H-D® Footwear Beechwood Boot Review
Riding boots have always been something hard for me to find. Between styling and comfort, I always opted for a pair of Vans Sk8-His. Which of course, offers me no protection while riding. In recent years, I’ve become wearier of the destruction that could become of my feet and ankles if I were to get in a motorcycle accident. So, I began my search for a pair of boots that would match most of my high-standard criteria: comfort, quality, and style. After giving the Harley-Davidson Footwear® Beechwood boot well over 10,000 miles of testing, I felt a review of my (current) favorite women’s motorcycle boot was warranted.
About Harley-Davidson Footwear®
When I first got into motorcycling ten years ago, I was working at a Harley dealership in Motorclothes, where I sold hundreds if not thousands of the H-D Footwear® brand over the years, but never thought to wear them myself. You’d think after having dozens of customers swear by these boots, I’d give ‘em a try. But for a while, the styling just wasn’t my “style.” Fast forward through ten years of dealership life, and I’ve seen a tremendous change in the design work of the H-DF Line. So much, that I’ve began to see my Millennial friends wear their boots recently, not just the “classic biker” crowd of Baby Boomers in their leather clad attire.
H-D Footwear® is an Officially Licensed product, meaning, it’s a private-labeled brand produced by a manufacturer. That manufacturer turns out to be Wolverine, a fairly well-known brand, worldwide, for their boot quality and craftsmanship. You may recognize some of the other brands of footwear that they manufacture: Keds, Chaco, Merrel, and more.
Why should you wear riding boots over regular boots?
Not all boots are made the same, and “riding” boots for equestrian use are definitely not the same as for a motorcycle. Typically, riding boots have rubber outsoles that will help you stay planted on slick surfaces, and are typically made of abrasion, heat, and debris-resistant materials.
Second, they are built differently to sustain the impact of a motorcycle crash, unlike work boots that are meant for high-impact accidents while standing still. Although a work boot or any other full-grain leather boot will be significantly better at saving your ankles in the event of a crash, a true riding boot is ideal. With all of that being said, while these still classify as riding boots, they are not CE Certified to my knowledge.
The Beechwood. AKA: the Badass Boot.
The Beechwoods resemble an aviator/combat boot from the 1940s, with a seemingly timeless statement: rugged, confident, bold. It’s a look that never goes out of style, and I get complimented pretty often when wearing these boots. From a counter worker at Jack in the Box, to a lady outside my local grocery store, “Those are some badass boots!” is almost always how people compliment my Beechwoods. Not only are they fashionable on the bike, they dress up well for a night out on the town. Tall boots with a cute little black dress or some cute curve hugging jeans? Yes, please!
Function and Fashion: a Win-Win
While fashion sense is always a contributing factor to my likelihood of purchasing a product, function is much more important. Some boot styles look better on others, however the Beechwoods look “badass” on just about every body type: tall, skinny, thick, short, etc. With a shaft height of 15,” they sit just below the knee, offering full heat and debris protection to your lower leg via the full-grain leather upper. No more worrying about potential exhaust burns or minor pain from rocks and other road debris! The heel height is also a mere 1.5,” allowing for maximum foot control when handling your bike. I personally don’t like boots with heels on them, as I have a size 7-7.5 foot, and a heel typically alters my ability to reach the foot controls quickly. However, I haven’t had this issue with these boots.
For a boot of its caliber, I have always felt fully confident controlling my bike while wearing them. They don’t feel clunky whatsoever, and seem to mold perfectly to my foot for maximum control while riding. The Slip and Oil-resistant rubber outsole also allows me to keep my feet planted at stoplights, or when backing my bike up on any concrete surface.
Easy Ridin’ and Walkin’
One of the best additions to these boots is the YKK® locking inside zipper, running along the inseam of the boot. I can lace these boots up before every ride via the hook eyelets, however the zipper allows for a quick and easy dress up or dress down.
My favorite part about these boots, is that there is no break-in period. Most boots I’ve tried are not comfortable for full days or wear immediately out of the box. Even on the first day of wear, I’m able to walk around and ride in these boots all day without any foot aches. While in Sturgis this year, I took a group of friends on a pretty ridiculous hike to a swimming hole, where I had to climb up and down a fairly steep ravine and through the woods for over a mile, in the Beechwoods. Not once did my feet hurt. Once again, the Beechwoods are defying my belief that there is no such thing as a great riding boot.
As far as fitment goes, I feel that these run about a half size larger than what I normally wear. I wear a 7.5 in all of my Vans shoes, but in the Beechwoods, I wear a 7. However, in other H-D Footwear models, I’ve found that a 7 is too small, so I feel that this is particular to this specific boot. If you have any H-D Dealers in your area and aren’t sure which size is right for you, I’d suggest giving them a call to see if they have the Beechwoods in stock.
Nothing is Perfect, so Here’s the Cons!
My complaint list about the Beechwoods is surprisingly short: while the boot itself is durable thanks to the Goodyear welt construction and other rugged materials, some of the minor cosmetic additions on the outside are not. On my first pair, a cosmetic stud on the heel managed to come loose, as well as part of a buckle. While these didn’t affect my ability to wear the boots for tens of thousands of miles longer, it was still a quality defect. Other than the minor cosmetic wear and tear, I really have nothing bad to say about these boots.
Tested and True
In the past two years, these boots have seen monsoons in the Black Hills of South Dakota, the sandy beaches of Baja and the Great Lakes, and even the country’s highest paved roads. Snow, rain, extreme heat, and perfect riding conditions have been tested, and the Beechwoods have persevered all the tests I’ve put them through. I’m currently on my second pair of Beechwoods, and have put 8,000 miles on them just this summer. If I ever find out that this style will no longer be produced, I’ll probably buy a few pairs to have on hand for the future, because they have truly defied what I thought didn’t exist: the perfect riding boot!
Currently the Beechwoods ring in at $220 on their website, and to me, that’s money well spent. They’re functional, fashionable on and off the bike, and provide a comfort that has yet to be matched by any other boot I’ve tried. Get yourself a pair of these “badass” boots. You won’t regret it.
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