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Home Bike Gear Reviews

Oxford Rain Seal Overboots Review

By Ren Withnell - May 2014

oxford's rain seal overboots pictured over a boot
Oxford Rain Seals...are the any good?

There are many many many motorcycle boots for sale that proclaim they're "waterproof". Indeed a costly pair of Hein Gericke Tuareg I once owned were in fact completely waterproof, for a while. I'm not talking surviving a short shower on the ride home waterproof, I want all day long in tippling down deluge waterproof, proper Wellington boot kind of waterproof. 

Some overly keen shop keepers are keen for me to spend a fortune, usually around the £300 mark, for a pair of top quality top brand boots. They assure me they themselves, their friends and magazine testers all agree that these are the real deal all weather all day boots. Great! But will you guarantee that for me? For 3 years lets say? If they leak after 2 years and 30,000 miles will you refund or replace the boots? No...oh I didn't think so. 

I also have an additional problem. I have one leg shorter than the other after an accident. As such I have to have an extra 40mm added to the sole of my left boot otherwise I walk around in circles. Of course on mentioning this to the shopkeeper this addition immediately invalidates the usual 12 month warranty anyhow. I've asked many times and it's always the same answer.

So I find I'm looking for other soutions. Wellington boots are fantastic! There ain't no amount of water, rain or splashing that will see even a tiny bit of damp on your socks. But they offer little or no protection in the event of a spill and they don't fasten to your feet firmly so they could come off in a crash. I've purchased the rubber overboots too, just as effective as wellies but virtually impossible to get on and off, unless they are baggy then they interfere with the safe operation of the foot levers.

So when I spotted some overboots at a bike shop, I decided to try them. These are marked as "Oxford Rain Seal" but apparently they have also been marked as "Bone Dry" at other times. The first concern is if they'll fit over my "big boot", the one with the extra 40mm on the sole. It's a tight fit but it is a fit. This means the regular shoe is a little loose. For £18 I reckon it's worth a punt, a risk. If they are not waterproof at least I can take these back under the guarantee, I don't need to alter them.

I can confirm they are waterproof. Having ridden several hours through a torrent my socks were still dry and that is what matters. I am a believer in "doubling" up of waterproof layers. The outer layer, in this case the overboot, takes the abuse. If however a small amount trickles by some zip or seam my regular leather bike boots can manage this small ingress. I apply the same principle to motorcycle pants and jackets too. 

Riding with the overboots on is OK. There's no doubt wearing the overboots is noticeable, a little cumbersome. I have not however had any cause for concern when changing gear or braking. You really do need to get the smallest size that will fit over your riding boots, if they are too big they can impede how the controls are used. 

It is not a perfect solution. First off having used them on and off for the past year I'm wearing through the material with the gear shift even though there is extra material here. If you ride motorways most of the time then they'll last for ages but if like me you commute and use the gears a lot, they will wear through. Secondly getting them on can be done at the roadside when the rain starts, but it is a real faff. It takes some time to get my boots in, fasten the zips and straighten them out especially when I've got my thick winter gear on. You can walk around with them on. Sort of. They are not designed for walking, the sole slips around and the material drags on the floor wearing them out even quicker. 

the wear from the gearshift, showing a growing hole in the top layers of material
Whilst double layered I'm almost through both layers with the gearshift now.

The sole on these boots is a full sole, I've seen some Weiss ones where the sole only covers the front of the boot's tread. The sole is solid enough and is made from what seems like a tough rubbery plastic. A little caution is required as there is a tread patter but they don't offer a great deal of grip. I've had a hairy moment pushing the bike backwards when my foot slipped on wet concrete.

Would I recommend them? Yes, I would. They're cheap enough and effective. They are a pain in the ass to use but better than soggy socks all day at work. They will not last a long time if you use them a lot, I've got about a year out of mine and they're pretty much done in now, I do ride a lot though. Mine now do leak, but only a small amount and as I stated before my leather bike boots can cope with this at the moment. I may purchase some more, or I may try the Weiss ones next.

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Reader's Comments

Colin Stewart said :-
Ren ,I thought waterproof boots were just a pipe dream ,but I'm glad to say I was wrong !
Ten years ago I was going to France for a few days to watch Toseland win wsbk at Magny Cours .
My boots were old race boots and leaked like sieves in anything more than a shower.So I went to my local bike shop who stocked Oxtar boots ,now of course called TCX.
I bought a pair of Oxtar Explorer gtx boots ,possibly my best bike gear purchase ever,for the reasonable sum of £106.Ten years and 50,000 miles later they have never ever leaked .That includes wading through puddles and riding in a deluge where all the locals (French) were stopped in their cars under the motorway bridges .
The current version of these boots are called TCX explorer gtx .They retail for about £115 .A bargain !They are comfortable to walk in ,comfortable on the bike ,warm ,hardwearing and have sole and shin protection .
The only criticism I have is that they are tight on each side of my ankles ,but certainly not painfully so .
I wear Brtish army extreme cold arctic socks under my boots ,these are fantastically warm and well worth the £5 cost on ebay,but have them on if trying the boots on as they are quite thick.
Heres to another 10 years with my boots ,and another 10 years of warm dry feet .
Keep up the good work with the site Ren and Sharon ,it is fantastic to read about bikes and travelling on a sensible budget ,unlike the glossy mags who seem to be operating on a different planet financially to us mere working class mortals .
24/07/2016 11:30:34 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Cheers Colin. Sharon's been extremely happy with her Daytonas. I have also heard the TCX boots are the bees knees. But...

When I get the boots the first thing I need done is to have a thicker sole fitted to the left boot. This is done by slicing off the tread pattern, inserting 40mm of crepe and then glueing the tread pattern back on. I have one leg shorter than the other.

Now - imagine I've spent my £115 which is a very fair price and I take my boots. I have the thick sole put on and start wearing the boots. OH DEAR! I have been particularly unlucky and got the one pair that has a leak. No problem I'll take them back to the shop and they'll swap them out for a pair that don't leak.

"Erm...sorry sir, we can't exchange your boots, there's a 40mm wedge glued onto the bottom of the left boot". Well that's £115 down the swanny.

I've explained my situation to...Manchester Triumph, Northwich J&S, Preston Hein Gericke(as was) and several other shops. All assured me the boots would not leak, none of them assured me that if they did leak they would exchange the boots if it had a thick sole added in.

I am willing to spend £115 on the boots if the shop will warrant the boots with my additional sole for 12 months. I am willing to spend over £300 if the shop is willing to guarantee the boots for 3 years. They'll need to bear in mind I cover over 20,000 miles per year too!!

Oh - I tried Altberg in Richmond as they will make the boots with the thick sole fitted straight out the shop. Great - except they don't actually guarantee waterproofing.

Hence the overboots. I've since moved on to ex army issue waterproof socks which although not as good as waterproof boots is working quite well for me.

Cheers!
25/07/2016 07:26:45 UTC
Colin Stewart. said :-
Aw ,didnt know about your leg Ren . The overboot definitley seems your best bet .
Remembered reading your review of the ntv 650 many years ago .Tried to find it few months ago ,finally found your site .
Couldn't believe the way its developed ,its fantastic .
I'm currently ridind a wave 110i ,i'm gonna be touring in the north of England during September ,house move and wife permitting ,so I may get a chance to drop in to a BAT meet .
Good luck
Colin .
25/07/2016 13:07:21 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Ideally Colin I'd like a pair of super tough abrasion resistant and fastenable wellies!

Thanks for your comments on the site. There's a lot of work goes into it and it is coming along slowly but surely.

Ahhh the Wave 110i, now that is a proper motorcycle. Where abouts are you planning to tour? You can email me if you wish to organise a meet-up one evening - ren@bikesandtravels.com.
25/07/2016 21:43:03 UTC
Colin Stewart said :-
Ren ,I want to get over to see the Hawes museum ,Hislop and Guthrie ,then the Leyland commercial musuem ,then a run around the sales .
When I get time I'll write a review of the wave .
25/07/2016 22:35:56 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Sounds like a great trip Colin. I'm not far at all from the Leyland Museum and to my shame I've never been around it. Maybe we should meet there as long as my commitments allow.
26/07/2016 08:10:57 UTC
 

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