Vendramini Elephant Boots
by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
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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
If you want more proof of Vendramini's whimsy, check out
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 the U.S.A.
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.
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 gloves.
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
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
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
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 riding.
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 legs.
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 Alp also.
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 tight.
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
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 options:
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
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
Motorcycle Clothing Sizing Charts for information on
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 pair.
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
Top of the boot also showing the metal-like armor sections.
Vendramini Desert Alp plain leather.
Vendramini Desert Alp Elephant Boots
Vendramini (Italy) or
BikerWorld USA (U.S. Distributor)
Price: 399 € (Approx. $517.00)
Product Comments: Very comfortable.
Boots provided by BikerWorld USA for this review.
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