Gear review: REV’IT! Pioneer Outdry boots

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When I first saw the REV’IT! Pioneer Outdry and Discovery Outdry boots, I was intrigued. After years of clomping around in uncomfortable buckle-up motorcycle boots, or wondering if my lace-up boots would protect me, could these be the perfect compromise? Or, would the BOA closure system fall apart quickly? Were they really worth the $600ish price tag?

I got my hands on a set of the shorter Discovery Outdry boots, and after a summer’s use, I can say they’re well-made, very comfortable, and certainly protective enough for sensible riding. Here’s the deal:

The details

The outside of the boots is mainly tough suede leather, with some synthetic material at the heel to prevent excessive wear, and a sturdy strip of rubber all around the bottom and over the toes to help keep water at bay.

There’s a replaceable Vibram outsole, and plastic armour in the ankle, heel and toe. It’s not much, but it’s there.

The inside of the boots has a mesh lining that’s supposedly microbial (the boots don’t stink, so it must work?). And, there’s an OutDry breathable waterproof liner.

A few words on OutDry: When I first saw these boots, I thought OutDry was REV’IT!’s proprietary technology. Most motorcycle gearmakers have some sort of allegedly breathable waterproof fabric that’s supposed to let a bit of air pass through, but not water. Most of these proprietary materials don’t work as well as Gore-Tex, which is the big name in breathable waterproofing. Gore-Tex is expensive and the alternatives are cheaper, so that’s why lower-priced gear often uses the waterproof membranes and fabrics developed in-house.

However, OutDry is like Gore-Tex, a third-party company that partners with gearmakers (other partners include Columbia). Depending who you ask, it has some advantages over Gore-Tex. There’s lots of back-and-forth about this stuff in hiking/backpacking forums, but very little on motorcycle websites, surprisingly.

Note the wire laces, part of the BOA closure system. Push the circular buckle in and twist counter-clockwise to tighten. Pop the buckle out to loosen.

Getting back on track here, the most immediately noticeable feature about the boots isn’t the construction or the waterproofing—it’s the BOA closure.

BOA is another third-party technology that’s used in the outdoors gear world as well (flyfishing boots, snowboarding boots, bicycling shoes and much more). It replaces the usual laces and buckles with a wire that snakes through a set of eyelets, similar to bootlaces, but is tightened via a circular buckle at the top of the boot.

All in all, the boots appear well-constructed at first glance, and made with decent third-party materials. I personally didn’t find them hideously unattractive, although beauty is always in the eye of the beholder.

How did they work?

It makes me both happy and sad to say these were the best all-around motorcycle boots I’ve ever had.

Happy, because they never let me down all summer, especially the two parts I had the most questions about, the OutDry membrane and the BOA closure.

The boots look different, but not out-of-place on most bikes.

I didn’t get out in a lot of rainy weather last summer, but there were some days where I put long, wet miles in at highway speed, particularly when I returned from Cape Breton to Saint John on a soggy June day. The boots performed admirably, not letting a drop in, which is more than I can say for other brand-name boots I’ve owned over the years. And while I wore them on the hottest days of the summer, I never found them to be excessively muggy on the inside, a problem I’ve definitely had with other waterproof boots.

As for the BOA closure, I wondered if it would fall apart over time. Well, one riding season failed to kill the wire closure system, at least. And, in day-to-day usage, I found the BOA system was incredibly comfortable, always the perfect tightness. The boots were quick to remove and tighten, unlike laces and buckles, and the BOA buckle never loosened mid-ride, a problem I’ve had with standard adventure bike boots.

The outsides of the boots look pretty good, too. I’ve had motorcycle boots look seriously rough after only a single season of mixed commuting and dual sport riding, but the REV’IT!s look almost as good as the day I took them out of the box.

After a season of use, the boots still look fine.

However, I had one problem with the boots: they were just a tad too small.

It’s my fault, because I tried them on before I got them, and in the store, they were barely too tight, but they were tight. Not a problem, I figured, they were the correct Euro size (44) and would no doubt conform to my feet over the summer, becoming supremely comfortable. This didn’t happen; the boots are sturdy enough that they just didn’t “break in” at all. Had I gone up a size, they would have fit perfectly, but I was in too much of a hurry. Again, this is my fault, not REV’IT!. If I was ordering from BlackfootOnline.ca, I would have seen the following note: “We have found the REV’IT Pioneer OutDry Boots tend to run small and suggest going up if you are between sizes.” Or, as Revzilla says: “Runs small, order one Euro size larger than the size chart suggests.

So if possible, you should try them on before you buy them, and don’t expect them to be forgiving if you get the wrong size.

They are not full-length adventure boots, but they reach high enough that rain did not leak in, as my Aerostich still covered the tops of the boots.

Summary

While I did use these bikes for dual sport rides, and they are marketed as adventure motorcycling gear, make no mistake: they don’t offer anywhere near the protection of hardcore MX or enduro boots, or even more technical adventure riding boots.

That’s OK. There are plenty of riders like me who want a happy medium of protection and comfort, and although they aren’t beefy enough for hard enduro, they’re excellent street boots. If I’d paid my own money for them, I think I’d be a happy customer. It’s hard to know for sure without doing a much longer test, but for the season I had them, I was very impressed, and seriously regret my mistake of ordering them too small. If I’d just gone up a size, these would have been my all-time favourite motorcycle boots.

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