European shoemaker Piloti
takes aim at the motorcycle market with its Moto 800 design. Better known for its specialty automotive footwear, Piloti designed the new motorcycle boots
with rider comfort off the bike as a prime component, with the US Grand Prix a key cog in the new boot’s story.
Piloti is best known for its automotive designs, but looks to crack the motorcycle boot market with its comfy Moto 800.
As anyone who has attended the annual Red Bull US Grand Prix can attest, fans walk around a lot at California’s Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway. The hilly circuit can be both brutally hot and crowded, so the last thing riders want dragging them down is an uncomfortable pair of boots. Piloti claims to have developed its new Moto 800 riding boot based specifically off customer requests at the USGP. In fact, the boot name itself refers to the 800cc displacement of the MotoGP machines. Piloti states in its PR hype that: “Customers wanted a riding boot that was strong enough for use while riding, but with the comfort and style to be worn all day.”
So do the Moto 800s deliver?
Let’s first start with its credentials on the bike. The Moto 800 features almost all the stuff a rider expects from purpose-built motorcycle footwear. There’s the familiar reinforced patch above the big toe for gear shifting. The extra padding does the job, with the grippier leather texture (dubbed Tec-Tuff leather in Piloti PR) catching the shifter well. Keeping the laces free of entangling with the foot controls, a mid-foot span covers the entire tongue area, buckling down on the other side with Velcro. An arched groove in the sole accommodates footpegs and is a comfortable feature, particularly when standing on the pegs to stretch out on those long rides. The rubber sole construction makes for sure-footed stops and parking lot tip-toe maneuvers.
The Moto 800s perform all the riding duties above well enough, but it’s the comfort factor is where the Pilotis excel. After a modest amount of break in time the Moto 800s feel like a familiar pair of shoes. In the past we’ve enjoyed the casual sneaker-like comfort of riding shoes, like theShift Fuel Street Shoes
, but where the Shift design feel more like a sneaker, with thinner soles, the Piloti is more akin to a sturdier, light hiking boot. Piloti credits its “patented dual-density Roll Control heel,” which sounds comfy in a highfalutin way, but the 800s provides plenty of real-world cushion. Our feet have yet to be sore after walking around all day long, something we can’t say for all the boots we’ve tested (or regular shoes for that matter!).
Waiting in line to grab Rossi's autograph at Laguna Seca... That's where the comfortable shoes thing comes in, you'll be standing in line for a while.
The Pilotis are cozy enough that we source them regularly as footwear on our non-riding days as well. Our only real gripe comes in breathability. While there are some perforations in the body design, the perforated tongue doesn’t allow much circulation with the mid foot-span Velcroed down. This can make for mild discomfort in the brutally hot summer temps we’ve been wearing our test units.
Style-wise the Piloti merge casual, class and function. These are boots that can be worn to the office (unless you’re a real big wig of the suit and tie variety) and out to dinner, yet still deliver the riding benefits a motorcyclist craves. The available color options are understated black or brown leather with colored stitching, with a red/black combo for those with a little more panache.
The drawback to the Piloti Moto 800 are the quite spendy $180 MSRP. And they aren’t flawless. On our test boots, the blingy Piloti-branded button on the Velcro strap fell off shortly after we started wearing them. We also noted a couple loose stitches, though the overall build quality makes us confident the Moto 800s will last many a riding season. The exclusive European brand name jacks up the price some, we’re sure, with $180 more coin than we’d expect to shell out.
But are the Moto 800s worth it? Well, these boot are made for walking… comfortable, comfortable walking.