Dainese TRQ-Tour Gore-Tex boots review
With my old motorcycle touring boots showing signs of impending disintegration, I went on the search this year for a pair of boots that checked all my boxes. I found it was harder than I thought.
I have a pair of Alpinestars roadracing boots for track days, and they provide wonderful protection. But that protection limits walking-around comfort and I don’t need toe sliders when riding on the street. My touring boots were waterproof and relatively comfortable for walking, but protection was limited to a couple of little discs over the ankle bones and a flimsy shin guard. I wanted shin and ankle protection, a waterproof liner, and reasonable comfort, without the clunky toe sliders. In the end I found one candidate: the Dainese TRQ-Tour Gore-Tex boots. Fortunately, they seem to be the only street boots I need.
Having worn the TRQ-Tour boots for a few months now, I’ve gathered enough information to be able to recommend them without reservations. So let’s dive into the details.
Construction and protection
The TRQ-Tour boots are made of real leather and Dainese’s D-Stone material, which is a stretchy but abrasion-resistant nylon that’s also used in other Dainese riding gear. Protection comes from additional plastic pieces on the shin, over the ankle and around the heel. The heel counter and heel cup feel particularly protective.
What really separates the TRQ-Tour from other street boots is the D-Axial system, which is a hinged connection of the hard shin plate and heel cup. The purpose is to prevent your ankle from twisting or bending too far. Bobby Buchsbaum, RevZilla’s showroom gear expert, says the TRQ-Tour boots practically sell themselves. He just takes any other street boot, holds the sole in one hand and the top of the boot in the other, and twists in all directions. Then he tries the same with the TRQ-Tour. The D-Axial system will let your ankle move in a normal range of motion, but resists hyperextension or sideways movement.
The bottom line is that these were the most protective street boots I could find without toe sliders. To me, toe sliders are the feature that divides race boots from street boots, track from street. Off-road boots are also protective, but not particularly comfortable for walking around off the bike. So the Dainese TRQ-Tour boots were about the only candidate I could find that hit my sweet spot of comfort and protection.
Some people make a big deal about buying boots (or other motorcycle gear) that don’t look like motorcycle boots. Personally, that’s not a big issue for me. I am not ashamed to let people know I arrived on a motorcycle. If I get curious looks, fine. It’s an opportunity for education.
While it’s clear at a glance that these are motorcycle boots, because of the obvious gear shift pads on the toes, they still look pretty good. The D-Axial system mostly disappears if pants are worn over the boots. They won’t set any fashion trends, but the TRQ-Tour boots don’t look unduly clunky or odd, to my eyes.
Comfort and weather protection
With boots, getting more protection sometimes means sacrificing comfort. Ankle protection can press against bones when walking, which quickly becomes painful. Stiff, protective features can make walking a chore. Given their level of protection, I find the TRQ-Tour boots to be quite comfortable. The stretchiness of the D-Stone material helps. I do recommend trying them on before buying, if possible, because everyone’s ankle bones are different shapes, and boots that cup my ankles comfortably may grate on yours. (If you buy online from RevZilla, returns are free.)
One of the main selling points of the TRQ-Tour boots, of course, is the Gore-Tex liner. Just about all the motorcycle gear manufacturers have their own proprietary waterproof and breathable membranes these days, but the consensus remains that Gore-Tex is still the most breathable. It’s also more expensive.
Unfortunately, I got these boots too late in the year to discover how they breathe on a 90-degree-plus day. I expect them to be as good as any waterproof boot, because of the Gore-Tex.
I did test them for waterproofness, both in some rain on the bike and by sitting with my left foot in a tub of water for 20 minutes or so. No surprise: Not a drop of water got in. Also, unlike some boots, the Gore-Tex liner comes all the way to the top, so even if you step in a puddle, water won’t leak in, unless it’s deeper than 11.5 inches (the approximate height of the boot).
One other little feature worth mentioning. These boots have tiny perforations, seen in the photo at the right, across the top of the foot. These are not meant to flow air for cooling. They are intended to improve breathability by letting moisture escape once it moves through the Gore-Tex liner. Another nice touch by Dainese.
Notes on fit
I wear shoes and boots in U.S. sizes 10 or 10.5. My Alpinestars SMX-5 road race boots are a size 43 and fit me nice and snugly for days at the track, and I have a pair of size 45 Sidi boots that are a bit loose on me. I intentionally bought them that way to allow for thicker socks in cold-weather riding. I first tried a 43 in the Dainese, but it was too small. I went up to a 44 and the fit is comfortably snug, which inspires confidence that the boot will be protective in a crash. I would have trouble wearing my thickest socks with these boots in that size, however.
My feet are average width, and again, the fit is comfortably snug. So, my advice on sizing: If you have wide feet, be sure to try these on before buying, and if you are between sizes, go up one.
Fit issues aren’t limited to the feet, either, and here Dainese has incorporated a smart and useful feature into the TRQ-Tour. I have chicken legs, but some guys have linebacker calves. Both of us are expected to fit into the same boots. Dainese addressed this by incorporating adjustability into the calf area. Hook-and-loop connections on both sides of the rear zipper allow you to make the boot opening larger or smaller. It’s a smart arrangement because you set it once and then use the zipper to get in and out of the boot.
The adjustability also allows you to address the one minor and unexpected drawback I encountered in the comfort department. The D-Axial system makes the use of a rear zipper, instead of a side zipper, nearly a necessity. The gusset behind the zipper keeps the boot fully waterproof, but the fold of material it creates, when the boot is zipped up, rubbed against the back of my calf when walking. I was able to eliminate this by adjusting the size of the boot opening.
One final tip: If you’re like me and are used to side zippers, be sure to lean your leg forward when putting on the boot. That lets the zipper close smoothly and easily.
At a little under $300, the TRQ-Tour boots are not cheap, which is probably why you’ve read this far and are doing significant research before buying. For Gore-Tex boots, they’re in the ballpark, price-wise, however.
If you want waterproof and breathable street and touring motorcycle boots that provide a high level of protection, but stop short of including race-level features such as toe sliders, internal lacing systems and other complicating factors, the Dainese TRQ-Tour Gore-Tex boots are one of surprisingly few options. And based on my experience, if the fit is right, you won’t go wrong with these boots.