Roadgear XKJ Motorcycle Boots Review
by Bill C. for webBikeWorld.com
Comfortable boots with relatively thin liner made from Outlast phase-change material, designed to keep cool in summer and warm in winter.
Claimed 100% waterproof. Breathable Aerotex liner. Several good safety features. Sticky soles help provide traction.
Race-inspired motorcycle boot styles with their bold graphics and plastic creaky bits of exoskeleton don't really do anything for me.
But many touring boots have no style at all, and about the best thing that can be said about them is that they're black.
Roadgear's new XKJ motorcycle boot, in my opinion, successfully bridges the gap between the two styles. I think it's the carbon-fiber-look material covering the ankles that does it for me.
The boots are part of the XKJ clothing line recently developed by Roadgear, which also includes the matching XKJ leather jacket and leather pants.
The XKJ apparel is interesting because it combines several new technologies with my favorite motorcycle riding fabric, good ol' fashioned leather.
The rneath the "Ballistic" reinforced outer sides of the XKJ boots and also under the wide leather flap that protects the zipper on the inside portion of the ankle.
It's not common to find ankle protectors on both the inside and outside of the ankle on touring or sport-touring boots, but this race boot feature is appreciated on the XKJ.
The shins of the XKJ boots also have a generous wedge-shaped section of hard armor underneath the leather. It's wide at the top and becomes narrower as it nears the flexible section at the front of the ankle.
The flexible material on the front also includes reflective "Dynatec" fabric for nighttime visibility. The toe caps and the rear ankle area also include a type of hard protector, located between the outer leather and inner lining.
The top portion of the back of the boots have a section of Schoeller Keprotec with Kevlar fabric for abrasion and puncture resistance. The rest of the boot is made from heavy double-stitched leather, and big vinyl shift patches are sewn on to the toes of each boot to help prevent wear.
The inside of the XKJ boots have a comfortable liner with an interesting pattern on the material. Roadgear says the material uses the Outlast brand of "Advanced Smart Fabric Technology", which somehow "senses body temperature and adjusts for comfort".
This is a high-tech material which has recently been found in select motorcycle apparel. The Outlast liner used in the c="images/zipper.jpg" width="300" height="247" align="left">Although the brutal temperatures we've experienced this summer mean that I can't vouch for the lining's cold weather properties, the boots have been surprisingly comfortable in the hot weather, even though there are no air vents like those found on some race boots.
Look up "Aerotex" in your favorite search engine and you'll find the word trademarked by several different companies, which is rather strange.
But the Aerotex used in the XKJ boots is one of the type of membrane moisture barriers that are claimed to let perspiration escape without letting water from rain enter the boot.
The breathable membrane has heat-taped seams and it does seem to work very well. I've been rather amazed at the lack of moisture buildup in the boots and their ability to keep my feet dry during a couple of recent downpours that caught me by surprise.
Two other features that have impressed me are the heavy-duty YKK zipper with its nice, big zipper pull. The zipper is 7-1/2" long (19 cm) and runs down the inside of the leg from just below the top of the boot almost down to the sole.
This make it very easy to put the boots on or take them off, even when bending over in thick riding clothes. The zipper opening is backed by the Aerotex membrane, which effectively keeps out the water.
The "hook and loop" fastener in back of the flap that covers the zipper runs just about full length also, which is a plus, because the flap can be securely fastened the whole length of the boot. This prevents the "flaps out" look that I've seen on other motorcycle boots that don't use enough fastener.
I have generous sized calves, and the XKJ has enough room at the top for a comfortable fit. Correspondence from webBikeWorld visitors indicates that this is a major problem with race, sport-touring and touring styled motorcycle boots.
Apparently, many riders can fit into a motorcycle boot but can't zip it up over their muscular calves. Perhaps there's a market for extra-wide tops on motorcycle boots?
The other feature of the XKJ boots that is appreciated is the traction that the soles provide. This is important, especially if you have a shorter inseam (or a too-tall motorcycle) and find yourself up on your toes when stopped.
A pair of motorcycle boots with "sticky" soles can make a big difference, because they can help provide critical traction even when only a small portion of the sole is touching the ground.
Good traction also makes a big difference when backing up a motorcycle or when moving a bike around while walking next to it.
The XKJ boots are relatively comfortable for walking, but the pronounced lugs on the soles can be felt through the heels, making the boots less comfortable for walking than they could be. But these boots have been designed for riding, not walking, so it's not really that big of a problem.
The Roadgear r XKJ boots are a good compromise between an all-out race boot and a motorcycle touring boot. The boots have several good safety features, they're comfortable and the combination of the "Advanced Smart Fabric Technology" and the Aerotex breathable membrane does seem to work.
The big zipper, the zipper pull and the sticky soles are also very welcome features that make this boot a good value. The XKJ boots carry a one-year warranty.
|wBW Review: Roadgear XKJ Boots|
|Manufacturer: Roadgear||List Price: $219.90|
|Colors: Black||Made In: Pakistan|
|Sizes: Women's 7-10, Men's 9-12.||Review Date: August 2005|
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From "L.M." (6/10): "I purchased these last year at (the) Roadgear booth at Americade 2009. The boots only really have about 8 months of use which is a mix of touring and daily commuting.
They are a very solid and comfy boot but I have
to take exception with Roadgear's claim that they are waterproof.
At Americade this year I got stuck in a 1 hour downpour that
completely saturated the boots. You could see water bubbling
out between the top of the sole and the leather as I walked.
My rain suit covered the boots down over the ankles and I doubt
very much water seeped in through the covered zipper gusset
as none of this had gotten wet.
My other gripe is that the sole appears to be wearing out to quickly. The soles are soft and tacky and this in itself might be the issue but seeing as I don't take them on extended walks with the exceptions of gas stops, lunch breaks, etc. I find the wear to be excessive.
Beyond that, thanks to our climate up hear in the Great White North, the boots see a variety of temperature changes that can range from a sub-zero ride in the morning to 25 degree Celsius weather in the afternoon and I have found the boots have kept me comfy. So in that regard, they have worked out well. Just don't call something waterproof when it clearly isn't."
From "T.G." (2/10): "Now 3 years later with the boots they are starting to wear out. The soles are getting smooth and the boots have that old worn boot look with a bulge of material on the sides that make it look sluggish and worn.
They have served me well on the bike. Off the bike not so good. I have worn them from over 100 degrees to under 20 and only once did my feet get a little cold. I was mostly on a Pacific Coast fully faired but also have a Honda Shadow 750. I guess I did about 20,000 miles in the.
The most I can recall about these boots is that I hardly ever thought about them! My only criticism is that off bike comfort is not so hot and I usually would take a pair of hiking shoes with me on the bike.
The Outlast material seemed to be as advertised, cool when it was hot out and hot when it was cold out. They do offer great protection and I recently had my 700 lb bike fall over when my twisted foot could not hold it up. The boots seemed to have save me from twisting my ankle and I was glad to have them on."
Update From "T.G." (June 2012): "Well I got another 2 years out of the boots prior to them starting to show wear. This pair is not holding up well at all as the outer layer of the fake leather is peeling off where the boots flex.
The soles are well worn and dangerous so I'm beginning to wonder if I would have been better off in the long run getting a better quality boot of real leather.
But I have to say I got my moneys worth out of them. Never leaked. Never too cold and I rode in 30 degrees and rain and was fine. So for the money a good deal but don't expect more than 20,000 miles out of them. For the price can't be beat and the protection from injury and elements is great. Also a good company to deal with.
The size runs a tad big. Also you do need to wear really tall socks as there are some edges that will not go well with bare skin.
I'm here searching your reviews for a new pair. It seems that you jump up to $300 plus to get better quality then these. My wife has had her pair for 5 years and they held up much better than mine and we ride together. I would give them 4.7 stars out of 5."