The new DXR Clayton casual riding boots on review here have a lot going for them; style, protection comfort and price. Having given them daily use for most of the past month – commuting, local touring, wandering the length and breadth of various cities and knocking around with the dog and toddler – it’s safe to say they’ve been well and truly put through their paces.
Packed with an impressive number of features and design touches there’s a lot to like, especially for the price. As with any product there are a few areas for improvement, but here’s how they’ve faired the miles onboard my old faithful 2016 Honda CB500X… and on foot.
The Clayton’s impress from the outset. The light tan-finished goat leather both looks and feels really good, while the overall design is subtle, but with enough style and character that I’ve found myself opting for these over my other boots since they arrived. They received an unusual number of compliments from colleagues too, often surprising people that they are truly protective as well as good looking.
The Claytons are impressively lightweight for a protective riding trainer, something that adds to the overall comfort. The choice of goat leather, known for being thin, strong and lightweight is nice to see, as is the smattering of other materials used to give detail and variety to the overall look.
The inclusion of waterproofing, great grip to the sole for all conditions and small touches like subtle reflective details to the rear, double stitching and etched gear change pad give the DXRs a premium feel and look that pushes above their price point.
Inside the combination of ‘air’ mesh liner and a breathable EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) insole have helped to ensure the Claytons felt good in all conditions, including the recent heat wave. That being said, unfortunately after just a week of commuting this insole disintegrated in both boots, the top layer separating from the main ‘foam’ base, which then started coming out in chunks. Thankfully this hasn’t worsened too much since then but suspect I’ll be needing new insoles within a matter of weeks not months/years.
Unlike a lot of casual-style boots, these don’t feature a specific gear shift ‘strip’ on the top of the foot, instead opting for an additional panel covering the whole toe area, with some etching where you might expect to shift. This looks great but unfortunately the hardened toe cap beneath the outer leather ends mid-way into this etched area and in practice sits bang on for where my shifter contacts the boot.
This has a couple of consequences, for one it creates a perfect ‘shoulder’ for the outer layer to be excessively worn by repeated shifts, and secondly means that occasionally I’ve found myself missing upshifts due to catching a softer area of the boot top. This won’t be a problem for scooter riders of course, but the wear was noticeable in this area within a couple of weeks, but like the insoles it hasn’t significantly worsened since the initial noticeable wear.
In addition to traditional laces on the front, the Claytons feature zips to the inside ankle for ease of use. These open nice and wide, although I still need to undo the laces to get in and out easily thanks to my wide feet.
The laces to the front are a really good quality, tightening over the textile tongue; a nice touch to give a bit of variation to the look of the boots.
The side zips are great quality too, although a tad on the large side, with metal pulls and slightly over-sized leather flaps to guise the zip. I had worried about catching these on one another when walking, however this hasn’t been an issue even when clumsily covering long distances on foot. The shape and height of the boots gives a really reassuring fit, which is both comfortable and well thought-through for on bike use.
The DXR Claytons feature a good amount of protection for such a casual riding boot. They meet the EN13634 safety standard against which all motorcycle boots are now tested, and this standard is split into four key areas covering boot height, abrasion resistance, cut resistance and rigidity. Impressively the Claytons meet the higher level 2 in all of these areas bar the height (due to being ankle boots).
This level of safety is achieved though the addition of armour to the ankles, toe and a stiffened sole to prevent crushing in the event of a crash. The armour used in the ankles is impressively thin and once on, indistinguishable to the feel out and about. The stiffened sole is really well balanced too, not feeling awkward or cumbersome when walking around in the boots, but solid enough to give lots of confidence on the bike. Having tried a range of brands for casual-style boots, it feels like DXR has got the balance of protection, look and comfort just right here.
For everything you need to know about the safety labels in your motorcycle kit, click here.
One of the best qualities of the Claytons is their comfort. These have been in daily use for commuting, general knocking around and several long days wandering around cities and out with the dog. Without a doubt these are some of the most comfortable boots I have ever used, I’d even go as far as saying they are some of the most comfortable trainers I’ve used. Despite all the protective qualities and extra features (waterproofing etc) DXR has done a remarkable job of making these thoroughly all-day wearable.
I’ve also had the chance to put the Claytons through a wide range of weather conditions, from heat-wave temperatures (including a 20k step day wandering around a city) and several chilly, damp morning commutes. In all they have regulated temperatures really well, and I’ve rarely – if ever – felt that sweaty foot feeling. Clearly the claimed breathable ‘air mesh’ fabric does work.
DXR describes the sole as being constructed from a ‘hydrocarbon-resistant’ rubber to improve grip and water dispersion. In use it works, as they have a really good level of grip even on shoddy surfaces and I’ve not had that slipping feeling I’ve sometimes had with other trainer-style boots when plonking a foot at the lights or catching a slippy bit of the drive while manoeuvring around. That firm grounding when balancing the bike at a stop, coupled with decent grip when out and about on foot makes for a really capable boot whatever the conditions throw at them.
The Claytons feature a breathable waterproof membrane that has kept my feet dry in all the conditions they’ve been used in. Showery rides and spray from wet roads is shed well, with the leather only showing light darkening from absorbed water (the membrane is beneath the outer layer).
While our unusual spell of warm dry weather has prevented them facing any prolonged heavy rain, they have survived repeated full submersions in puddles and streams on the morning dog walk with no issues whatsoever.
The DXRs are slightly higher than the other riding trainers I’ve used before, which should hopefully help in heavier rain, although of course a riding ‘trainer’ style boot is never going to perform as well as a full length riding boot in the wet.
The market is somewhat awash with casual trainer-style boots, but here are three other options that might be worth a look, along with real-world reviews from the Bike Social team…
The DXR Claytons have really surprised me; I’ve come to love the slightly lighter tan finish, to massively appreciate the low weight and continually found myself impressed by the comfort.
While there are a couple of durability concerns, the boots have generally held up really well to the rigors of day-to-day life, and there’s no sign of creasing to the leather (something I’m used to seeing within a matter of days with other casual boots). The finish is really good and the performance on and off bike has been very impressive.
But all of that said, probably the most impressive factor is that all that is possible in a sub-£100 boot. If you’re after some comfortable, casual-style boots these are really worth your consideration, and will likely be gracing my feet for many months to come.