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Stylmartin shadow sneaker review | Casual-style 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:

12.01.2023

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Date reviewed: January 2023 | Tested by: Jon Mansfield, Bennetts BikeSocial member | RRP: £129.99 | saltflatsclothing.co.uk

 

The Stylmartin Shadow motorcycle boots on review here are part of a range of casual-style sneakers that promise protection along with an easy-to-wear-anywhere look.

As a motorcycle instructor, I spend every day – all day – either riding or standing up, so the boots I wear need to be comfortable while still offering some decent protection. I wore the Stylmartins for four months solid during the dry weather, and am still wearing them in the winter, though not when riding while it’s cold and wet. Here’s what I think of them…

 

pros
  • Very comfortable all day long

  • Proving very wear-resistant

  • Great on and off the bike

cons
  • Wind goes straight through, so summer only

  • Not waterproof, though that helps keep them cool

  • Ankle armour not perfectly placed for me

 

Construction and features

The Stylmartin Shadow sneakers are a textile boot with leather panels that helps keep them cool in summer. I should state right now that there are two pairs of laces supplied, so if you’re not as much a fan of the eighties as I am, you might want to use the more subtle black with yellow trim set. But I’d ask you why.

Available in sizes 36 to 47, the gear selector protection panel – and other inserts – are leather, while the removable insole is perforated at the front. I didn’t notice any difference with this, but it is very comfortable.

I wasn’t sure how well the mesh lining would wear, but six months after I got them they still look very good indeed.

 

After six months, there's surprisingly little wear caused by the gear lever

 

It’s visible on the protective pad of the right boot where I’ve been pushing against the gear selector, but there’s no sign of any significant wear, though the lever can sometimes rub on the boot behind this patch. Still, even here it’s only causing some pilling.

Otherwise, I can see a little fading of the outer, but nothing that spoils them. Note: the studio images were shot by BikeSocial before we sent the boots to Jon for review.

 

 

Fastening

These are just a traditional lace-up boot; no natty Boa fastenings, Velcro, buckles or even speed hooks; they go on like a typical pair of high-tops and – I reckon – look all the better for it. If I were taking them off and putting them on every time I use the bike I’d perhaps appreciate a quicker, easier fastener, but these go on in the morning and come off at night.

 

 

Protection and certification

The Stylmartin Shadows are of course CE-approved to EN 13634, as is the legal requirement of all bike boots sold in the UK and Europe. It’s good to see though that they reach the higher Level 2 for impact abrasion resistance and impact cut resistance. They’re rated to Level 1 for boot height (unsurprising as they only cover the ankle, not the shin) and for transverse rigidity (protection if the foot’s caught under the bike for instance, to avoid crushing).

People often comment that boots like this don’t look like they’re safe enough to be worn on a bike, but the CE certification gives confidence that the Stylmartins have been put together properly, and will protect me if the worst happened.

My only criticism is that the moulded ankle protectors seem to sit a little low for me. They don’t cause any real discomfort, but I’m aware of them. They might be fine on your plates.

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

 

Comfort

I can’t stress enough just how comfortable these boots are; I’m more than happy to spend all day in them, and when a lot of your time is taken up standing in a car park explaining to people how to use the brake – or dodging out of the way of those who it didn’t seem to sink in to – footwear that doesn’t cramp your feet or make your soles ache is essential.

 

 

Sole and grip

The rubber outsole is wearing well given all the use they’ve had. I of course expect them to last a lot more than the six months I’ve had them, but keep in mind that there’s at least 100 days of all-day on my feet and riding use in that, and I’m surprised at just how good they still look.

I’ve not had any issues with grip, but keep in mind that I’ve not been wearing them in the wet.

 

Waterproofing

The fact these boots look so good is helped by them not being used on the bike in bad weather. There’s no waterproof membrane, so riding in the rain is definitely out.

In fact, the wind passes straight through these, so keep that in mind as dry spring and autumn rides could see you getting chilly.

 

Three alternatives to the Stylmartin Shadow sneakers

Casual-style bike boots have become extremely popular over the past few years, so there are plenty to choose from. Here are a few BikeSocial has reviewed…

  • At just £49.99 the Road City Sneaker 1.0s don’t have the quality build of the Stylmartins, but at the price there’s a lot to like. Read the full review here.

  • The £149.99 TCX Street 3s are in many ways a benchmark for this type of bike boots. Read the full review here. The TCX Street Ace are also available in women’s sizes – check out the review here.

  • If you fancy something more like a traditional leather boot, consider the Sidi Denvers at £164.99. Read the review here.

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

 

 

Stylmartin Shadow sneakers review: Verdict

I really like these boots; they’re comfortable, they’re wearing well, and they look brilliant. Especially with the neon yellow laces.

As long as they feel comfortable to you – this is always subjective of course – the main thing to be aware of is that the wind goes straight through them, so besides the fact that they’re not designed to be waterproof, they can get cold outside of summer.

Overall though, a great pair of boots. Now where’s my Walkman…