I’m an off-the-rack kind of guy. I don’t usually have things tailored. Same goes for footwear. I’d try on some size 10.5s and if they didn’t immediately rub my feet the wrong way, done deal, I’d buy them. Unfortunately, poor fit rears its ugly head after you have walked (and ridden) in a pair of boots a whole day, not in the one-minute test ride at the shoe store. Then regret sets in.
So I decided it was time for a pair of real nice riding boots, ones that fit correctly, were made to my feet, and offered good protection when riding. Oh, and did I mention they need to be tough as nails and last a lifetime? Tall order to fill.
I looked to West Coast Shoe Company (Wesco) to fit the bill. While Wesco has off-the-rack inventory of some of its products, I opted to try its custom-fitting program. After my initial meticulous measuring process (see page 58), I selected from the some 18 different options available, and 10 weeks later I received the “designed by Steve” boots you see here. Because Wesco boots are handmade by craftsmen, delivery times vary depending on workload and season, but I’d say it was worth the wait. Whenever I slip my feet into these boots, my feet feel like someone’s hands are wrapped around them. The arch support is in the perfect place, and they are not loose anywhere.
Mine are the 11″ tall Boss design in single tone black leather with a Vibram sole. I added options like the gray Cambrelle lining ($50), Wesco buckle on the instep strap ($15), black stitching ($25), and the motorcycle gearshift patch on the left boot ($40). Add on the custom fit fee ($95) to the base boot price ($458) and you have a hefty price tag. But I ended up with a pair of boots fit for a lifetime of hard duty, or a nice easy ride on a cruiser.
Truthfully, these Wesco boots take a long while to break in. I’d call these boots heirloom quality, but I could never pass them down to anyone. They were made specifically for my feet, and they feel the part. RB — by Steve Lita
Hard Data: West Coast Shoe Company, Boss Custom Boots, Boot shown, $683, 800/326-2711, www.WestCoastShoe.com