If you look at the lineage of any decent piece of Café Racer clothing, you will invariably see its origins dating back to either a military or industrial use. They are after all, the two scenarios that demand the most from their design and construction.
So, if we’re looking specifically for Cafe Racer boots, the same rules apply in terms of quality, price and usability. OK, so how they look plays a big part too, but when it comes to riding boots it’s usually best not to let form win out over function. It is after all, the first thing to touch the floor when you’re slowing down or cornering.
If you want to adhere to the strict Cafe Racer boots style of the 1960’s, you’re probably looking for something like this. These are the 12’’ leather Phoenix boot by Fammz and feature that authentic gear change instep patch. They appear to have Velcro fasteners rather than zips, so won’t be waterproof but they’d look pretty good with a pair of white socks rolled over the top. The Phoenix retail for around $130 and are available in either black or brown.
Over double the price ($298) but looking like twice the boot, these Engineer 12R boots by FRYE look like you’ll be leaving them to your grand kids in your Will. According to the company, having opened their doors in 1863, makes them the oldest continuous production boot makers in the US, supplying them to the army during WWII, even General Patton wore them.
The boots are just over 14’’ high, with a 1.5” heel and come with two brushed silver adjustable buckles. Customer reviews give a massive thumb ups, stating that after the initial break-in period, they’re very comfortable with the overall view, that although expensive, they’re worth it.
I know what you’re going to say, these aren’t strictly Café Racer boots, they’re just a cheap copy combat boot. Well yes they are, but didn’t the original Greasers back in the day adapt flying boots for riding? And besides, I actually have a pair of these myself and for the money they do the job just fine. No, I wouldn’t go on a route march in them or ride through a storm, but for everyday use they do the job just fine.
Don’t forget when you’re choosing a riding boot, laces and moving parts don’t play well together, but something like these Original SWAT 8’’ come with a side zip so just do the lace up good ‘n tight and zip in and out of them.
Photos by: amazon.com