Gear / Parts Joe Rocket Sonic R Boots | Review

Joe Rocket Sonic R Boots | Review

Joe Rocket Sonic R Motorcycle Boot Test

The demands of a sport-touring boot are simple – provide protection, comfort, breathability and waterproofing. But the not-so-simple part is offering these demands at a low price.

Enter the Sonic R, Joe Rocket’s latest full-leather sport-touring boot. The American apparel company claims the the demands mentioned above, while offering them under $130.

In the past few months I’ve used the Sonic R mostly for sport touring, tackling about 6,000 miles. I also threw in some canyon carving aboard the Ducati 1198, the sport riding adding much more stress for true testing. And except for a few minor issues, Joe Rocket’s claims are justified.

When slipping on the Sonic R through the wide opening, immediate comfort begins due to the lightness, the boot feeling as light as a sneaker. And tightening the boots is simple due the one main zipper and Velcro closures – no struggles with awkward latches here. But be careful; the zipper can get caught on the inner leather pieces. This is easily fixed, though, by some simple trimming.

After closing the main zipper above the inner waterproof gaiter, tighten the Velcro adjuster on the inner calf and the boots are secure. This Velcro adjustment also features multiple stretch panels, allowing for a snug or loose fit around the calf, and a smaller Velcro adjuster on the outside of the boot. I adjusted this smaller piece during the initial fitting, and didn’t have to bother it since.

Inside, the boot features a DryTech waterproof breathable membrane. I’ve tested the Sonic R in consistent rain in both hot and cool weather. My feet remained dry, though this dryness only occurred while wearing waterproof pants. If donning jeans without a rain suit, water will sneak through the opening, regardless of how much you tighten the Velcro closures.

While being waterproof, they remain breathable in cooler temps, say below 75 or so. But any higher, and the Sonic R boots are not as breathable as other boots, such as ones featuring Gore-Tex. But considering Gore-Tex can easily triple the price of the Sonic R, slight perspiration shouldn’t be such a big issue.

On the bike, the boots provide plenty of flexible movement. And this flexibility occurs from day one, the Sonic R boots requiring little if any break-in period. Off the bike, the Sonic Rs don’t feel like typical motorcycle boots; they provide comfort for normal walking, though the outer sole can get slick on wet pavement.

For added protection and durability, the boots feature double stitching in all high-stress areas, a reinforced gear-shift area, and internally reinforced shin, ankle, toe and heel protection. The boots also feature replaceable integrated toe sliders, which seem out of place on a sport-touring boot, and a small but very noticeable reflective stripe on the back of the heel to enhance visualization.

The Sonic R boots are offered in sizes 7 through 13, but not in half sizes. I’m typically an 11.5, but went with the smaller 11 over the 12. The 11 fit perfectly, whereas the 12 felt huge.

And as for wear, 6,000 miles later and the boots have held up well. The stitches remained intact, though the soles show some wear from heavy amounts of walking.

Joe Rocket kept things simple with the Sonic R boots, but were able to provide a waterproof and semi-breathable boot for under $130. The boots might not have the typical touring appearance or breathability of some competitors in the sport-touring market, but when the price is right, these gripes quickly become non-existent.

The Joe Rocket Sonic R boots retail for $129.99. For additional information, log onto

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

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