You want some decent foot protection when riding, but squeaking your way through the aisles at 7-11 in your fancy roadrace-style boots is a little too conspicuous and a little too uncomfortable.
For those shorter trips around town, Icon’s new Hooligan Boots offer some measure of protection while being comfortable to wear to the coffee shop, school or, depending on your occupation, your job.
Key to the boots’ attraction is their jaunty style, just slightly removed from a pair of hiking boots. Making them motorcycle-worthy is the mid-foot stabilizer strap that locks down with an aluminum ski boot-type of buckle, ensuring they will stay with their owner even if the owner is sliding along the pavement; the strap is secured to a second layer of leather that wraps around the heel to provide a strong anchor.
The Hooligan’s slightly elasticized nylon laces utilize a speed-lacing system, with the lace loops tucked under the outer flap so they can’t get grabbed by nasty whirling bits of your bike. The sole of the Korean-made shoe is typical hiking boot fare, with a blocky tread pattern and a slight rise to the heel. For comfort, the upper section is padded and is lined with a mesh interior for breathability. The boot’s leather upper, rising about five inches, offers some abrasion resistance, but is too short to cover the entire ankle and allows wind and the elements in.
For those shorter trips around town, Icon’s new Hooligan Boots offer some measure of protection while being comfortable to wear on and off the bike.
In use off the bike, the Hooligans feel quite light and form well to the foot. They’re actually comfortable enough to wear out when not riding, further adding versatility. A lack of good arch support means long walks are better in another shoe.
We enjoyed having the Hooligans around as an alternative to full-on motorcycle boots, but they are not without fault. For example, the rubber nubs above the toe area are placed much too far back to be useful as scuff protection from the shift lever. Also, the supple leather used on the boots doesn’t seem to stand up well to sharp objects that can snag and damage it, and the aluminum buckle is easily marred when brushed against hard parts.
Overall, however, we liked having the option of not suiting up in full-length riding boots for those short hops around town. While they don’t have sufficient protection to recommend using them as your only motorcycle boots, they are several steps up in crash defense from that offered by the Converse and Nike riders out there.
Much like the recent Joe Rocket Phoenix mesh jacket evaluation, the Hooligans trade a bit of protection in exchange for comfort in a certain environment. But just like the Phoenix, the proof of its value is determined by how much it is used. Making the $84.95 Hooligans a strong value is the small amount of time they stay in the closet.