I finally received my big, swingin' pair a few weeks ago. I figured it was about time.
My new BMW Santiago boots are hella formidable. Rippling with muscular bulges and fastened by metal, ski-boot-style clasps, they'd fit right in at a WeHo fetish club.
Dead sexy they may be, but BMW refuses to make crap gear. Santiagos are pedigreed for all-round, crash 'n' bash, world-stomping adventure travel.
A posh lining and removable, washable insole are surrounded by a Gore-Tex waterproof layer, Kevlar armor, ankle protection and stout shin guards. Oil-resistant soles are lugged for traction and stiff enough for hours of peg-standing. "Black-on-black" reflector panels keep the style in safety. Rubberized shift pads overlay cowhide uppers that are 2.3-2.5mm thick and stand a full 14 inches high, ending just shy of my knee pads.
On the road, these boots feel plush and keep the toe-blood circulating right down into the teens. Off-road, they shrug off fusillades of rocks the way Stryker slat armor counters RPGs--you feel a dull thud and go on about your business. Spendy they may be, but your $359 could just save you 100 percent on your lower-leg-surgery budget.
The one drawback I find with my Santiagos is shifter clearance and brake feel. Greaves errant from the kingdom of Gelande StraBe, they're better suited to hot-footing it to the chuck wagon 80 miles away than to dinner the next state over. Sometimes a scalpel fits the moment better than a Claymore sword, and since most of my riding time is spent on my R1100S, the Santiagos see less peg time than my old reliable street boots.
Forerunner to the current BMW Allround Touring Boots, my Beemer road boots snug up with a draw cord and fasten across the shin with Velcro. They're cobbled from thinner leather than the Santys, and have neither rubberized nor steel armoring, but they have a nice feel and are still resolutely waterproof and warm after 20,000 miles and a fair bit of scuffing around. Someday I'll wash the insoles...
Allrounds draw about as much attention as an old pair of house slippers and are nearly as comfy, too. At $219 for the new style they're also $140 less expensive than the flash Santiagos, leaving room in the budget for garish helmet painting or a new set of ear gauges.
Both BMW boot styles work well in their intended environs. When I finally wear out my all-purpose roadies, I'll probably buy a new pair. Mine have been very good to me.
As for the Santiagos, anything that killed them off would probably mean an amputation for me. I expect them to keep stomping along well beyond the Thunderdome.
BMW Santiago And Allround Touring Boots
Price: Santiagos $359, Allround $219
Contact: BMW Motorrad USA
Verdict 4 stars out of 5
Full-on foot armor or basic-black ruggedness for everyday comfort.