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Richa Flare review | Waterproof motorcycle boots tested

By BikeSocial Member

The BikeSocial member Test Team is made up of experienced riders covering high mileages who are able to subjectively analyse and review kit that they use day-in, day-out.

Posted:

25.11.2021

Richa Flare boots review_01
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Richa Flare boots review_03

 

Date reviewed: November 2021 | Tested by: Graham Mudd, BikeSocial member | RRP: £99.99 | www.nevis.uk.com

 

Given that I ride about 1,000 miles a month, these Richa Flares have had some solid use on everything from cold mornings to gloriously sunny and warm days. And a couple of weeks where I’m pretty sure all it did was rain.

I work 50 miles from home and, come rain or shine, commute on my Zero DSR and Kawasaki Versys 650 workhorses. A real mix of rural, fast single carriageway, dual carriageway and urban roads, so a proper test of any kit I’m riding in. I also enjoy pottering along single-track country roads with grass growing down the middle and some gentle byways…

 

pros
  • Great value

  • Excellent reflective details

  • Comfortable

cons
  • Waterproofing not the best

  • Check the sizing before you buy

 

Construction and features

The Richa Flares are full-length touring boots with a combination of leather and textile in the upper. It’s the textile component that literally shines out; studded with a dot matrix of retroreflective material, it simply looks dark grey most of the time. But when the light hits it just right, or when headlights catch it at night, the fabric panels light up bright white. Not in a ’70s glam rock kind of way, but it definitely makes you significantly more visible.

The boots feel sturdy and well-made, and the panels are all double stitched. In the time I’ve had them the only glitch I’ve noticed is some slight fraying on the threads on the right boot where it rubs on the heel plate, which to be fair has happened on all my boots.

There’s a leather pad on the toe of each boot to protect the textile underneath against wear (particularly on the gear lever), and external ankle protectors.

 

 

Fastening

The Richa Flares are fitted with YKK zips sealed with a leather-covered hook and loop flap. I have to say that even on a size larger than normal (see below), the tabs on the zip still need a fair tug to pull up while holding the sides of the zip together. When done up, the boots are snug but not tight, with no pinch points anywhere when you’re walking.

Initially I thought the stiff zips were purely because they’re new but they haven’t loosened off even after applying a thin bead of general purpose oil. Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t difficult – more sturdy – but not as easy as other YKK zips I’ve used in the past.

The flap has done a sterling job of stopping wind and rain getting to – and through – the zip, contributing to the boots’ weatherproof ability.

 

 

Protection and certification

The Richa Flares meet EN 13634: 2017 with a rating of 2221 and IPA WR. In a nutshell, that means they’re a high boot, meet the higher level of performance in both abrasion and impact cut resistance, and the basic level of transverse rigidity (twisting).

The IPA alludes to the increased level of ankle protection. WR means they’re resistant to water penetration. The ‘transverse rigidity’ and ankle protection has certainly been tested while riding off-road; on a particularly boggy section of byway, I ‘dabbed’ to pick the bike back up, but my foot sank into the soft mud. A stuck boot and a slowly falling bike would potentially have resulted in a broken ankle with a non-certified boot (a key reason why it is worth checking UKCA/CE certification with vendors of dubious gear on social media), but with the Richas – which are touring boots not adventure boots – I escaped muddy, but unscathed. Top marks in my book.

For everything you need to know about the safety labels in your motorcycle kit, click here.

 

 

Comfort

It’s important to try on boots to make sure they fit properly. I initially got a pair of size 9s – my regular size – but while the left boot would go on with a proper struggle, there was no way the right boot would zip up properly. I’m a somewhat portly gent with rugby player legs, but my calves aren’t that big! A size up and the 10s fitted me perfectly.

Fat calf issues aside, the Richas are incredibly comfy. They slot on like a pair of old slippers and when done-up are snug but not tight.

The lining is plush and does a great job of keeping your feet cosy. In the chillier mornings my feet were comfy with normal socks on, though you of course benefit from a thicker pair when riding in the depths of winter. Contrast with temperatures climbing toward the high 20s and my feet never felt clammy even when working up a real sweat heaving my bike through thick mud in rural Staffordshire.

I’ve not been yomping through the hills wearing the Flares, but I’ve pottered about and in normal use they are comfy to walk in. I get the impression if I was to walk in them all day – like at BSB – they may induce a couple of hotspots on the heel or instep, but for general riding and some short walks during breaks they are absolutely fine.

For actually sitting on the bike I’d say they’re probably some of the most comfortable full-length boots I’ve tried, and not many of us buy our boots with the intention of hiking!

 

 

Sole and grip

The soles are not listed as being oil and lubricant proof and are not rated as non-slip. That being said I’ve never felt that I was about to go skittering on any smooth wet surfaces, an issue I’ve had with other boots in the past. Bearing in mind they are a touring boot, the tread pattern is pretty flat and does not lend itself to walking on soft ground. But if you had such activities in mind I suspect you’d be looking more at the adventure boot end of the market. The sole and level of grip they provide are more than adequate for the use they’re likely to see.

 

Waterproofing

The Richa Flares are fitted with a Hipora membrane designed to keep water out while wicking moisture away from your feet. A lot of gloves and boots have it fitted and it works to a greater or lesser extent. I’m happy to report that after riding through some absolute hoolies the Flares kept my feet largely dry; even riding through fords and deep muddy puddles they kept out unwanted moisture. Only after being exposed to one of the heaviest prolonged deluges for over an hour did my toes get damp, but the rest of the boots stayed dry. Almost full marks; there are plenty of much more expensive boots that perform much worse in testing conditions.

 

Weight

Without being scientific the Richa Flares have a pretty average heft to them. You expect a full-length boot to have a bit of mass, but compared to my army-issue extreme cold/wet weather boots (which I use riding in the depth of winter) they feel positively lightweight. Heavy enough to feel reassuringly protective, but not so heavy they’re tiring to walk in.

 

Three alternatives to the Richa Flare boots

The Richa Flares are very well priced, but here are some other options to put them in perspective…

  • For many, the Daytona Roadstars are the pinnacle of motorcycle touring boots, but the cost £409.99! Check out our review here, but know that it’s from early 2018, and that was after six months of use. More than four years later and they’re still excellent.

  • We haven’t tested any yet, but Altberg boots are hand-made in Richmond and cost just £299.99 for the top-spec Bahn Rider touring boot. Check them out here.

  • We loved the £149.99 RST Pathfinders when we tested them – read that review here.

These are just three of many alternatives – you can find all the boots we’ve reviewed here and be sure to regularly check for the discounts available through BikeSocial membership.

 

Look how well the Richa Flares catch the light – a great night-time safety feature that doesn’t look hi-viz during the day

 

Richa Flare boots review: Verdict

I really like the Richa Flares. They’re a well-priced, well-specced pair of touring boots. All-day comfy – providing you’re not planning on trekking up Snowdon – waterproof in all but the worst storms, they keep your feet cosy in both heat and cold.

The light-up textile panels may not be to everybody’s taste but I value anything that aids me being seen without looking like a motorway roadworks engineer. And proven protection as well!

The Richa Flares are exactly what I look for in a pair of general-purpose riding boots and come highly recommended.