Gear review: Corcoran Jump Boots
|Corcoran Jump Boots|
I think I may daydream about motorcycle gear almost as much as I do about motorcycles. That's sort of the thing about motorcycling: it gets into the blood and soon you find yourself wishing you could have All The Bikes; then, you find yourself pining for All The Things Related To Bikes.
When it comes to clothing, I suppose the bulk of my attention goes toward jackets. I'd like several different types, to suit different moods and different weather conditions. One of my long-term goals is to save up enough money to one day buy a Vanson AR3 –– the fabled, yet-to-be-released armoured version of the Vanson AR2. Or, an Aero Cafe Racer; made of horsehide, I reckon those things are pretty much indestructible (a).
After that, my attention turns to gloves, trousers, helmets, various bits and bobs like scarves and base layers, then, finally, boots. The reason boots always come last is that I can't really imagine finding a pair particularly better than those I already have.
The boots in question are a pair of Corcoran Jump Boots, which my parents bought me for my birthday. My birthday was back in March, so I've been wearing these boots in all weathers for almost a full year. It speaks to their incredible durability that I only now feel I'm really starting to break them in.
Sturdy and no frills, the thick-leather boots were designed for use by U.S. paratroopers in World War II. That means they have strong ankle and arch support. So much so, in fact, that walking can be a little awkward in them for the first several months. The leather is particularly thick, about 3.5 mm by my measurement –– considerably more than the 1.5 mm of thickness you'll find on a Vanson jacket. In other words, this boot is built to last, and the overall toughness and bad-assitude of the the thing is such that you feel it could easily double as a weapon.
Seriously, these boots alone are probably the reason we beat the Nazis.
But as hardcore as they are, I find them surprisingly comfortable. Well, you know, surprisingly comfortable for their purpose; I wouldn't play basketball in them. They fit well to my feet and accommodate all different kinds of sock thickness, depending on the weather. I find that I am able to wear them all day without complaint.
I should probably offer the caveat of acknowledging that I am able to contend with hot feet better than some people I know (I used to hike the San Diego County sections of the Pacific Crest Trail in summer wearing wool socks), but having said that, I have never really found these boots to be too warm. Even on the day I got so hot I stripped off my clothes and threw myself in the River Wye, it was not the boots that were bothering me. On the far-more-common-in-Britain opposite end of the temperature gauge, I've found that, when paired with a decent pair of wool socks, my feet never really get cold in these boots, either.
They stand up well against the wet, as well. In a ride in October the nonstop rain soaked through my pants and my gloves and parts of my jacket, but my feet were fine. This was despite the fact I've not yet bothered to put any Nikwax into the boots.
In terms of appearance, I like the fact that Corcoran boots look like, you know, boots. That is to say, boots a normal person would wear. I've never been terribly hot on the idea of getting dressed up like a Power Ranger to go riding, and instead prefer gear more subtle in look. If I'm simply riding around town, these boots look normal enough with a pair of jeans that I can walk into a café or pub without physically announcing myself as a motorcyclist (though, admittedly, the helmet and armoured leather jacket probably do that anyway). Sure, they're only as stylish as combat boots can be, but I'll choose that any day over footwear that looks like it was designed for 8-year-olds.
Lastly, and somewhat important to me, Corcoran boots are made in the United States, in Pennsylvania.
They are almost the perfect boot.
|A year of rain, dirt, oil and mud, and|
you can still see a little bit of shine on these.
I say almost because I have had two minor complaints. The first issue is that they were really shiny when I first got them. Shiny like patent leather. I suppose that's nice if you're military personnel trying to keep up appearances, or wearing these boots to your high school prom, but it can feel just a little silly when you're trying to go for an understated look on your motorcycle. Especially if, like me at the time I first got them, you are a newbie: nothing screams "NEWBIE" like shiny new gear. Fortunately, I was able to fix all this by spending a year splashing about in puddles and never washing or waxing the boots. These days, I think they look just about right.
The other problem I had, particular to the version of boot I got (stock No. 975), was its sole. It was utterly useless on just about any wet surface. Indeed, I feel the boots' super-slippery-slick-when-wet soles shoulder a fair amount of the blame for the second time I dropped Aliona. But I have recently fixed this problem by having new, grippy soles put on. And in looking at the Corcoran website there are apparently versions of the boot with different soles.
So, all in all, damned good boots. So good, in fact, that there isn't really any other boot I'd want instead. And unlike any other boots I might like, the Corcorans only cost about $130.
(a) The jackets are so tough that the suggested method of breaking them in is to put yours on, submerge yourself in water, then wear it until it dries! These are jackets that you pass down to consecutive generations. Indeed, one of the things that I often think about when wishing for an Aero jacket is that I don't have any children to give it to, and as such I fear the jacket wouldn't get enough use in my single lifetime!