I love boots. I’ve been known to spend hours on the web looking for the perfect pair of protective footgear, and the URL belonging to Harley-Davidson footwear is high on my bookmark hit list. Last spring when I was doing one of my occasional (OK, obsessive) searches, I was delighted to find that H-D had introduced a new women’s waterproof boot—the Hennie.
Wasting no time, I quickly procured a pair to find out if they were everything they appeared to be.
I stepped into the boots, pulled up the YKK zippers located on the inner side of the boots and tied the D-ring front laces. In fact, that was the last time I had to fool with the laces. Once they were adjusted properly, all I had to do was use the zippers (there’s a Velcro tab that keeps them locked) to slip in and out of the boots. I stood up, walked around a bit and knew instantly that these boots would require no break-in period whatsoever. The full-grain leather upper provided a tough, yet supple, feel. And the mesh panels gave them a lightness—each boot weighs only 21 oz.—that I knew I’d appreciate after being on my feet all day.
My first road trip wearing the Hennies included a 350-mile ride to Laconia, hundreds of miles during the rally and another 350 miles back home. There are several levels of protection against the elements—the waterproof leather exterior and the Hydra-Guard waterproof membrane between the leather and the inside lining. Adding to their waterproofing properties are the Vibram rubber outersoles that are attached to the boot uppers with cement rather than stitching. I’ve been wearing these boots for nearly six months, including rides to Sturgis and Canada, and they are absolutely watertight.
Inside the boots is a full-length cushioned sock lining and a removable footbed, keeping my feet comfy and surprisingly warm in cool temperatures. Hot weather isn’t a problem, either—my feet stayed dry and cool even in the Sturgis sun. The boots are also abrasion- and oil-resistant, and the lug traction non-slip outsole can be replaced. With a 7″-high shaft (the top of the boots are padded for added comfort) and 1.75″ heel, they’re the perfect height and “lift” for riding as well as walking.
When I asked a Harley-Davidson footwear representative why women’s waterproof boots hadn’t been available for several years, I was told that sales hadn’t supported keeping them in the product line until the Hennie boot was released in April. Based on the great success of this model, Harley may be introducing several new women’s waterproof boots in the spring of 2011. I will repeat: I love boots. Harley, are you listening?