Date reviewed: October 2020 | Tested by: Patricia Stiemke | Price: £160 | ixs.com
This review of the IXS Ultra Evo II Gore-Tex boots was carried out by daily rider and Bennetts Rewards member Patricia Stiemke…
After finally being fed up with getting wet feet every time I was riding through more than two puddles on the road, in 2018 I decided it was time to get some proper waterproof boots. As it was getting into October (2018) a bit of warmth was also called for, so after desperately looking for something of quality that would fit a very restrained budget, I walked into my local J&S and was offered these very reduced IXS boots. I immediately liked the look of them: solid, sturdy, warm, with the word Gore-Tex in big letters on the front flap.
It is now October 2020 and I have not regretted that decision.
After 10,000 miles of winter commuting through the cold and wet on a 1999 Kawasaki ZX-6R and, this year, on a Honda CBR500R, covering back roads, dual and single carriage A-roads and urban traffic, these boots have proven themselves to be absolute bombproof and the only ones I need for cold and wet weather riding.
The IXS Ultra Evo IIs are made of thick leather (calf nappa), followed by a breathable membrane of Gore-Tex, and a thick textile inner lining that quite generously adapts to different calf widths.
The boots have a thin textile-lined foam insole and a thick rubber profiled outer sole. The heel section is reinforced and has a plastic protrusion to easily slip the foot out. The inner ankle and shin sections have plastic padding in the leather and the shin flap is very sturdy and very firmly velcro’d on. They also allow room for width adjustment.
The outer front and back of the ankle has thick flexible ribbing and the tops of the boots are finished off with a cushioned rim.
There are also profiled rubber pads on the top of the foot near the toes. I’m guessing this is protection for the boot when shifting gears but, for me, they-re not in the right place. I tend to shift more with the front and side of my boot as the distance from foot-peg to gear lever is quite far apart and I usually ride on the balls of my feet.
The inner lining and outer boot carry YKK zippers; the inner zipper runs to the top of the boot while the outer zipper stops 9cm lower. Above it sits the velcro pad to fasten the shin flap to. The outer zipper has a velcro toggle that attaches quite neatly to the velcro pad for the shin flap, which also sticks very securely.
The zippers work smoothly but over time the inner one has been harder to do up past the point where the upper of the inner lining is reinforced with another velcro strip. The stitching that holds that bit in place is certainly thick and sturdy but definitely presents a bit of an obstacle when trying to pull up the zip in one motion, especially if you have more than one pair of socks and two layers of leggings on.
Two years on, the zippers and fastening are still as strong as ever and, unlike some of the zippers on my textiles, have not suffered from fuzzed up velcro or broken zip toggles.
The boots are CE certified to the EN 13634/02 classification with level 2 protection. They have inner ankle caps, toe and heel reinforcements.
From April 21 2018, all new motorcycle clothing is deemed to be Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). To meet this legislation, it must be tested to a recognised standard. For more information on the law, click here.
These are very comfortable boots. They’re also quite warm.
I suffer from perpetually cold feet but I don’t have to put on an extra pair of socks until the temperature drops down to 2°C or lower. The inner lining folds do not form pressure points on the legs and the cushioned rim doesn’t feel like a pressure band on the shins and calves either. Everything is tucked and lined for maximum comfort.
If you’re wearing chunky socks or various layers on your lower legs you need to pull up the back of the inner lining and the foot will easily slide in; if not you will get stuck halfway.
Also, unlike my previous all-weather boots, the inner sole does not fold up and shift around but stays firmly where it should.
In terms of hot days, if the temperature creeps over 18°C, these boots become a bit too warm for me. I expect those with good blood circulation will probably adjust that temperature downwards.
One slight drawback with the big shin flaps is that textile trousers with a thermal lining in are a bit snug to pull down over the flaps and they can ride up a bit. Also, I certainly cannot tuck my leathers into them and do up the zipper to the top on the inner boot lining.
If you’re used to racing or low-profile boots, these take some getting used to in terms of height of sole, but it also means that they’re very comfortable to walk around in off the bike, giving good ankle and arch support. I would wear these at work if I could, but this kind of footwear is not really appropriate for a laboratory.
Sadly, I managed to scuff the front of the left boot quite early on. As I was still trying to get used to the dimensions, I held them too close to the machinery when shifting gear and managed to damage them by rubbing either against the bottom of the frame or the edges of the gear linkage. I was a bit disappointed at the damage as none of the bits and bobs on that part of the bike were actually that sharp.
The sole is thick profiled rubber and so far I have not had any slippery encounters in them, which is quite remarkable for a clumsy person like me. I’m also comfortable traversing somewhat deeper puddles with these on.
The profile is not so deep as to trap truckloads of mud and debris in the grooves. Admittedly, I haven’t been trekking through forest footpaths with these on, but then again, why would I? That’s what wellies are for.
After two years, the soles have not shown any significant degradation or wearing down of the profile. This is a bit surprising as I walk in such a way that all my shoe soles wear unevenly. There is no sign of that on these boots.
Having ridden through quite a lot of torrential downpours over time, I can happily vouch for the waterproofing. While the leather feels wet, everything on the inside of the outer layer is dry, and warmth is not compromised, even on the coldest days. The scuffed parts have not let in any moisture either.
I have been washing the boots down with leather cleaner quite regularly due to the constant build-up of grit and salt on the back of them. It doesn’t seem to have affected the waterproofing.
I have not been neglectful with the leather care but I haven’t treated these boots to leather conditioning as often as I should. Still, two years on and they are still bone dry even on the wettest days. The Gore-Tex, which goes right to the top of the boots (unlike many others) is doing its job.
Each boot weighs 950g for a size 40 so yes, they can feel clunky and a bit heavy but I feel it’s a price well worth paying for all that good quality, well put-together material.
Admittedly, shifting gears takes more effort, especially if, like me, you move your foot forwards and backwards a lot depending on speed and cornering situations (or I’m just very fidgety).
I would probably find it a bit of a chore to go for an hour’s hike through our local woods or an extended trip through a shopping centre but, apart from getting some weight training, they would still be comfortable to wear.
I cannot praise these boots highly enough. They’re very good quality for the price, and while I admit I was a bit suspicious as they were marked down by £100 from an RRP of £260 (and are again as I write this), my suspicions turned out to be unfounded. Despite the niggles with the zipper and the damage to the toe section – which has not got much worse with wear and tear over the last two years – they are warm, comfortable and absolutely waterproof.
The IXS Ultra Evo IIs are reinforced in all the right places and they definitely feel more sturdy than ordinary leather boots. Having worn steel-toed construction boots quite often in my life (don’t ever wear them on a bike as the toe cap could cut your toes off), these do feel more like protective equipment, but are still less clunky and heavy. And much more flexible. On the other hand, getting hit by a wrecking ball is not one of the things motorcycle boots are designed for.
Those big shin flaps make these boots feel even more secure, and the heel reinforcements haven’t shown a single wear mark from pushing one boot off one foot with the other all the time.
A word on styling. As far as I’m concerned, these are unisex boots and the functionality trumps any concerns over appearance. Having said that, I think they look quite good.
While being rather wistful about waving goodbye to the summer and the sun, I have looked forward to digging these out from storage every winter so far, and I hope they last another few years because they’ve become one of those worn in and familiar pair of comfortable shoes that one tends to wear until they fall apart at the seams.