O’neal has a big range of boots, with 50 years spent improving its design. The features of the Rider boots were discussed in the January issue (#484) but here’s a recap.
They have a Snap-Lock buckle closure system, a rear pull tab to help you yank them on and injection-moulded plastic plates to protect your feet. The sole actually has some tread and there’s a mesh interior to stop things getting too sweaty.
COMFORT The air-mesh interior of the boots and the durable Goodyear welt sole add to the comfort and support of this boot. As you wear the boots in, they mould to your feet and feel surprisingly light, both on the bike and walking around.
STRUCTURE Everything in these boots helps maintain the structure. My feet and ankles feel very protected. After finally getting some rain, I ended up riding in hail but the water drained out fairly quickly and the boots kept their shape.
STYLE The black and pink colourway and design of the boots are fresh. They have different tactile features which add to the boots’ sophistication.
TAB The pull tab on the back of the boots is quite small so it isn’t much use. It needs to be longer and maybe sewn in a loop so there is extra leverage.
STIFF It’s hard to get a balance between protection and flexibility with boots and even though I have been breaking in these ones for a few months they are still somewhat stiff, so it’s hard to move my ankle.
The O’Neal Rider boots are a go-to when I’m riding. The comfort and protection are great. The colours and style make them look fresh and, being mostly black, dirt and dust don’t show as much and you can’t see any scuff marks. The boots are easy to put on but the pull tab could be bigger. Due to all of the protective features, the boots are still quite stiff but they have loosened up. I’ve ditched the work boots for good! Bec Wilson
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