An Iconic Boot More Than Lives Up to Its Reputation
Daytona Road Star GTX Boots Detailed Review Summary
There’s truth in the pitch that the Daytona Road Star GTX is “often copied, never achieved”. It’s a preeminent 4 season, leather, waterproof touring boot that is also a fantastic daily driver. The Road Star is handmade in Germany, CE-approved, and features premium performance, protection and style—all backed with a GORE-TEX membrane that’s guaranteed to keep you dry.
Fit and Comfort
Value for Money
Hydrophobic full cowhide construction is tough and repels water
Breathable GORE-TEX membrane is waterproof
Rear VELCRO® closure fastener adjusts for larger calf sizes
Two zip fasteners for quick and easy entry
Excellent ankle protection on both anterior and posterior sides
Comfort via padded interior with open-cell foam
Wide shinbone padding with latex foam interior
Reinforced gear change cushion made from abrasion-resistant PU foam
Reduced vibrations via PU foam insole and gel layer
Plastic reinforced inner sole with a hot-dip galvanized steel inlay allows you to gently roll your feet
Visibility via 3M-Scotchlite heel reflectors
Non-slip rubber sport sole helps you stay planted
2-year warranty speaks to the brand’s commitment to quality
Wide footbed—may need to size down
Not a true off-road boot
Not for hot, humid conditions
Daytona Road Star GTX Boots Detailed Image Gallery
The Daytona Road Star GTX Boots are a handmade piece of kit from a brand well-known for their quality and attention to detail.
The quality of materials and the way they’ve been assembled immediately mark these boots as a premium-quality product.
These boots might not be breathable enough for riding comfortably on the hottest days of the year—but beyond that, they’re a comfortable, good-looking option that’s well worth their admittedly high price.
The Daytona Road Star GTX Boots: A Legend for the Ends of Your Legs
There are lots of serviceable motorcycle boots out there, but truly excellent ones only come along every so often. The Daytona Road Star GTX Boots have a reputation for being one of those elusive, supremely-well-made pieces of kit—so when I got the chance to review them for webBikeWorld, I jumped at it.
I wore these boots from July to September 2022, taking them through a wide variety of terrain and riding conditions. Read on to find out about my experience, and whether I’d recommend these boots for you.
Any serious motorcyclist likely knows that Daytona has been making heirloom-quality motorcycle boots in Germany since 1962. The company is family-owned and run by Reinhard and Helmut Frey. The Frey family opened its shoe factory in Eggenfelden (Lower Bavaria) in 1957 and started making boots specifically for motorcycling five years later. This makes it one of the oldest, and doubtless one of the most highly esteemed boot makers in the motorcycling industry.
In a refreshing break with marketing mumbo-jumbo and advertising “flash”, Daytona quietly goes about its business, using premium materials and a steadfast commitment to quality. Each boot consists of over 120 individual parts and is meticulously assembled by hand. The company adds a markup, but there is no pretense here; the Frey brothers know that their boots are not for everybody and they’re ok with that. They don’t make money selling volume; they sell value. Their clientele are riders that want an apex-level product on their feet and are willing to pay for it.
Daytona boots are built to last, and it is not uncommon to see 10-15 years of service from a pair. A 2-year warranty is standard, and Daytona will re-sole boots, replace membranes, and generally fix or replace any aspect of the boot for as long as you own them. Can’t say that about many other boot manufacturers.
First Impressions of the Daytona Road Star GTX Boots
The first thing I noticed about the Road Star GTX is the subtle—yet unmissable—print on the box. “Made in Germany. By Hand”. The message is clear; you’re about to open a box with something special inside. Something crafted in the European tradition and made by an expert craftsman.
Of course, I knew before ordering the Road Star GTX that it sits pretty much at the top of the motorcycling food chain when it comes to boots. Still, opening the box I could immediately tell that there was something special about them. They ooze quality. It’s an understated, clean-looking quality, but something you can’t help but notice.
Daytona can take between 6 and 8 weeks to make a pair of boots, and it shows. No loose stitching anywhere, nothing out of alignment. In short, the Road Star GTX simply looks like a high-quality item, with very thoughtful touches that only a true craftsman would think of—like the textile reinforcement around the heel for added abrasion resistance.
One look at the Road Star GTX and you pick up the thoughtful touches, like additional textile reinforcement at the heel and the integration of Scotchlite reflective material with the stretch accordion panel.
The other immediately recognizable feature of the Road Star GTX are the chunky dual zippers on either side of the front of the boot that open it up nice and wide, making it very easy to slip your foot in.
Daytona Road Star GTX Boots Build Quality
Daytona pride themselves on the quality of their work. In fact, it’s probably the single biggest differentiating feature for them when you think about how they position themselves in the motorcycling marketplace.
For the Frey brothers, it’s about using only the finest raw materials; using the most modern manufacturing techniques; pushing the envelope on safety and comfort; and delivering a product that you can forget about during long hours in the saddle. This last point is especially important to me.
I log 15,000-20,000 miles a year on my bikes and regularly undertake long tours characterized by 8-10 hours of daily riding. The single biggest pain point I encounter is uncomfortable feet.
Build quality is really a reflection of how the various parts of whatever you’re using—in this case, boots—come together to deliver on the implicit or explicit brand promise. The primary material in the Road Star GTX is hydrophobic cowhide that has been treated during the tanning process. This delivers a not insignificant degree of water resistance, but for good measure it is backed up with a breathable GORE-TEX liner to ensure your feet stay dry.
The leather is reassuringly thick, but pliable to the touch and there is an undeniable sense that nothing has been left to chance in the integration of the various materials that make up the boot. The schematic diagram below, reproduced from the bottom of the box the Road Stars arrived in, showcases the many elements that come together to deliver the quality Daytona is famous for.
Assembly & Stitching
Perhaps the most important thing I can say with respect to build quality is that the quality of materials used is a necessary but not sufficient condition for a quality finished product. The way in which those materials are treated, the way in which they come together is what ultimately determines if the money spent is justified.
As noted above, the Road Stars on first impression exude a quality vibe. After 2 months on and off the bike I’m pleased to say that every aspect of this boot works exactly as it was intended. The various layers of outer leather, foam padding, leather lining, and so on work invisibly and harmoniously and cradle your foot. The ankle and rear capping is lined with foam, as is the shin protector.
Zippers & Fasteners
The zippers, while chunky, roll smoothly, and I’ve never had the feeling that something was the least bit dodgy. Even the pop of reflective material at the rear of the boot seems to be just a little bit better than on other boots.
Every aspect of the boot has been thoroughly thought through and the execution in assembly is flawless. In short, you pull these on and you “know” that you are wearing something special, something of real quality.
Daytona Road Star GTX Boots Fit & Comfort
The Daytona Road Star GTX boots range from size 4-16.5 (US Men’s) and 36-51 (European) with 5 different width options. They are also available in half sizes, so you shouldn’t have any issues finding the right size.
I typically wear a European size 45 in all my riding boots (from brands like Belstaff, REV’IT, and Alpinestars), and the Daytonas are the same—I found them to fit true to size. I will say that the toe box of the boots is a little wider than my other boots, but if anything that only adds to the comfort factor for me. Still, some riders will want to consider sizing down a half to a full size to dial in the fit.
Daytona also offers a woman’s version of the boot that has a raised heel. They call it the Daytona Lady Star GTX, and it is identical to the men’s version, but with a raised heel. Sizing in the woman’s boot ranges from 4.5–8 (US Women’s) and 35–39 (European).
Adjusting the Fit
Two additional comments on fitment. First, the calf area of the boot is adjustable through a wide range courtesy of two vertical Velcro panels at the rear or calf area of the boot, so most riders will be able to modify the fit here to maximize comfort. Second, the twin zip system on the front of the boot, one of which runs nearly to the toe area, makes the Road Star GTX a dream to put on or take off. And the zips are glove-friendly!
The Road Star GTX is an extremely comfortable boot. Once the twin front zips are done up, and the calf adjustment dialed in (something you really only have to do the first time you put them on), you’d be excused for thinking you were wearing a pair of loafers. Seriously. The boots have a plush inner liner, an anatomical footbed, and a suede cuff at the top.
It all adds up to a boot whose bomb-proof protection (see below) is artfully hidden inside the equivalent of a velvet glove. After 2 months of more or less constant use, I find that the other boots in my kit are being seriously neglected; I just don’t want to wear anything else.
The Road Star is aimed at tour riders, and I can readily understand why, but I also think it excels as a daily driver. Even on short blasts around town, I am still a bit giddy at how comfortable my feet are when I have them on. I currently have a pair of Belstaff Endurance boots, a pair of REV’IT Pioneer boots, and a pair of Alpinestars Oscar riding shoes. I’ve previously owned TCX and Stylemartin and while all have their place, not one of them comes close to the comfort and performance of the Road Star GTX.
Part of what makes the Road Star GTX so comfortable is the non-slip, rubber sole. It’s very supportive, feels great on my ADV foot pegs, and is easy to use off the bike—walking around is not an issue. The boots weigh about 2 pounds each, but you honestly don’t notice it when you’re off the bike. At no time have I felt like I’m wearing something clumpy or bulky.
Warmth & Breathability
If there is any caveat on all the gushing I’ve done above, it might be that the Road Star’s materials and construction likely make it a cold to warm weather boot and not something you’d reach for on the hottest days. Even with a GORE-TEX liner, there are limits to how much breathability you can get in hydrophobic leather!
Still, this is a minor quibble; most of us riding in hot, humid conditions are going to have a purpose-built shoe for those conditions. For everything else, the Road Star GTX is, in my experience, faultless.
Daytona Road Star GTX Boots Protection
Protection is always a hot topic in assessing motorcycle boots. Obviously, riding a motorcycle is dangerous and you therefore need adequate protection, but the key word is “adequate”.
As their name suggests, the Road Star GTX is not intended to compete with serious offroad or motocross boots. Similarly, these boots are not likely going to be your first choice for a track day. If you evaluate them against other road-intended boots, however, you can’t help but be impressed with the protection scheme.
The toe, heel, ankle and shin areas are all reinforced, and the heel areas also have 3M Scotchlite reflectors. The ankle and shin protectors are backed with foam for comfort against the foot. The soles are reinforced with a galvanized metal strip, giving them additional rigidity protection.
That said, the sole still provides enough flexibility to make the Road Stars comfortable for walking around off the bike. And of course, the leather that makes up the main chassis of the boot offers exceptional abrasion resistance.
Waterproofing in the Daytona Road Star GTX Boots
The Daytona Road Star GTX boots offer what I might call “triple threat protection” against wet feet. First up is the hydrophobic cowhide main construction, which does a great job of keeping water out, especially light rain. Next is the high-quality finish on all seams and the similarly high-quality zips that prevent water from getting in—these are often weak zones in other boots. Finally, the Road Star GTX boots have breathable Gore-Tex liners, the industry standard, as a tried-and-true barrier against wet feet.
Despite testing these boots during the end of the summer riding season in Alberta, Canada I still encountered wet conditions—more than I would have liked, actually—but the Road Star GTX boots kept my feet warm and dry. I typically wear my pants over top of my boots to prevent water from running down my pant leg and into the boot, or to guard against water bouncing off the road in a heavy storm and entering the boot. That said, the height of the Road Star GTX is 29cm and should help to provide additional weatherproofing (and keep feet warm in colder temperatures).
Aesthetics of the Daytona Road Star GTX Boots
Beauty, it is often said, is in the eye of the beholder, but for me the Daytona Road Star GTX boots are very pleasing aesthetically. The profile of the boots is slim and the lines are clean. In some respects, these boots offer a “stealth” look, especially if worn under jeans or other riding pants.
They do not announce themselves as biker boots with a lot of hard parts, buckles and the like. This makes them quite versatile; you can easily stroll into a coffee shop or bookstore, or simply walk the high street of the town you’ve just rolled into without announcing yourself as a “biker”.
Daytona Road Star GTX Boots Value for Money
If beauty is subjective, so too with value for money. Let’s face it, $450 USD is a lot of coin for a pair of boots. As you’ve probably gathered from everything I’ve said above, I think the Daytona Road Star GTX is worth the money. The combination of build quality, comfort, protection, and warranty are all factors. But there’s something else, too.
Many years ago, one of my brothers and I each bought a pair of boots at about the same time. He bought a cheap pair with poor stitching and glued soles. I spent three times as much money and bought a pair of Frye boots. My brother wore his out in under six months and would go on to buy several more pairs of cheap boots while my Frye boots just kept looking better with age.
The lesson here is that sometimes you truly do get what you pay for. In addition to the obvious build quality of the Road Star GTX, the fact the boots can be resoled is a huge selling feature for me. I love the idea that I can put in several thousand miles on these boots and, when needed, send them back to Daytona to be resoled, or to have a zipper replaced, without ever losing the patina or the feeling that a pair of boots I’ve traveled the world with is “done”.
Final Thoughts on the Daytona Road Star GTX Boots
These boots are very comfortable right out of the box, comfortable off the bike, waterproof, and give me a great deal of confidence because of the way the protection has been thoughtfully incorporated into the overall design of the boot.
Yes, the Road Star GTX is not cheap, but when you consider the abuse your feet take on a motorcycle, especially on long tours, buying a pair of these is a no-brainer in my opinion. And just think of the money you’ll save in not having to buy another road boot!