Vendramini Marathon Motorcycle Boots
by Rick for webBikeWorld.com
| Owner Comments (Below)
Vendramini first started making shoes by hand in the Veneto region
of Northern Italy in 1919. He soon became interested in making ski
boots, and this led to an interest in making boots for outdoor sports,
85 years later, in this
incredibly competitive age of global cutthroat economics, Vendramini
boots are still made by hand in Italy by the Vendramini family.
Their boots are well known in Europe and have an old-world reputation
for attention to quality and detail that sets them apart from the crowd.
Think about it: when is the last time you found a product that boasts
"Hand Made"? Call me old-fashioned, but I think that's pretty
cool, and worth the few extra bucks, if only for bragging rights.
Many pairs of Vendramini
boots have been brought back to the U.S.A. over the last few decades by
motorcyclists who discovered them while touring Europe.
lent them a sort of cult status, but Vendramini products are now
the American distributor.
BikerWorld USA also distributes the nice
Italian made FAMSA tank bags and luggage, which will be reviewed soon on
They offer several styles of Vendramini
boots for the U.S. market, and we obtained a pair of the Vendramini
"Marathon" boots for this review.
The Marathon is Vendramini's
"top of the line" sport-touring boot, and it was designed to be
comfortable over the long haul while still offering a level of
protection that is often missing from a pure touring boot.
motorcycle touring boots seem to skimp on safety features, which is odd
-- I would think that the serious mileage types would want the best
protection possible during all that time on the road. Safety and
comfort should not be mutually exclusive.
Sport-touring boots are
theoretically designed with a greater range of comfort in mind compared
to boots designed for motorcycle racing. Race boots are angled
forward for a reason: they're shaped to work when hunched down low behind a fairing
with feet perched up on rearsets.
This makes race boots a poor
choice to use for
walking any significant distances. They also usually have very
hard soles that help support a rider swinging back and forth over the
tank in knee-down turns. And they aren't well suited for the more upright riding positions found on touring or sport-touring
That race boots that aren't
suited for touring is understandable, but why is it that so many other
styles of motorcycle boots also seem to lack comfort both on and off the bike?
To be honest, I was prepared for more
of the same with the Vendraminis.
But the Vendramini Marathon
boots surprised me by being about as comfortable as a nicely broken in
pair of street shoes, while also offering a sense of security that makes my old
flimsy Dainese touring
boots feel pretty lame in comparison. Comfortable boots make for
happy feet; happy feet mean less stress; less stress makes it easier to
concentrate on the job of piloting the motorcycle.
uses real leather (remember that?) in all of their boots. They say that
leather offers better protection in the unfortunate event of a slide on
asphalt; Vendramini claims that the 2.8mm thick leather used in the
Marathon can withstand temperatures up to 300° C, while some of the
man-made petroleum based leather substitute products will melt during a
slide and can cause serious skin damage.
2.8mm thick leather is
pretty tough stuff; leather race suits are usually made from 1.4 to
1.8mm thick hides, so another 1mm adds an extra measure of protection.
They must know what they're doing, because the Marathon is certified to
the European motorcycle clothing standard EN 13634 "Protective Footwear
for Professional Motorcycle Riders" (see
The Marathon boots have
carbon-fiber ankle protection plates on both sides of the ankle. The outer side of the
boot has a slab of carbon fiber double-stitched into the leather, while the inner side
ankle protector underneath the thick leather. The Marathon boots also have toe
reinforcements and a big, wide shin protector that's fitted under an extra
section of leather that covers the shin.
The boots have an extra
width of leather that wraps over the toes to help prevent wear from the bike's shift lever
(right or left!). This is a common feature on motorcycle boots,
the shift protector on the Marathon extends all the way back along the
inside exterior of the boot and wraps around the heel.
All of the leather on the boot is double stitched, and there's some nice
leather piping that's stitched around each boot top, which
prevents fraying and adds a bit of style.
The Marathon boots have another safety feature that's
usually only found on professional race boots. There's a layer of
extra material between the leather inner sole and the inside bottom of
the boot that helps prevent lateral crushing or movement during a crash.
This level of protection is standard on all Vendramini boots, from their
basic scooter boots to the all-out race styles.
soles also seem to provide good traction on wet or oily surfaces; the
good traction helps for situations when you're seated on the bike and
pushing it backwards into the garage or a parking space.
The soles offer a bit of cushioning, which helps make the boots
fairly comfortable to use for walking.
Vendramini uses a nicely
cushioned boot liner, which includes their proprietary "V-Tex"
breathable membrane, and the boots are claimed to be totally waterproof.
While many shoes and boots that have waterproof liners can become very
hot, we found the Marathon boots to be very comfortable, even after spending
a couple of hours walking around in a motorcycle shop. This is a
pleasant surprise; motorcycle boots are notorious for getting hot and
sticky. I'm not sure if it's the leather that's more
breathable than a man-made material or if it's the V-Tex liner, but
seems to do the job.
are two other unique features that help make the Marathon boots comfortable. The
large shin protector opens up all the way down to the top
of the arch and the closure has a fairly wide swatch of Velcro, which
provides some adjustment to fit different calf diameters.
This adjustability also means that the boots can be snugged up nice and
tight on various sized legs or with tucked-in riding pants.
It's an elegant design and it makes you wonder why other manufacturers
haven't done something similar.
The boots also have an
interesting feature that's reminiscent of dirt/supermoto boot
There are two metal ratcheting clasps on the outside of the boot, above and below the
ankle. A serrated plastic belt is inserted into the ratchet, and
can be cinched up by using one lever of the double-action ratchet.
To release the belt, work the reverse lever and the belt is fed back
out of the clasp. It can be a bit of a struggle to get the straps
lined up in the clasps when fully suited up; we suggest doing this while
sitting. The styling works rather well; this would be the perfect
boot for all you new
The buckle system works well and offers a
wide range of adjustability to snug the boot up tight in the critical
ankle area. It allows the boot to be virtually custom fitted; the
combination of the Velcro closure at the top of the shin guard and the
two ratchets work together to fit
in an almost infinite number of combinations.
We also found
that the adjustability can provide some extra ankle support
for walking and helps make the boot feel more comfortable and
secure. The only potential downside to this system would be if the
serrations on the straps eventually become worn from the ratcheting
Each Marathon boot weighs about
1kg (~2.3 lbs.), which is about average for a motorcycle touring
boot. The weight is carried evenly, and is helped by the ability
to secure the boot to each leg and ankle with the unique buckling
mechanism. BikerWorld USA suggested that the Marathon boots run a
bit small, but I think they run true to size.
I usually take a
U.S. size 10.5 shoe and the Marathon boots we received are size 11, and
they're a bit big, feeling like a size 11 would on my feet. This isn't a problem; I'd rather have
a bit more
room for heavy socks in the winter, but based on our sample, I'd say
that the boots run very close to true size.
motorcyclists in the U.S.A. don't wear protective clothing when riding.
Motorcycle boots seem to be one of the last items that a serious rider
invests in. The Vendramini Marathon boots are a bit expensive, but
if you're serious about riding or touring, I'll bet these boots will
last a long time and the quality and comfort seem well worth the money.
Review: Vendramini Marathon Motorcycle Boots
Retail Price: $285.00
Comments: Leather boots hand made in Italy. Very
comfortable. The boots have a wide range of adjustments and
include inner and outer ankle
protection and shin protection. Vendramini claims that the
Marathon boots are waterproof; we haven't used these boots in the rain
so we can't verify this information.
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►Your Comments and
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Comments are ordered from most recent to oldest.
Not all comments will be published (details
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From "R.H." (7/09): "I agree totally with the last
poster. Bought mine in 2006 and have not looked back. I can't
tell you how many miles/Km I have ridden with them. But every time I
put them on, I think "what a great boot"."
From "G.A." (5/09): "I purchased a pair of Vendramini
Marathon Boots in August of 2006. I have worn them exclusively for
riding since that time in all weather conditions and temperature ranges.
The Marathons were comfortable right out of the box.
They felt broken in, they were that good. The quality and attention to
detail was first rate and met my expectations. I now have over 60,000
miles on these boots, with zero complaints.
The ratchet straps, Velcro, boot interior, all work as good
as the day I took them out of the box. The soles have held up as well
as the rest of the boots. I mentioned the soles because I felt, and
still do, that the soles lack much in the way of cleats to grip with, my
That said, the boots have gripped the pavement in all
weather and surface conditions. I live here in a desert climate with
summer temperatures often exceeding 100 degrees. My feet have never
felt baked in these boots. Count me a happy customer."
From "A" (10/08): "I purchased a pair of the
steel Marathon boots. The workmanship quality is poor.
It seems that these are seconds where they missed the seam
and punctured holes in the leather on the front toe
protector. After many phone calls to the store
Bikerworld has not been very helpful. To bad not a way
to check quality before ordering. Not so Happy."
Footwear for Professional Motorcycle Riders – Requirements
and Test Methods
"Based on the wealth of
available industrial footwear standards to draw from, prEN
13634:2002 provides an adaptation suitable to the demands
motorcyclists place on their footwear. There is a minimum
height requirement of 160 mm, measured inside the boot from
the footbed up the rear of the boot to its topmost edge.
The strength of the bond
between the sole and the upper is tested, the thickness and
cleat height (depth of “tread”) of the sole must both be
above prescribed mimima and its resistance to abrasion is
tested. The sole is also required to demonstrate a minimum
specified level of inherent rigidity – too soft a sole
could collapse in an accident and increase the risk of
severe foot injuries, which a more rigid sole might help to
The uppers of the footwear
are subjected to the impact abrasion test described in prEN
13595 Part 2, although the impact cut test follows a
different method to that used for garments. The water
absorption and desorption characteristics of the material
worn closest to the wearer is also assessed.
Optional requirements include
testing of impact protection which may be fitted to the
ankle and shin, water resistance and fuel oil resistance of