A pair of boots for a long distance ride have to be multifaceted. At the outset they’ve got to be comfortable as you’ll probably live in them except when you don a light pair of sandals at the end of the day. They have to provide protection and warmth when you’re on the bike and yet be supple and light enough to walk or hike in. Being waterproof helps, especially if the weather’s persistently inclement and looking good enough to your eyes is vital, because to one extent or another, we are all just a little vain.
Well after 4,000 miles use on various terrain I think I’ve found just the thing: the Volt ATV from Falco. It’s a cut-down motocross type boot from Italy, so it certainly ticks the vanity box as the country that even looks like a boot, has for years led global cordwainer style, though you might just say cobblers.
Falco have been making motorcycle boots for 20 years at their factory not far from Venice, and they don’t make anything else, which is worth bearing in mind.
Much less cumbersome than a full-on off-road boot, the Volt ATV still provides great ankle support and a robust sole, but with less weight and more flexibility. The upper has a pleasing brushed nubuck finish of what’s described as hydrophobic leather, so combined with the High-Tex waterproof membrane it purports to be waterproof. The tongue is attached almost all the way to the top of the boot to stop any water ingress and the High-Tex membrane is integral here too. I’ve used these boots on filthy wet gravel roads in South Africa and in Britain through a very wet January and they are yet to leak, so they tick that box too.
Lower leg support is enhanced with extra malleolus reinforcement, which gives peace of mind but doesn’t feel intrusive. And if you aren’t a physiotherapist, the malleolus is that sticky out bit either side of your ankle.
The hi-grip rubber sole has a proper rufty tufty pattern for all-terrain use and is made by Vibram so should wear well. It offers great support when standing on the pegs and yet simultaneously plenty of feel, which is perfect.
The brown (only) leather finish is very good, as is all the stitching. Whether or not the stitching will rot in time, or after long periods immersed in a tropical climate, is yet to be seen, but to date it appears to be up to the job. As does the track adjuster on the single buckle. It’s a very simple system, as the best ideas often are, where the length of the strap that feeds the buckle is serated, each tooth providing the adjustment as minor variation to ensure perfect fit and comfort.
Boot closure is by an upper large velcro flap and the one aforementioned simple buckle which closes securely and – once adjusted to your foot width – (or number of socks) won’t need to be altered. I’m a size 43 and my feet aren’t particularly wide, however I initially thought I may have chosen badly, as it seemed a narrow fit, with the next size up definitely too big. But after a few days use, a little ‘give’ in the leather and after working out the range of minor adjustment on the buckle, they already feel like old friends I’ve worn for ages. If you are trying a pair, do take a moment to alter the strap and also consider the flexibility which the materials will have.
The lining material, which I’m afraid I can’t identify, is neat, comfortable, grey in colour and rather wonderfully, it doesn’t get smelly, even when pushed to extremes. The temperature was in the 40’s for some of my South African riding but I suffered no aromatic embarressment in the accommodation each night.
These CE approved boots are only available in the one colour, but the shade of brown is pleasing in an understated way and is pleasantly offset by the black reinforced gearchange pads and faux venting; style is everything!
Recommended retail price is £139 and sizes available are 39 – 47.
Link to the original review: http://overlandmag.com/