Thursday, 11 February 2010

Product Review: Soubirac Kliper 2 boots

Last weekend I went to Marseilles via the Camargue (photos will be posted this weekend). It was the ideal occasion to test out a pair of Soubirac "Kliper 2" motorcycling boots.

© Soubirac

As you can see, they look more like army boots than normal riding boots. That's not surprising, since Soubirac supply the French fire brigade, police and armed forces. So that means that they should be solid enough for motorcycling.

Let's take a look around the outside. They are pretty standard lace-up boots, with a zipper on each side of the ankle to make putting them on and taking them off very easy. The sole is heavy duty and made of natural rubber (pretty rare nowadays, and a nod to the new environmentally-friendly ethos). The upper is made of thick yet supple leather that is treated to be water-repellent. The rear part of the boot is made of quilted water-repellent Cordura.

Now let's have a look inside. The entire boot is lined with a waterproof, windproof and breathable layer similar to Goretex. There are bellows-like flaps (also made of Cordura) behind the zippers, thus preventing water from getting in (zippers are always a weak point in this respect).

Right, so now let's put them on. The two zippers on either side of the ankle make this easy. Straight off I found them to be very comfortable indeed; the supple leather and the comfy interior lining no doubt play a role in this. With a thick pair of socks (I used Thorlo hiking socks) my little (size 9 1/2) feet were warm as toast. However, this also means that your feet heat up if you walk around in them, not that I'd complain during the winter months; in spring and summer it might be a bit of a pain in the arse, though!

The interior lining's wind-stopping power is not bad at all; the cold only got to my feet after an hour and a half or so. However, the combination of the special lining and a pair of reasonably thick socks meant that a 15-minute wait for a ferry to cross the River Rhone saw my feet warming up quite quickly; a brief spell in warm indoor surroundings have the same effect.

On the final leg of my ride, I spent some two-and-a-half hours riding in heavy rain. When I finally reached home and removed my boots, my socks were only beginning to get a bit damp.

The only negative aspect is that a few prods of the shifter left a mark on the upper of the left-hand boot; for a boot made by a supplier of the fire brigade, police and armed forces I found that slightly disappointing. However, the fact that my gear pedal and linkage are set up for my Sidi Vertigo racing boots. No doubt a few minutes with a spanner and an Allen key might make a difference on that point.

One great advantage, apart from their waterproof and windproof qualities, is that these boots can be worn around town with a pair of jeans, which means that for a weekend trip, you don't have to take a second pair of shoes in your kit, meaning that you can travel lighter.

In all I was quite impressed by the Soubirac Kliper 2 boots. They have very good waterproofing and wind-proofing, they're comfortable and they look good. All for 150€ from French motorcycle clothing specialists Cardy (, who delivered them to my door in four days.

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