Crash-Testing O’Neal’s Sierra WP Pro Motorcycle Boots Proved They’ll Protect Your Feet
I crashed, so you don’t have to.
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There’s testing products properly, as Executive Editor Tony Markovich did with the Amazon Basics microfiber cloths, and then there’s my way of testing products. My way often results in a product's abject failure, its unlikely success, and/or bumps and bruises all over my body from pushing the product to its limits. During my review of O’Neal’s Sierra WP Pro motorcycle boots, it was a combination of the last two.
Motorcycle boots are often difficult to select because there are so many variables to consider. Coverage, price, armor, size, restraint and latch systems, fabric, and manufacturer all come into play, as does discipline. With so many options, it’s easy to get confused. I wanted to lend my knowledge accrued from nearly 20 years of riding to my fellow motorcyclists, so I grabbed the O’Neals from Amazon for about $160, a reasonably priced set of ADV boots, and started planning my adventure and test.
Now, I never set out to injure myself or permanently break a product; it just sort of happens. I tend to be extremely hard on everything that comes into my care, which can be good or bad, depending on the situation. It can be bad because I tend to run through products with some regularity. The long line of iPhones I’ve replaced can attest to this. But it’s also a good thing because it means I can tell you about a product’s capabilities to better aid your next purchase. Now, if only I could get work to pay for my phone.
With the O’Neal Sierra WP Pro adventure boots in hand, I tested them the only way I knew how: by crashing a brand-new Harley-Davidson high in the Wasatch-Uinta Mountains in Northern Utah and “allowing” the 500-pound motorcycle to land atop my ankle. Did my ankle survive, or was Search and Rescue required to airlift me down the mountain? Let’s get into it.
Unboxing and Initial Impressions of the O’Neal Sierra WP Pro Moto Boots
O’Neal’s Sierra WP Pros come in a fairly standard shoebox. Emblazoned on every facet of the box is the company’s logo, along with size information and a picture of the boots in profile.
Inside the box, the boots are wrapped in O’Neal-branded tissue paper and separated by a thin piece of cardboard. Inside the boots were two form-keeping pieces of cardboard so the calf sections wouldn’t collapse in on themselves. Think about how your average Adidas shoes come stuffed with tissue paper but beefier.
The boots themselves look awesome with dark oiled leather wrapping around the boot, a big ole O and smaller O’Neal logos at the top of the boots, and some serious-looking tread for greater grip on a motorcycle’s pegs.
Slipping them on requires unlatching the two ratchets and the top Velcro, but my foot slid in as if I’d just settled into a warm bath. O’Neal’s steel ankle support is immediately apparent, with my appendage locked in place and nary a single wiggle. Perfect for keeping your ankle from snapping upon impact. The Sierra WP Pros also have patches on top of the left boot’s toe for shifting purposes, and for vintage British bikes and the like, there’s toe protection on the right foot as well.
With the boots on and buckled up, walking around is fairly easy, if not a little ungainly, but I wouldn’t expect them to be as flexible as ballet slippers. The latches secure tightly, as does the Velcro, giving you a perfect fit. Stomping around my house, pretending I’m a big-bad monster for my children to run away from, however, isn’t exactly the best test of a set of ADV boots. I had to go off into the wilderness.
Using the O’Neal Sierra WP Pro Moto Boots
- Good: Good looking, great value, excellent feet, ankle, and calf protection.
- Bad: Need more colors? I don’t know, they’re really good, and I like the brown.
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When the O’Neals arrived on my doorstep, er, package shed — I live on a mountain and don’t actually have a mailbox — Ducati’s new Multistrada V4 S had just arrived, too. The motorcycle is an adventure bike (ADV) wunderkind, with adaptive suspension and tons of travel, knobby tires, multiple drive modes, including Enduro, and all the proper ingredients to hang with even the gnarliest adventure motorcycles and dirt bikes. It’s an excellent partner for the O’Neals.
I chose an easier OHV trail for both the Ducati and O’Neal’s first tests. It’s a gravel trail pitted with ruts, whoops, and other fun things such as a few puddles from earlier rain. The two performed wonderfully. The boots kept my feet, ankles, and calves warm and dry, and though other boots can add to fatigue, especially while standing on a motorcycle’s pegs, I didn’t experience that at all. This is helped by squishy foam insoles and the rubber grips that don't translate much vibration from the motorcycle itself. Granted, I wasn’t doing much in the way of technical riding, but even after a few hours in the Uinta National Forest, my feet felt great.
A week later, once I stole another few hours for myself from my three demanding toddlers, I headed west on the Ducati toward a far more technical trail than the first. It’s 15 miles of nature’s righteous indignation toward those who dare test their machines here. It’s full of hardcore undulations, washboard sections, head-sized rocks, silty sand, steep climbs, and deep, deep ruts. But even here, while standing on the pegs and taking some of the hits the adaptive suspension couldn’t handle, the O’Neals kept me planted securely on the pegs and relatively insulated from the violence beneath me.
A few weeks after that, I took Harley-Davidson’s new Pan America ADV to the same area and, well, binned it, netting me a proper test of the boot’s protective capabilities.
I previously talked about this wreck in my USWE's Core 25 backpack review, but for those who haven’t heard the tale, I’ll give you the shortened version of the events. Midway up the mountain, there’s a section that features loose baseball-size rocks, exposed and smooth boulders, and enough sand to start your own glass factory. It’s also on an incline, and if you get off the right line, you’re into the bigger rocks and properly screwed. I got off line.
Pulled toward the ground, the 500-pound-plus motorcycle fell onto my left leg, pushing it into the large rocks. Luckily, I wasn’t pinned; the Harley’s momentum slid it forward just enough that I could wiggle out. While it was on top of me, though, I didn’t feel much pressure on the boot or myself. After I pulled myself free, I took a second to breathe, collect myself, and then check my ankle. You’d be surprised at how adrenaline can trick you into feeling no pain right after an event. But there wasn’t a scratch, scrape, or break to be seen.
Outside the dust and sand covering the boots, the O’Neals looked factory fresh, and my feet, ankles, and calf were fine. Even days later, when you’d expect a bruise to appear across my calf, there was no discoloration, no bruise, no nothing.
What’s Good About the O’Neal Sierra WP Pro Motorcycle Boots
Besides getting me through a crash unscathed, there’s a lot to love about O’Neal’s Sierra WP Pros. First, they’ve got the protection. Inside and out, there’s the TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) armor, in addition to its full-grain leather and suede-microfiber outer layer. A steel shank runs the length of the entire sole, too. The latches, along with the Velcro upper adjustment, keeps your foot locked in place for exactly the occasion detailed above.
The waterproofing O’Neal’s done is also excellent, as running them through puddles and dipping my foot into an alpine lake, returned not a single damp digit nor squishy sock. And even in the face of pouring rain and hail — hail sucks when riding a motorcycle — my feet remained warm, toasty, and dry while the rest of my clothing looked as if I’d just gone swimming. I’m also a big fan of their brown and black exterior. Burly, brash, cool. I’m into it, O’Neal. I’m into it.
They’re also extremely well priced. As of this writing, O’Neal’s Sierra WP Pros are on sale at Amazon for about $160, while Revzilla has them for about $180 and will price match. Compare that to Alpinestars Corozal Adventure Drystar boots, Forma’s Terra Evos, TCX’s Baja Gore-Tex, or Gaerne’s Balance, all going for about $300, and you get a sense of how great a deal these boots are. You’d think they’d be lacking in features, but there’s nothing those more expensive boots have that these don’t.
What’s Not Great About the O’Neal Sierra WP Pro Motorcycle Boots
Traipsing across Northern Utah’s miles of off-road trails, there’s little to complain about the O’Neals. These boots saving my feet, ankle, and thigh from certain doom isn’t coloring this, but I’m struggling to recall anything that’d put me off recommending these boots to all of you moto folks out there.
You should be aware, however, of the fact that, like every boot and shoe, you’ll need to break them in. Out of the box, they’re a bit tight around your toes. But after sweating in them, and railing through mud, dirt, sand, and rocks, they formed around my tootsies just like every good boot will.
This isn’t much of a knock, but the Sierra WP Pros also only come in the oiled brown seen here. If you want another color, you’ll have to scroll through O’Neal’s other offerings.
Our Verdict On the O’Neal Sierra WP Pro Moto Boots
O’Neal’s Sierra WP Pro boots are comfortable, the adjustable bindings are super secure, and the design looks stellar for those who require more fashionable boots. They’re also waterproof and will keep your feet, ankle, and calf safe and sound in the event you bin a 500-pound Harley on some gnarly ass backcountry trail, laying it down squarely onto the boot.
O’Neal’s boots are cheaper than most of what Alpinestars, Fox, and Dainese offer but with similar protection. Add a 12-month warranty — they’re meant to be abused — and a life cycle that O’Neal estimates at five years with good care, and you have a helluva value proposition.
If that doesn’t convince you these boots are worth their price on Amazon, I don’t know what will. Do I need to send it at the Erzbergrodeo? Because I absolutely will. Red Bull, hit me up.
FAQs About the O’Neal Sierra WP Pro Motorcycle Boots
The Drive’s editors aren’t psychic, so to answer other frequently asked questions, we scrolled through Google’s “People also ask” box for anything that may be lingering in your head.
Q. Did you really crash?
A. I have a bruised thigh and arm to prove it, along with a slightly broken Harley-Davidson. So yes, I really did.
Q. What’s special about ADV boots like the O’Neal Sierra WP Pros?
A. ADV boots are in another class of motorcycle boots. They’re designed specifically for off-roading and adventure riding and often feature water-resistant or waterproof materials so you can go through just about everything nature can throw at you.
Q. How do they differ from other motorcycle boots and shoes?
A. If you want to know more about motorcycle boots and shoes, you can check out The Drive’s Here’s How to Pick the Right Motorcycle Boots for Your Next Ride guide.
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