Date reviewed: May 2019 | Tested by: John Milbank| Price: £139.99 | www.fowlers.co.uk
As a big fan of riding in protective motorcycle jeans and a leather jacket, I appreciate a good-looking pair of traditionally-style bike boots. The Duchinni Sherwoods being reviewed here offer a retro design with a waterproof lining – I’ve been using them for the past two months on bikes like the Yamaha MT-10, Niken and Honda MSX-125.
With a full-grain leather upper, oil-resistant non-slip rubber sole and a waterproof liner these boots are well-specified for the relatively low price.
The leather has a deep texture and a good overall look, though being a matt-finish, it does look worn quickly. Personally, I like my boots to look aged, and while these are harder to keep clean than something with a deep gloss shine, it’s a style I like.
The boots have seven pairs of lace holes, along with a zip on the inside edge. You do need to undo the laces to get the boots on and off, despite the zip, but the system does make for a secure fit once on your feet.
The zip’s quite large – it doesn’t hit anything on my MT-10, but keep an eye on where your foot rests. A small piece of heat-shrink tubing on the zip’s toggle would add protection, and also stop the rattling you occasionally notice while walking around.
As is required of all motorcycle clothing in the UK, the Duchinni Sherwoods are CE-approved, tested to EN 13634:2017. This means that the sole is crush-resistant (important if your foot’s caught under the bike in an accident), and the armour on either side of the heel combines with a solid construction to provide a good level of safety.
From April 21 2018, all new motorcycle clothing is deemed to be Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). To meet this legislation, it must be tested to a recognised standard. For more information on the new laws, click here.
My feet are typically around a size nine to ten, though a little wide – these UK 45s fit me well and match the sizing of most other bike boots. They’re comfortable on the bike, and good off it, though after a few hours of walking the bottoms of my feet get quite achy.
Comfort and fit will be subjective, but these don’t quite give the all-day wearability of some of the other boots that I’ve worn.
Grip is good thanks to the heavily-textured rubber sole bonded to the bottom of the boot, though it is showing signs of wear from the pegs. Feel is good through the pegs, but at the compromise of reduced comfort if you’re wearing them all day off the bike.
A waterproof and breathable membrane is fitted, though course they’re not as high as more traditional motorcycle boots, so like any of this design, there’s more of a chance of getting water down the top. This style isn’t really for all weather touring, but they’re not going to get too cold and wet if you get caught-out briefly in the rain.
Part of the CE PPE approval process for any boots that are claimed waterproof is a tank test that sees the footwear submerged in water, then flexed by machine to simulate walking – the Duchinni’s are marked ‘WR’ as having been certified, but when I submerged mine just above the sole for five minutes, they did both leak at the front. This seems likely to be down to the small gaps created by the toe cover, where the leather wraps under and is bonded to the sole, though heavily-worn boots can also leak a little at the front due to the constant creasing of the membrane when walking.
Compared to some of the other retro-styled boots on the market, the Duchinnis are relatively well-priced, with a pleasingly old-school styling and a good fit.
While outright waterproofing isn’t as essential on a boot of this style, it’s a shame they don’t perform quite as well as some of the others on the market, and that the soles are a little hard for all-day comfort.
Once a small niche in motorcycle boots, competition is now tough when it comes to a traditional look – owners of customs, nakeds and café racers are snapping up this type of footwear so the choice is huge.
If you want to keep the cost down, and aren’t so worried about all-day use off the bike or waterproofing, the Duchinnis are worth checking out.