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Long-term review: ICON 1000 Elsinore Boots


Posted on January 10, 2015 by Scott in Review. 27 comments

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Review by Marlon Slack.

Of all the items of motorcycle apparel available, I find it hardest to get excited about boots. Jackets? Easy. Gloves? There’s a dozen pairs I want at the moment. There’s even a good variety of Kevlar jeans that don’t look like they’re designed for my Gran. But protective motorcycle boots usually look like a cyborg’s leg sprouting tumours – with lurid bits of plastic and obnoxious logos hanging off at all angles. And for a long time boots like these were the only real option if you wanted to protect your feet and ankles. But then there’s the Icon Elsinore 1000. Modelled after motocross boots of the 1970’s, the Elsinore 1000 tries to combine traditional styling with modern safety features. I think they look fantastic, but if you think that they look like ridiculous steampunk accessories there’s no helping you – you’re probably not the target market for the Elsinore’s anyway. But if you like the look of them, you should seriously consider buying a pair. Here’s why.

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At first glance it’s easy to assume the boots are just a styling exercise aimed at the undernourished inner city hipster set rather than legitimately protective boots. But as soon as you pull them out of the box you’ll realize that they’re solid, well-made units. They have full grain leather uppers and the sole is replaceable. The sole also has a steel shank running through it, it has malleolus protectors, a hard plastic shin guard with its thick leather the whole thing just has a sturdy kind of feel to it. This continues when you strap them on – getting your feet in is easy enough using the zipper (the buckles are just there for adjustment, you ‘set and forget’ them) but when you’re all zipped up they firmly lock your feet and ankles into place. Which is great, because it’ll prevent twist and rotation during an accident and bad – because it’ll make you walk a little like you’ve got an acquired brain injury. To be fair they are comfortable enough to stroll around in, but the protection offered by the heft and stiffness of the boots means that extended walks can be a clumsy experience.

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But for the majority of the time I’ve worn them on the bike they’ve been incredibly comfortable. They offer good feel on the controls and have great grip when putting your feet down. But it’s important to realize that they’re not an all-weather boot – they might hold off rain for a little while but in a heavy downpour they’ll become soaked through pretty quickly. But if you’re riding in that kind of weather it’s probably time to give up any plans of looking good and break out the Gore-Tex marshmallow man suit and lined boots anyway.

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One thing potential buyers should be aware of when looking at the Elsinore 1000’s is the bulky cut of the toe box, which means that some riders might have problems using the shifter on a bike. I’ve had no problems on my Bonneville, or on a W650, DR650 or a host of other bikes I’ve ridden while owning the boots. But on the Royal Enfield Bullet I’m unable to get my foot underneath the shifter to change up a gear – I’m forced to use the outside edge of the sole to pick at the lever. Sometimes it works (praise Jesus!) and sometimes it doesn’t. This offers something different to worry about when riding a Royal Enfield – a welcome change from the worry of a catastrophic gearbox explosion or terminal piston separation. So if you ride a Royal Enfield save yourself $245USD and put the money towards quality fasteners, a proper chain and sprockets or psychotherapy.

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As well made as Elsinore 1000’s are mine haven’t been perfect. There’s a metal cap on the heel of the boot secured by four screws. In my first week of owning the boot one of these tiny countersunk screws made a jump for it somewhere between Melbourne and Sydney. I wrote Icon an email asking for a replacement and a customer service representative said sure, just send us a self-addressed envelope and we’ll mail you off a replacement. No. It’s a 2 cent part and it’s fallen out in the first week of ownership. Just send me a new one, mmmk?

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In the scheme of things this is pedantry and I think this is an exception to the experience that most customers have had with the Portland-based Icon. There’s a few stories floating around on the internet about early production Elsinore’s that had the buckles break within a few weeks of ownership. And that’s a huge problem – but to Icon’s credit they went out of their way to track down every customer affected by the defects and replaced the boots for them. That’s nice.

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I’ve had my Elsinore 1000’s for 18 months of constant commuting and touring across all kinds of terrain and through all kinds of weather. They’ve held up better than any other boot I’ve owned and with a bit of wear and tear on them now I think they look even better than the day I bought them. They’re really comfortable on the bike and in the event of a spill I’ve got no doubts they’ll go a long way towards protecting my feet and ankles. If you’re looking for a good pair of motorcycle boots and if you think they look more On Any Sunday than Wild Wild West, I can’t recommend the Icon Elsinore 1000’s enough.

[In the interest of being transparent, ICON is a sponsor of Pipeburn. On this occasion the reviewer purchased the boots using his own hard earned clams. We have been sent the new ICON 1000 Prep boots and will do a review as soon as we have done enough milage in them.]








  • Great review – I would love to see more 18 months later reviews. I would have never brought my 1000 miles if there were more around.

  • lennymccall

    Cool! I was able to try a pair on and they just felt too heavy and not great to walk in, But I loved the look and appreciate the protection and quality. I will be very interested in the Prep boot review as I’m hoping they are maybe a little lighter. Also IMO slightly cooler looking. Can’t find a pair locally yet…

    • Charles

      I am about to order a pair of these. I wear a 10.5 in shoe. Should I get size 10.5 in the Icons as well?

      • Marlon

        Hey mate! Revzilla has some good sizing information. I have baby-sized feet and am an 8.5 in most shoes and was a 8.5 in these as well.

        • Charles

          Good deal! Thanks Marlon

  • arnold

    Nice. 18 months is certainly a life cycle for a boot.

    The multi buckle thing was good for comfort and support as a young hard rider, today I prefer a similar height slip on, much less energy to put them on.

    (I am not embarrassed to admit I still have a 30 year old set of go to boots that I have never found a good replacement for.)

    • Arnold don’t be shy, spill the beans and name them 😉

      • arnold

        Just an old pair of pinch toe redwings. Never very good for walking, just fine for riding. Mink Oil keeps the water out.

    • Marlon

      Hey Arnold, the buckles are just for adjustment. Once you’ve got them set you use the zippers on the inside to slide your feet in. Real easy.

  • Ur Momma

    man – those are some gaudy boots.

    • Davidabl2

      Yep, some of the icon stuff is understated & some of it is over the top.

  • Icon’s Elsinore are definitely a badass looking pair of boots. (RevZilla describes the shin plate as being heat pressed leather, and so I am interested in hearing if Icon found it to be comparable in impact protection to the hard-plastic plate used elsewhere.) I imagine though that it is a tough boot to commit to wearing if the trip plan doesn’t involve participating in society’s collapse…

    http://i666.photobucket.com/albums/vv28/iphoneslone/Mad%20Max/TC9.jpg

    Which is probably why my Solovair boots have seen 80% of my last 20K miles.

    http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i143/jamesmorgan67/P1050003_zps082a4069.jpg

  • jbmnyc

    An unlikely contender is the Gaerne Balance oiled boot. Intended for trails but great for dual sport riding, they’re great on the road too. They look and age beautifully, are waterproof, and are the most comfortable piece of footwear period that I own. Only downside is no serious ankle support but they work great as an everyday boot.

    • Yep love the look of those Gaerne boots. Almost bought a pair for dirt track.

  • Old Geezer

    They look like the MotoX boots I wore back in the 70’s riding my CZ 250. As far as the RE shifter problem….see that little bolt where it attaches to the shifting shaft??? Adjust the shifter position ya knucklehead!

    • Marlon

      I did. Made no difference. But the controls on the Royal Enfield are notoriously cramped.

  • OmegaRacer

    Love my brown Elsinore boots. They don’t just look great…
    Couldn’t be happier

  • 3s and 7s

    I’ve had a pair for over 12 months now. Used every day regardless of the weather. I wear mine riding and working in the workshop. Comfortable, hardy and very low maintenance. I’m totally confident I’ll get at least another 12 months from them.

  • Bigfoot

    Icon makes some good looking stuff. I’d totally buy a pair if they ever made it in my size.

  • Spyker May

    Pipeb…

    Talk about getting exited about a jacket – do mind sharing the brand/name of the jacket you used to prop your prancing boots on the pavement?

    I like the side zips – have been looking for something like that for a while.

    • Marlon

      Hey mate – it’s Triumph Leybourne jacket. Sadly now out of production. Best jacket I’ve owned.

  • MayDayMoto

    “I’m forced to use the outside edge of the soul to pick at the lever.”

    lol, the thing on the bottom of a boot is called a sole, not a soul.

    That being said, I like the look of these boots. Would like them better if the stiching was black instead of yellow.

    • Marlon

      Whoops!

  • Geoff

    Purchased a pair of these 3 months ago for daily commutes. Took a few days for gear changes to feel normal. Use them on Superduke 990, F700GS and an old NX650. They now come with a spare buckle and 4 screws (same as used for heel plate). So far I agree, can’t recommend them enough.

    • R Nermark

      I have a couple questions, Is the zipper metal or plastic? how do these fare in cold temperatures?

  • R Nermark

    I’ve been eyeing these boots for a while now. Sadly there arent any brick & mortar places that seem to carry them.
    I know these arent waterproof, but how do they fare against cold weather for the all season rider?

  • Jeff Mcbride

    I’ve had mine for to weeks now and they are performing great. Only caveat I have is the soles (I have the brown ones with the white soles) are extremely slippery on a wet, smooth concrete. Have yet to ride with them in the rain so I con’t know if they will be any less slick on the road’s concrete than on an inside smooth concrete. I personally think they look badass (as does everyone else who seems to have to comment on them).