There’s not a lot of chatter out there for women’s motorcycle gear, so I thought I’d chime in. Also, this is the only space I have to vent about what a garbage pair of boots Dainese makes, since CycleGear (where the boots were purchased) is not posting my honest (and polite) review.

When I first started riding in 2007, I bought a pair of Alpinestars Stella SMX4 boots. I wore these boots for seven years. That number is a little disingenuous since I only rode on and off for five of those years. Still, I’d estimate that they accumulated a solid two years worth of wear-and-tear type of use throughout those five years and I wore them almost daily for another two years. I credit them with saving my ankle from being crushed when it got sandwiched between my bike and a car. I walked away from that incident with a second-degree sprain.

When the zippers on those boots finally gave up, I replaced them with Dainese Siren boots. Why Dainese? I don’t have a really good reason. CycleGear didn’t have too many options for women. The Sirens felt sleeker than the SMX5s when worn over my leathers. But it was a bad idea. After a measly six months, the stitching holding the zipper teeth came undone, so the zippers became non-functional. Dainese said this was “normal wear and tear” and they refused to honor their year-long repair warranty. In other words, they admitted that their $260 leather boots have a six-month lifespan and that this is normal. I’m not sure how this is considered “acceptable” quality or how anyone can afford to spend over $500 in boots every year, but I know that I’m never buying Dainese again which is a shame since their narrow European style fits my body well.

I replaced the Sirens with Alpinestars Stella SMX6 boots. Despite a similar price, the SMX6s are considered a race boot and for that, they offer far more ankle protection and more rigidity around the toe box as well as replaceable sliders. I’ve only been wearing them for a month, but considering how long I wore the SMX4s, I’m looking forward to many, many miles together. After wearing the SMX6s for a couple of weeks, I tried on the Sirens again to see how they felt and to consider whether it would be worth it to have them repaired on my dime in order to have a back-up pair of boots. Short answer: no. They have so much mobility through the ankles that it feels like I’m wearing a fashion boot. Even though they have a puck at the ankle for superficial abrasion protection, there’s no structural protection at all. The leather feels thin and I’m not comfortable riding at highway speeds in them because I don’t feel protected.

TL;DR: Dainese bad, Alpinestars good.

In other Alpinestars fan girl news, the 7-2 leather jacket I bought in 2007 is still my go-to winter jacket and I’m still wearing the same pants I bought back then, too. Alpinestars, take my money!