by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
Marathon Boots Review |
Vendramini Aero Boots Review
Vendramini makes some very interesting motorcycle boots, no
doubt about it. If you need proof, just take a look at the Vendramini
"Desert Alp" Elephant boots shown here.
But maybe "interesting" isn't the right word. How
about unique? Over the top? Yes, I think that's getting
If you want more proof of Vendramini's whimsy, check out the
Vendramini Aero boots we reviewed a while back. Although that
style has since been discontinued, you can still find a pair or two for sale
on the Vendramini website.
The Vendrami distributor in the U.S. is BikerWorld USA, and
they sent us this pair of Vendramini Elephant boots for evaluation along
with a note telling us that the Elephant will soon be available for sale in
Unfortunately, I don't have many more details on these
cool-looking boots. I'm hoping to catch up with the Vendramini reps at
the upcoming Dealer Expo in Indianapolis to learn more. I'm guessing
that they're waiting for this year's Expo to make the formal announcement
about the availability of the boots in the U.S. market.
In the meantime, I thought that you might be interested in
seeing some of these photographs and our first impressions.
The Vendramini Elephant boots are based on the existing
Vendramini "Desert Alp" boots (photo below) which have been in the
Vendramini lineup for some time. The plain leather Desert Alp, the
Desert Alp Elephant and the Vendramini Tuareg boots constitute the
"All-Road" line of Vendramini boots.
Vendramini has grown from a small boutique manufacturer
selling a couple of different types of boots to a worldwide concern with
seven distinct boot categories: Race, Touring, Metropolitan, Classic Metro,
Custom, All-Road and Off-Road. They also sell a line of motorcycle
I'm not sure if it's fair to compare a company like
Vendramini with some of the other motorcycle boot manufacturers who
mass-produce products that compete on price. Vendramini boots are
aimed at a more discriminating rider who is looking for near-custom-made
quality and style and is willing to pay for it.
Although I'm sure Vendramini uses modern tooling is used to
manufacture the boots, I also know that there's a lot of hand work involved,
especially on the Elephant boots, and Vendramini claims that each boot they
make is at least hand inspected and tested.
The Vendramini Italy website also claims that all boots are
guaranteed for two years (although the BikerWorld USA site doesn't confirm
this). The Elephant and most of the other Vendramini boots also meet
the p.r.E.N. 13634 European standards for safety gear.
Other than the "Elephant" (look) leather, the Vendramini
Elephant boots are apparently identical to the standard Vendramini Desert
Alp plain leather boots. Oh, and by the way: for the record, there is
one thing that should be very obvious but I'll state it anyway.
Vendramini Elephant boots are not made from Elephant leather. They're
made from plain old cowhide and although I'm sure Bos taurus would
disagree with Vendramini's strategy, Elephantidae have no problem at
all with that.
The leather has been processed to look and feel like tough
old Elephant hide. Or at least I think it looks like tough old
Elephant hide. Since the only Elephants I've ever seen were behind
bars and I've never had the opportunity to touch one, I'll have to take
Vendramini's word for it.
These are big, tough boots. Each size 44 (Euro) weighs
in at 1520 grams (3 lbs., 5-5/8 oz.). For reference, that's about as
much as a mid-weight motorcycle helmet. Vendramini says that the
Elephants are perfect for "90% on-road and 90% off-road". What I think
they mean is that the Elephants are a pretty good all-around boot.
I'd have to agree, as long as you can get over the styling,
the size and the weight. They don't work very well on a sportbike, I
can tell you that, but they're perfect on the old KLR650 I borrowed from my
neighbor for a couple of runs. The KLR seems to have the seat-to-peg
length that allows the Elephant boots to remain nice and stretched out when
They're also very comfortable, once you get them on.
The size 44's fit me just the way I like 'em from the ankle down.
They're very snug, which gives me confidence that they'll stay on my foot.
The Elephant boots are not without some caveats though.
I have what I think are pretty slim calves; measured 6" down from the center
of my kneecap (38mm), my calve measure about 15.5" in diameter (113.5mm).
But the upper part of the boots do not open very wide -- I measured a fully
closed boot (with the outer flap closed to match the Velcro) at about 122mm,
or 12" at its smallest, and about 16" at the widest.
This means that you'd have to have a 12" diameter calf for
the boots to completely close and if your calves are more than about 16" in
diameter, the boots may not fit.
Look at this photo below; the top flap is already closed
only about half-way on my 15.5" calves. I saw one photo of a rather
large sized Vendramini test rider and the boots looked like they were just
barely hanging on, so this may be a problem for those with large or stout
You'll also notice in this photo that the top buckle seems
to be binding as it's pulling on the front of the boot.. This is the
most serious flaw with the Elephant boots and, I suspect, the plain Desert
The top strap is attached to the front of the boot in a
fixed position, while the buckle itself can be rotated. This is
exactly opposite of the way it should be; the strap should be on some type
of boss so that it can be rotated to align with the buckle. The bottom
strap aligns without problems, but as soon as the boot starts to open, the
top strap gets out of alignment with the buckle. It's a real struggle
to get the upper strap lined up with the buckle and then to ratchet it
Here's another photo of me wearing the boots that
illustrates this problem. Note the orientation of the upper strap
(orange arrow) and the amount of Velcro left on the side of the boot.
It's about 90 degrees from where it should be, so when I pull it down to
align with the buckle, the leather in the front of the boot gets tight
and binds up:
I wrote to Vendramini about this but have not received a
response. I'm hoping that perhaps my pair of Elephants is a prototype
and this will be fixed on the production version? Or maybe the problem
will diminish as the boots get broken in?
I do believe that the boots need a much wider range of upper
adjustment and I think the strap problem could be fixed by simply attaching
the strap on to the boot on some type of rotating rivet or boss.
The buckles, by the way, are similar to those used on the
Vendramini Marathon Boots
we reviewed a couple of years ago. The buckle is actually a ratchet
that is used to tighten up the straps once they're inserted. The other
side of the buckle releases the strap so the boots can be removed.
Once I get them on and strapped up, the Elephant boots are
very comfortable and they feel like they offer about the maximum amount of
protection anyone could want from a motorcycle boot. Believe it or
not, walking in them isn't difficult either. The leather is thick but
relatively supple and the best part is the thick rubber soles. They
feel like they'll last forever and the sticky rubber is confidence inspiring
when pushing around a tall bike like the KLR650.
Vendramini has an assortment of parts for the Elephant and
plain Desert Alp boots also. The soles are stitched to the boots
and are replaceable, unlike most other motorcycle boots. This Vendramini photo illustrates some of
The toes of the Elephant boots are covered with some type of
metal protectors, just like motocross boots. Also, the boots feature
polyurethane coated leather; a V-Tex waterproof membrane; Outlast
phase-change fabric (which is supposed to keep cool in the summer and warm
in the winter); removable insole; and crush resistance or armor for the
instep, ankle, toe, heel and tibia.
Those steel-look sections on the boot are hard armor and
there's a round armor plate sewn into the leather over the ankle on the
inside. The boots also have a padded elastic surround at the top to
help prevent moisture and dirt from intruding.
It's my understanding that the Vendramini Desert Alp
Elephant boots are available in sizes 36 to 51 (Euro), which is actually a
very wide range. See the
Clothing Sizing Charts for information on size conversions.
OK, now I want you to find a nice, comfortable seat.
Turn on XM channel 77 (Audio Visions) and take a nice, deep breath through
your nose and slowly let it out of your mouth.
Are you ready?
The Vendramini Elephants carry a list price of 399 €.
At the current mercenary exchange rates, that's about $517.00. But
count in shipping and handling, and expect to pay around 600 Georges for a
The Vendramini Elephant boots are outrageously cool, they're built like a
brick Kremlin and they walk the walk. I sure hope Vendramini at least
fixes the strap problem and hopefully opens up the tops a bit. But who
said motorcycling was logical? If you want the coolest looking
adventure boots on the planet to go with that HP2, look no farther.
Outside (left) and inside (right) views.
Liner and upper of the Vendramini Elephant.
Close-up of buckle and Elephant patterned leather.
Hefty real rubber soles and toe protectors.
Close-up of hand-fitted replaceable toe protector.
Another close-up of the Elephant grained exterior and the quality stitching.
Top of the boot also showing the metal-like armor sections.
Vendramini Desert Alp plain leather.
Review: Vendramini Desert Alp Elephant Boots
Vendramini (Italy) or
Retail Price: 399 € (Approx. $517.00)
Comments: Very comfortable. Boots provided by BikerWorld
USA for this review.
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