The new Leatt GPX 5.5. boots have been two years in the making, and this summer, I finally laid my paws on a brightly colored pair of them hoping to test them on the road, off the road, and in several rally races. As with all their other gear, Leatt is obsessive about their research, testing, and protection technology; their facilities in South Africa are called Leatt Labs for a reason, so I had no doubt the Leatt GPX 5.5 boots would offer top-notch protection.
However, we all know there’s a trade-off when it comes to MX boots: the protection is unparalleled, but the comfort is often sacrificed to a degree, so for adventure riding, the touring boots are still often a more popular choice.
Much like my bike, the DR650, my gear needs to take a lot of abuse and withstand just about everything I throw at it; I’m indefinitely on the road, and I love to ride as much dirt as I can along the way. On top of that, there’s an occasional rally race here and there ranging from smaller, three-day events to full-on, week-long rallies where you’re spending 8-10 hours on the bike daily going through all kinds of terrain and weather. So for me, the touring boots aren’t an option, but a MX boot that’s also comfortable and somewhat water-resistant would work perfectly. Is Leatt GPX 5.5 that boot?
Safety vs Comfort
So far, I’ve covered several European countries, sections of the Trans Euro Trail, motocross training sessions, and a three-day Dinaric Rally race in the Leatt boots.
I’ve gone through mud, rainy weather, sand, rocky terrain with several offs on sharp rocks and boulders, countless gravel trails, and a significant amount of road riding; the protection level is undoubtedly there. Large shin plates, the FlexLock system that allows you to adjust the stiffness level of the boot laterally, several pivot points, impact foam around the ankle – the boots are built solid, and after several crashes on hard rocks, I can attest to the fact that your feet, ankles, and shins are as safe as can be. The inner sides of the boots are covered in textured rubber for extra grip, and the flex system at the back allows for freedom of movement while preventing hyperflexion of the ankle.
The soles are made of a reinforced compound and built to last; after all the wear, tear, and abuse I’ve already put these boots through, the soles are still perfectly intact. There are no metal parts or screws on the outside of the boot, and I love that because I’d destroyed my seat with the Sidis – getting off the bike, the metal toe reinforcement kept snagging on the seat eventually ripping a hole in it, so the smooth plastic on the Leatts seems like a much better option. Of course, that’s just me, but it’s one more little bonus to these boots.
When it comes to comfort, the only other boot that comes close to Leatt GPX 5.5 is the Sidi Crossfire SRS, except Leatt boots feel softer and more snug. I’ve dragged the bike out of mud pits and ditches in them, spent hours walking around a rally bivouac in them, and I even wear them when exploring towns and cities (ATGATT even when I’m just riding to a grocery store). Leatt has installed small vents in these boots which do make a difference on hot days; miraculously, they don’t immediately get soaked during rainy days, either. They will get wet if it’s torrential rain or you’re crossing water, but unlike the Gaerne SG12 as an example, they don’t get drenched instantly.
There are also a few nifty features like the sliding velcro on the top of the boot, and a little extra grip on the left boot for comfortable gear shifting. At the price point of $399, and with several replaceable parts, I feel these boots are both made to last and as comfy as can get, even comparing them to touring boots. For me, sizing is a bit of an issue as I’m a funny size in between Euro 40 and 40.5, so just to be on the safe side, I chose one size too big; even then, and even though the boot appears a little chunky, I can feel the brake and gear shifter fine (even after I’d destroyed my gear shifter and bent into a curious shape of a question mark, I could still shift pretty easily with the Leatt boots).
For me, the only downside I’ve noticed so far are the buckles. After you’ve gone through enough sand and mud, the buckles begin to creak and stick quite a lot. All this means is that you need to clean the boots more often and add a little WD40, so it’s not exactly an issue, but I haven’t had that with the Gaernes or the Sidis. Other than that, however, I can’t see any negatives of the Leatt GPX 5.5 and I’m hoping they’ll last several more seasons of traveling, dirt riding, enduro training, and rally racing.