When Thor MX, maker of some of the strongest and smartest off-road gear decided to make a boot designed for lighter duty, they did it right. That should come as no surprise from a company that has been around for 43 years and has won 49 off-road championships. But, the cutting-edge protection they make for guys like Chad Reed, Ryan Villopoto, and Jeremy McGrath is not what these well-rounded boots are all about.
Dubbed the Thor 50/50, this footwear breaks in quickly and is nicely designed. Not shrugging off that aforementioned protection–it has durable reinforcement in all the key places–the 50/50 is still about half the weight of an ordinary riding boot. That’s right: it comes in at just 27 ounces. They are like an armored skin on you foot in some ways, but not constricting at all. Instead, they have such a lightweight feel that you can easily forget you are wearing super sturdy protective pieces of footwear. Heck, they are lighter than some of my regular dress shoes!Thor says you might like this boot if you are into ATVs/quads, pit bikes, dual-sporting and light play riding, but I used the 50/50 on the street. As a New York metro area moto-commuter, these boots adapted quickly to my bike’s foot controls and my style of riding. I will admit they felt a touch big the first few times I went to shift gears (they are beefy in some of the protective areas) but I soon found a sweet-spot foot position and was fine after that. I’ve owned boots in the past that only have a plastic piece on the inside of the ankle area that touches the motorcycle frame. The 50/50s have a reinforced medial area with added padding in just the right spot for comfort as that part of your foot rubs against the bike. The thing that most impress me about the Thor 50/50s is the level of comfort and in-and-out ease of use. My socks glide across the silk-like inner surface, and when the two-side, adjustable positive-lock aluminum buckles are undone, the boot opens super wide. Setting those buckles in the optimal spot takes a few tries, but once you get it right, they hold their position well, allowing you to easily snap them open or closed whether you are coming or going. Once I figured that out, they became my boot of choice every time I rode just because they were so easy to use and felt so darn good. Having a lightweight, injection-molded outsole wrapping it all together is just icing on the cake. It’s no surprise that Thor, the Norse god, was often appealed to for protection. Thor MX does protection in the smartest way I’ve seen yet. Heck, I’m thinking of getting one of their Sentinel chest protectors for the street after learning how amazing these boots are. It just goes to show you that even something designed for light dirt use, can be an awesome performer on the street as well. Alan Tecchio is a freelance writer based in the NY metro area who has interviewed hundreds of celebrities. He is an avid motorcyclist and active Motorcycle Safety Foundation RiderCoach. Alan has also written a weekly motorcycle column for nine years in Steppin’ Out Magazine, a NY metro area entertainment publication. He is also the lead singer of the rock band Autumn Hour (autumnhour.com) and sings for the heavy metal band Hades (myspace.com/hadesusa) and the prog-metal project Minds Mirrors (myspace.com/mindsmirrorsproject).The Thor MX 50/50 boots for this review were supplied by Riders Discount (www.ridersdiscount.com), a quality online motorcycle gear and accessories store.