Falco 305 ESO TT Boots
Falco 305 ESO TT Motorcycle Boots Review
by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
Motorcycle Boots Page | Owner Comments (Below)
Summary: High quality real
leather boots made the old-fashioned way -- by hand in
What does Falco have in common with Alpinestars, Forma,
Gaerne, Sidi, StylMartin and TCX?
Well, the obvious answer is, of course, that they all
make motorcycle boots! But they're also all
neighbors, located within a short distance of each other in the
Vèneto region of Italy, northwest of Venice. The
region has been known for centuries its skilled artisans, so
it only seems natural that this would be the cradle of
the Italian boot making tradition.
Falco is one of the newer names in motorcycle boots;
they've been making them by hand in their
Altivole for the past 15 years. Now 15 years
isn't all that long ago, and it's interesting to note
that they have committed to Italy during this time, when the temptation
is strong to cut costs and manufacture in some anonymous
overseas plant instead.
When I pulled the boots out of the box, I could
somehow feel the difference. That may sound
sentimental...or even foolish, but it's true! These
are very high quality boots, and if you're not familiar
with the brand, you may want to take a look, because Falco
makes a variety of racing, street, city, motocross and
even cruiser-styled boots for men, women and children,
Novo boots we reviewed in Part II of this two-part
Falco Boots have been popular in Europe, and the good
news is that you won't have to pay those exorbitant
shipping fees to get a pair sent to North America,
because they're now being distributed by Advanced
Motorcycle Gear in the U.S. (see the summary table
The 305 ESO TT
Falco markets their boots in 10 different categories and each is self-explanatory: Racing, Water
Resistant, City, MX/Supermoto, Enduro, Trail/Quad,
Minibike/Stunt, Custom, Kids and Women.
While a couple of the categories have only one or two
boot choices, I suggest taking a look in each, because
they include some very interesting and unique motorcycle
boot designs that you probably won't see anywhere else,
like the 109 "Volt" Trail/Quad boot, which looks to me
like it would make a cool new type of Adventure-Touring footwear.
In fact, there are so many interesting designs in the
Falco lineup that I couldn't decide what to try for a
webBikeWorld review, but in the end, I decided that the
best approach might be to go with the more familiar
types. This would allow us to develop a sort of
Falco baseline for comparison with boot designs that our
readers are familiar with.
So I chose Falco's top-of-the-line racing boot, the
305 ESO TT, in the
Bela Oxmyx ("A Piece of the Action", original Star
Trek) "Spats" white and black pattern shown
here to start.
Along with the ESO TT, I decided to try a pair of their short boots, the
775 Novo, which, I have to say, are as comfortable as a
pair of bedroom slippers! But that's another review coming
Falco 305 ESO TT Motorcycle Boots - Rear View, ESO-skeleton
Falco 305 ESO TT Motorcycle Boots - Bending the ESO-skeleton
The Falco ESO-skeleton
The 305 ESO TT is a mouthful of a name no doubt.
Let's see if I can successfully explain it! The "ESO"
signifies the "ESO-skeleton" system on the outside of
this boot, which is its most unique characteristic.
The ESO system is a sort of exoskeleton, which
rotates front to rear and supports and protects the
foot, preventing over- or hyper-extension. In
other words, it is designed to keep the rider's foot at
the customary 90-degree angle to the leg! Similar
systems are found on other high-end race boots by other
But the Falco system is adjustable; a screw at the
top rear of the boot holds the exoskeleton on one of
three positions: Soft, Normal and Hard. The
adjustments relate to the amount of front/back flex
provided by the system.
The upper part of the skeleton pivots on a button
that slides up and down in a track attached to the
outside of the ankle on the boot. When the ESO
system is shortened by moving it down to the "Hard"
position, the plastic heel cup in the rear prevents the
upper part of the skeleton from moving backwards.
Moving the skeleton to the highest "Soft" position moves
it farther up from the heel cup, which then allows more
room for the boot to flex backwards.
The boots came with the ESO system in the "Normal"
position, which seems perfect to me. One of the
best things about the system is that it's pretty much
invisible once the boot is on my foot; that is, I don't
notice anything different, unlike some of the other very
complicated motorcycle race boots of this type, which
can feel way too stiff and uncomfortable.
Wear Points and Sliders
The Falco 305 ESO TT boots have quite a few square
centimeters of plastic in different areas, as is
customary with true racing boots of recent vintage.
The plastic serves both as a protective layer and offers
a smoother sliding surface, but when used in a skillful
design, it also helps stiffen the boot in critical
Falco uses this to good advantage in the 305 ESO TT;
the heel cup extends on either side of the boot up
towards the center, and this acts as the base pivot
mounting point for the ESO-skeleton system and also
provides a lot of rigidity to the rear of the boot.
The ESO-skeleton system provides a thick abrasion
resistant point on each side of the boot. The heel
cup then has flat sliding surfaces on either side, just
below that ankle (see photos below), and the inside part
of the heel cup also includes 30 raised dimples or bumps that
help the rider maintain grip on the sides of the bike
when leaned over. This is a nice detail that might
go unnoticed by looking at the photos, so I thought I
might point it out.
The plastic is also used to good effect around the
toe. The entire toe area is surrounded by the
molding, which offers abrasion resistance and
protection. The "Alu-Titan" material metal
replaceable toe slider is attached to the outside with a
The toes do not have hard caps, which is rather
surprising, but apparently this Falco "Tech-Toe" system
has been designed to provide a level of protection
without the stiff feel of a hard toe cap. One of
the surprising features of the 305 ESO TT boots is how
flexible the front of the boot feels, which adds the the
overall comfort level of this design.
In fact, I'd have to say that overall these are
probably some of the most comfortable tall motorcycle
boots I've ever worn, which is doubly surprising because
race boots aren't supposed to be comfy, right?
Normally they're stiff and inflexible, and while you
might think the plastic and the ESO-skeleton would make
the boots feel like they came out of the monster's
closet in Frankenstein's castle, just the opposite is
The last bit of plastic is used at the top of the
boot as a protective shin guard. This section also
holds the "Biofit" aluminum buckle assembly. This
is an easy-to-use design, unlike the system on very
Gaerne GRS race boots we reviewed.
Buckles and Entry
The Falco Biofit buckle is adjustable for calf width and
it's easy to reach because it's at the top outside
section of the boot. The strap slides in and out of
the top of the boot with the same type of ratchet used
in the European style "quick release" helmet chin strap
I winced when I first saw the buckle, because I
haven't been too fond of this type of attachment for
motorcycle boots. But here's the best part: the
305 ESO TT boots are very easy to put on!
This is partly due to the design of the entire
outside leather entry flap, which is held with a long strip
of hook-and-loop fastener. The section is pulled back by grabbing the nice and
handy tab at the bottom that you can see in the photos
just to the rear of the "Falco" logo on the outside of
the lower part of the boot. Pull the tab and the
entire front of the boot opens, right down to the back
of the toes.
Underneath the entry flap, a second thin elastic liner inside extends upwards to just above the foot at the start of
the shin. This liner has a zipper that unzips all
the way down to the front of the boot, so it meets the
point where the
leather flap ends, just above and behind the toes.
This makes it very easy to step into the ESO TT
boots, zip up the inner liner, fold over the leather
flap, buckle the Biofit closure and go. Notice
that the procedure goes from bottom to top, which is a
big help when the boots are fitted over a pair of
leather race pants.
I'm not sure if the Falco engineers designed the
boots this way on purpose -- I'd like to think so -- and
if this is true, it shows either pure genius or someone who
really knows motorcycle race boots and has been
frustrated in the past by other poor designs that make
it a simple task like putting on the boots a real chore.
The rest of the boots are made entirely from real,
live (no, not live actually) cow leather, bless their
little (big) hearts. It's all beautifully double
stitched and it feels nearly broken-in right out of the
The boots have a thin "Airtech" lining, and although
this version isn't vented, the natural leather seems to
breath better than synthetics. There are no out of
place seams inside, so the boots feel comfortable with
no pressure points. I'm also usually very
sensitive to heat in the feet, but these remain
comfortable in the 75-80 degree early Fall weather we've
Finally, the 305 ESO TT soles provide good grip on
the asphalt and foot pegs. Notice in the photos
that the soles have three rows of sharply angled wedges
just under the arch, in front of the heel. These
work very nicely to help keep traction on the foot pegs,
and the soles are adequately sticky when pushing off on
The boots shown here are a size 44 Euro, which in my
experience equates to a 10.5 U.S. men's boot, which is
technically my size. But I like a little more room
in the toes for my street shoes or walking boots, so I
usually end up with a size 11 in street boots and even
an 11.5 in running/athletic shoes, which always seem to
run too small and too tight.
I almost always take a size 44 in motorcycle boots,
which usually fits perfectly. Based on this single
pair of Falco ESO TT boots and the Falco 775 Novo short
boots (also size 44), I'd say the Falco boots are
running about 1/2 size large. They don't fit quite
as snug as other size 44 motorcycle boots I've tried,
and this isn't a problem for me, but if you're
borderline on a size, you may want to talk to your
retailer to see if they think you should order one size
The Falco 305 ESO TT boots compare very favorably with
other high-end street, sport or race boots like the
Gaerne GRS boots or the
boots. These boot types are biased more
towards the track than the street/sport types like the
TCX SS Performance 2 boots we reviewed recently; the
Oxtar TCS Sport boots and
Falco also makes a boot called the Rival 319, which I
think is equivalent to the more street oriented designs
like the TCX SS Performance 2 and the Oxtar TCS Sport.
They make a boot that fits between the two; it's called
the 314 Sirius, and it's similar to the ESO TT but
without the ESO-skeleton system. The Sirius is
also available in a waterproof version, the 315 Sirius
WTR. Falco has many other street,
Adventure-Touring and off-road designs also.
The distinguishing characteristics of the Falco ESO
TT boots are their surprising comfort for a
race-oriented boot -- they're about as comfortable as
any of the street or sport focused boots I've tried.
I also like their ease of entry. I'm not 100% sold
on the benefits of the ESO-skeleton system, at least for
the street riding that I do, but it doesn't get in the
way of enjoying these boots and the comfort in knowing
that they provide high levels of protection.
I also like the fact that all of the Falco boots are
made in Italy and use real leather. Don't worry --
if you don't like the Bela Oxmyx colors, the boots are
available in traditional all black also, but check out
the Italian and French flag replica versions just for
are well respected and enjoyed by many motorcycle riders
in Europe, and we welcome them to the North American
market and wish them success!
Review: Falco 305 ESO TT
Falco Motorcycle Boots
U.S. Sales/Distribution: Advanced Motorcycle Gear
UK Distribution: Thunderchild
Retail Price: $299.95
|Colors: Black, Black/White,
Black/Blue, Black/Red, Italian Replica (photo above in Lightbox), French Replica.
|Review Date: October
2008 Note: Boots provided by Advanced Motorcycle Gear
for this review (more).
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From "Sam #5" (8/10): " Hello, my
Sam Verderico and I am a top racer in OMRRA, AFM,
USBA and currently use Falco boots and gloves.
The boots are second to none! They have great feel
while shifting and braking, great armor where you need
it most, hold up extremely well in a crash and they are
priced very well.
The toe sliders last a very long time and the boots are
very comfortable. I have used every brand of
racing boots out there, and I have ended up using the
Falco race boots to keep me winning races and keeping me
very protected. Sam #5."
From "A.S." (7/10): "I've been
racing with my Falco boots for the last year and a half
now. I had the previous version before, and now
the newest model.
I have no complaints with either version, but I can
say that my Falco 305 ESO TT boots are my favourite
motorcycle race boot I've ever owned.
Probably the best thing I can say about them is the
fact that I've never had to think about them once while
riding. They've never done a single thing wrong - even
during break-in. Generally when I switch to a new
set of boots they feel a little uncomfortable and I miss
shifts for at least the first two or three rides.
These boots felt perfect and worked flawlessly from the
moment I took them out of the box.
Plus they look rad, and although I've never crashed
in them, I feel confident they will have excellent