Bates Footwear, a division of Wolverine Worldwide, has been providing boots for the U.S. military and law enforcement members for decades. But it wasn’t until January of this year that it entered the motorcycle footwear market. The company initially launched four boots, two each in its “Speed” and “Street” lines. The SP500 Adrenaline, the “SP” designating it’s from Bates’ “Speed” collection, is among its first offerings. Boots from the “Speed” line have small reinforced panels at the ankles with Poron XRD, a soft foam whose urethane hardens to form a protective shell when impacted. We like the idea of having the most protection possible, one of the reasons we opted to put the SP500 Adrenalines to the test.
The SP500 Adrenaline Boots are among the first moto-footwear offered by Bates, a company that’s been making boots for the U.S. Military and law enforcement officers for decades.
While Bates refers to the Adrenalines as boots, styling and size leans more toward hiking shoes. We say that because they’re lace-ups that come up just above the ankle with a fairly thin sole. The majority of the boot is made of full grain leather. The toe is reinforced and the heel is protected by a hardened molded shell. There’s an extra strip of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) for a toe shifter along with an extra swath of TPU on the lateral side of the foot. Despite looking like a hiking shoe, they’re properly reinforced in the right areas. The sole has an intricate pattern to it, reminiscent of a rain tire’s tread, and has provided plenty of traction when backing a 675-pound Harley out of my garage and up an inclined driveway. The boots could use a bit more of a lip between the heel and sole for notching onto pegs, though.
The inside has a honeycomb-like pattern that extends to its padded insert. The lining is claimed to be waterproof, but at this juncture we have to take their word for it because we’ve worn them primarily on hot, dry summer days. Despite being black and having no pores the Adrenaline Boots haven’t roasted our feet. The laces allow them to be slipped on quick and easy and the extra elastic strap sewn into the top of the tongue for tucking laces into once they’re tied is a useful feature.
Where the Bates SP500 Adrenaline Boots shine is comfort. They felt good on our feet right out of the box so break-in time is virtually non-existent. They have a bit of arch support and flex easily when you walk. They’re lightweight, each shoe weighing a scant 1.2-pounds. Style is subjective, but between the black leather and TPU panels, the Adrenalines look similar to rugged tactical boots. The Bates SP500 Adrenaline Boots are available in one color, Black Leather, at a cost of $200. In the two months we’ve worn them, the boots have held up well except for a couple of frayed stitches on the top of our left boot. The leather’s conforming nicely to the shape of our feet. For riders looking for a departure from traditional riding boots, Bates’ Adrenaline Boots might just be the tonic.