About six years ago, I witnessed a dude fly out of his shoes after going down on his bike at about 45 mph. The craziest part was that his Chuck Taylors flew off at the point of impact while the poor guy rolled down the road like a rag doll. Why his shoes flew off probably has to do with the laws of physics or gravity or something to that degree (I’m not a scientist), but nevertheless, he wasn’t outfitted with proper footwear for riding. And because of that horrific image now implanted in my brain for the rest of my days, it taught me a very prolific life lesson: always wear protective footwear when riding.
Always Wear Protective Footwear when Riding
The Kicker Street Shoes from Shift Racing ($129.95) are made from genuine leather/synthetic leather and aren’t your run-of-the-mill lace-up/slip-on boots. The Kickers feature a simplistic, sporty look (picture Michael Jordan-era basketball high-tops) with the lightweight comfort that works well for the long nights of cruising the streets on foot after the long days of carving the canyons on your bike.
After tying the double knot on the speed-lace system, and fastening the alloy buckle closed at the ankle, I knew that if I were to fly off my bike, the Kickers would stay where they were supposed to … on my feet. But after a long day riding and since my wife has a strict “no shoes on in the house” policy, they’re easy to get off, too.
Here at HOT BIKE’s in-house shop, the garage floor sometimes turns into a slippery mess because of oil, etc., but with the Kicker’s non-slip bonded soles there’s plenty of traction when backing up a heavy bike. Other boots I’ve used when backing a heavy bagger out the garage door have posed a risk of me losing my footing and worse off, almost dropping the bike because of the slippery surface. So far Shift’s soles do what they claim. Also, the soles stay firmly planted on my bike’s footpegs. There are no rubber inserts on the raw metal pegs and my old boots gradually slide around due to vibration.
A Litte Time to Break in
The one little complaint if you could even call it that is that it takes a little time for the Kickers to break in. The upper part of the boots sort of dig into the lower shin area when the alloy buckle is tightened, and if you loosen it (it’s adjustable), you don’t feel as secure as when it’s properly snugged. It’s not too big of a deal, and once you get past that point, you’ll be a satisfied customer. Now that the testers are broken in, I spot them almost every day.
As of now, the Kicker’s only come in sizes 7-14 with no half sizes available. They’re available in all black (shown) or black and white with a funky pattern, kind of like you’d see from Shepard Fairey (OBEY), and at less than $150, you can put a reasonable price tag on safety.