MC Tested: BMW Transition Motorcycle Boots


They don't look much like ordinary touring footwear. In fact, BMW's Transition boots would fit right into the Star Wars wardrobe department, except the boots are a lot more comfortable. Uppers are constructed from a mix of full-grain leather and Cordura fabric over a waterproof four-ply Gore-Tex membrane, with a tough, hinged plastic exoskeleton wrapped around the rear of the boot.

BMW calls the exoskeleton Biomex protection. Developed with the Centre for Orthopedics and Accident Surgery in San Moritz, Switzerland, it features a hinge that articulates the tough plastic framework on an oblique axis to mimic natural joint movement, which is supposed to protect your ankle joints from the sort of painfully unnatural movements involved in falling off a motorcycle. There's also stout shin armor, form-fitting plastic caps to protect toes and heels, as well as a washable, shock-absorbing insole to soften the blow if you have to put a foot down hard. Altogether it's sufficient protection to earn CE certification, something not as common on motorcycling footgear as you might think.Getting your hoof inside is easy. Secured by two lateral panels of hook-and-loop material, the front of the boot swings forward to reveal a nicely padded interior, complete with sweat-absorbent padding. Snug up the internal speed-lace system with one tug, pull the wraparound shin-guard back in place and you're ready to ride.

Relative to the average Italian racing boot, all that armor and padding requires a bit more break-in time, and makes the Transitions noticeably heavier. They're bulkier as well, with a bit less feel than we'd like for genuinely aggressive riding. We had to raise the shift lever on some bikes a tick to accommodate that thick sole. On the plus side, the boots are absolutely waterproof, even after four otherwise soggy hours on the autobahn into Munich. And they're more comfortable than most racier alternatives for kicking around off the bike.

At $299, the Transitions are in the ballpark for upper-echelon riding boots. Not cheap, but ours are very much alive and kicking after nearly a year of use and abuse. So? For anyone who racks up big mileage in all sorts of weather and puts comfort and protection above impersonating Nicky Hayden or Valentino Rossi, BMW's Transition boots are nearly perfect. And with a little online shopping you can beat that $299 sticker price by a margin. They're available in any color you want so long as it's black in men's (6.5-12) and women's (5-11) sizes.