on.
For riders who are looking for comfortable, good looking and affordable racing boots, the Diadora Xtreme might just fit the bill.
Rumor has it that Diadora may be discontinuing their motorcycle boot line to concentrate on sport shoes, so if you want a pair, better buy them soon! The Diadora Italy website was inoperative at the time of publication and apparently Kushitani has either purchased the Diadora motorcycle boot line or is co-marketing Diadora motorcycle boots. If anyone has further information on this, please contact me via the email address in the Comments section below. Thanks.
|wBW Review: Diadora Xtreme Motorcycle Boots|
|Manufacturer: Diadora (As of 2014, Diadora apparently no longer makes motorcycle boots).||List Price (2010): 1000 MYR (Malaysia); $319.95 USD|
|Colors: Black, Blue, Red||Made In: Italy|
|Sizes: 41-47 (7-13 US)||Review Date: September 2010|
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