Date reviewed: July 2022 | Tested by: Steve Rose | Price: £99 | sportsbikeshop.com
To experienced riders, £99 for a pair of boots – like the Pharao Trigons on review here – sounds like good value. Let’s not forget though that many newer riders might never have spent anything like this much on a ‘pair of shoes’ and £99 represents a serious investment with big expectations.
Pharao is one of the in-house brands of Sportsbike Shop’s German parent company and these Trigon boots are aimed at riders who want CE-rated boots with protection up-to and just above the ankle that are easy to live with and walk around in for sensible money.
I’ve only had them since April, used them mostly for shorter trips around town in good weather and ridden around 500 miles in them so far. They’ve been used on a Honda NT1100, Yamaha Fazer 1000, Sinnis Connect 125 and Suzuki GSX-S1000GT…
The material looks like leather but is actually a polyurethane microfibre as used in many boots including much more expensive race boots.
I’ve never worn anything other than full-length boots on a bike and was sceptical before they arrived as to whether I’d feel safe in them. But, the top of the boot is a long way above my ankle and there’s some protection for my shin and calf.
Fastening is simple – a zip up either side with a wraparound Velcro band. There’s a reinforced gearchange panel on both left and right boots, but, being aimed at road riders and commuters (I’m guessing) means there are no toe sliders or additional external armour. The design is best described as a modern take on classic boots and the build quality and double stitching looks neat and tidy all round.
Zips down either side make it very easy to slide your foot into the boot and also to get them off again. The zips are unbranded but feel sufficiently butch to survive a few summers, have chunky pullers and work easily. With the zips fastened I found it a little awkward to wrap the Velcro band as tightly as I’d like to around the front but as the boots wore-in a little it became easier.
The Trigons pass CE standard EN13634-2017, which has four categories; boot height, impact abrasion resistance, impact cut resistance and the sole’s resistance to crushing. Each category is scored either ‘1’ or ‘2’ with 2 being the better score (for boot height a 1 is for ankle boots and 2 is awarded for taller boots, even if they’re not full height like these).
The Trigons rate 2121 meaning they class as a taller boot with lower abrasion, higher cut resistance and lower crush resistance. That’s decent performance for a £99 boot without external armour.
The elephant (or should that be calf?) in the room is whether in an accident there would be a significant unprotected area between the top of the boot and the bottom of your trousers (which would be more likely to ride-up without being tucked into or over the boots).
I’ve always believed that as a rider you wear the protection you feel you need. If I’m honest, that means I feel more confident wearing full-length boots.
To understand the safety standards that apply to all motorcycle clothing, check out our guide to the safest bike kit here.
Easy to get on and off, very comfortable once on and no faffing about to get jeans, leathers or textile trousers over or under the boot. The Trigons took very little time to break in and are comfy enough to walk around in off the bike without being painful or giving blisters.
They are quite tall at the toe meaning you have to arch your foot more deliberately to get it under the gear lever. This feels awkward for the first half mile and then you get used to it.
The sole is a simple relatively smooth design that grips ok on the foot pegs of the four bikes I used it on. There’s no obvious wear to the sole after just 500 miles, as you’d expect.
There are no claims about the sole being oil or lubricant resistant, but unless you’re an old Brit-bike rider I can’t see that being a problem. Likewise, there’s no claim either about them being non-slip. The minimal tread pattern suggests you should be careful walking around in the wet or skipping from one manhole cover to the next (is that just me?), but normal people just walking to the fuel station kiosk or around town should be fine.
The Trigons have a waterproof, windproof and breathable liner. Not from one of the big brands like Gore-Tex or Sympatex but designed to do a similar job. It works well as in the water doesn’t get through the boot or past the zip, but the short design means that on some bikes there is a gap between the top of the boot and the bottom of your trousers that allows rain (usually when it’s raining harder) to run down the top of the boot so your feet still get wet.
It's only happened once in a heavy summer downpour, and I wasn’t going a long way so didn’t have to endure it for long. If I’m honest I wouldn’t buy boots this length for doing longer journeys in all weathers, but we all get caught out in a sharp shower occasionally.
The Pharao Trigon are well-priced comfortable boots, but there are others worth considering too…
Before testing the Pharao Trigons I was sceptical about how safe I’d feel in a pair of boots this short. In reality there’s more than enough protection to all of your foot and ankle, most of your shin and having a breeze blowing up your trouser leg is welcome in the middle of summer.
The shorter length makes them much easier to get on and off without rearranging your trousers and for commuting or shorter trips I’d be happy to wear them all the time.
On longer trips or colder, wetter weather I still prefer the security and weather protection of a taller boot. That has limited the miles I’ve done in the Trigons to around ten per cent of my total mileage since I got them. Most of the time (most of my riding is longer trips) I still reach for my full-length boots despite them being seven years old and now having more than 50,000 miles on their worn-out soles.
In truth, I’m probably not the target customer for these boots so take that last statement with a pinch of salt. If your riding is shorter trips in generally good weather and you want a boot with reasonable crash protection, enough waterproofing to keep your feet mostly dry and for the best price possible, these are well worth a look.