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CE Approval, Disability And Dainese

Blog Date - 05 December 2018

At this years NEC Bike Show being a pedant and an awkward git I thought I'd do some baiting. It's the old boots question - will you warrant these boots even if I have my thick sole put on because of my short leg. The Trouble With My Boots 

So there I am eyeing up a pair of £200 Dainese boots on the Dainese stand. "Excuse me ..." I explain to the gentleman my predicament and he seems to think it ought not to be a problem - but - he guides me to his boss. The boss man is obviously distracted with other customers all vying for his attention but has no problems with the addition of 40mm of crepe so long as it does not penetrate the boot. 

A pair of mid length motorcycle boots by Dainese with Goretex liners
They'd do me fine these boots.

Yes! Dainese will indeed sell me a pair of boots with a proper waterproof guarantee. Even better their primary shop is in Wolverhampton. This is a fair ride but can be done in a day. This means I can purchase the boots direct from the place that assures me my warranty won't be voided due to my adaptation.

Hmmm. Not one to actually believe things told to me without full, clear confirmation I send the following email to

I was talking to the team at this year's NEC show in Birmingham. I have one leg shorter than the other and as such I have a "lift" on the sole of my left boot. Previously other shops would not warrant their boots as waterproof if I needed to return them in the event of a failure - due to the lift being fitted. I have more details on my blog if you wish -

At the show I was assured that Dainese would indeed warrant the boots so long as my extra-thick sole did not compromise the boot construction. I would like to check that is the case before I make the journey to your shop in anticipation of buying some GoreTex Boots.

Many thanks, Ren Withnell.

I waited, after a week I thought my message had gone astray then I recieved the following reply.

Hi Ren,

So sorry for the delay in getting back you regarding this!

I have been waiting for a reply from Dainese about your request, so I have now had the reply which is below!

Hi C****

certified products can not be altered in any way nor by Dainese nor by third parties.

Dainese products are certified as safety gear for motorcycle use according to released design and construction.

If any alteration is carried out on a certified product it will make its certification cease and warranty coverage too.

Trusting that this will answer your question I remain with

Best regards,


Any further questions, please let me know!

Many thanks


To which I have replied

Ok that's a shame. Would you show this information to "your boss". I believe I was talking to someone "in charge" when he suggested that the additional sole would not be a problem. 

Many thanks, Ren Withnell

So it seems alas and alak my dreams of purchasing some guaranteed to be waterproof boots are still just dreams. 

But this also raises another perhaps MUCH more important point. Dainese's boots are certified safety gear. That's a great! But if someone with a disability makes changes to their boots they can no longer be classed as certified safety gear. This is a fair point - it'd be hard for Honda to warrant my CB500X as fit for purpose if I decided to fit a bicycle wheel where the rear wheel presently is. However this could cause complexities.

I believe in France you are required to wear a helmet and CE certified gloves. Let us imagine you've been blessed with a missing index finger. Rather than having the empty finger sleeve flopping around you cut it off and stitch up the hole. Have you now altered your glove rendering your glove as no longer CE approved thus making you illegal to ride in France?

A pair of ordinary motocross gloves

Imagine if the UK adopts a rule where boots have to be CE (or post Brexit BSI) approved. Is it possible I could find myself in a situation where I can no longer legally ride?

Come to think of it many countries require the wearing of a helmet that needs to meet certain standards. What if you have growth or deformity that requires the alteration of the padding? Maybe you can't even get a standard helmet to fit?

In this age of equality we - quite rightly - cannot discriminate against disabilities and deformities. Are there exceptions for disability? How does this work? I am merely thinking out loud and as yet I don't have a solution. Dainese cannot be expected to warrant boots that have been altered - equally are they and/or safety regulations discriminating against my very very minor disability? 

If you've got some waterproof boots that I can stick a thick sole on contact

Reader's Comments

Pocketpete said :-
That's shocking I'm sure they have to make adequate arrangements for disabled people otherwise discrimination kicks in. Might be worth an email to them along those lines. A bit of bad social media and Facebook posts.

I'm pretty deaf these days requiring hearing aids which I frequently don't wear so I cant hear Paula nagging me went in the bank the other day and the loop wasn't working so couldn't gear the guy behind the glass. I complained and had a call today saying they were sorry and it had been repaired already. That's pretty good service from hsbc
6/12/2018 8:30:22 PM UTC
Rod said :-
Ren, I have never found a pair of motorcycle boots which have been waterproof.
I have had boots which are shower proof , and I have spoken to bikers who have paid a fortune for waterproof boots which they say are waterproof, but they all say they are to hot to wear in the summer.
This leads me to believe that the waterproof membranes are waterproof, but not very breathable.
My solution is a pair of wellies which are big enough for two pairs of socks in the winter, and I carry them in the top box in the summer in case of wet weather.
Buy a cheap pair of motorcycle boots and a pair of wellies and have a thicker sole attached to both.
The wellies will not come with the full safety protection, and you may not be comfortable with that situation, but I feel the biggest increase in risk factor we take is when we get on to a bike.
6/12/2018 9:04:42 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Pocketpete. I'm not sure if it is THAT important to me personally to go down the whole social justice warrior route. I don't think of myself as disabled at all, I can do pretty much anything any other 47 year old bloke can do. I am I suppose "inconvenienced" rather than disabled.

What this does though is raise the question for those who are actually handicapped by their difference from the average person.

Rod - Sharon's Daytona GoreTex boots have been completely waterproof for her. As you say though they are very costly. She doesn't complain of hot feet in summer but then anything less than 100 degrees centigrade is cold to Sharon so no risks there.

I am, I'm afraid, something of a safety Nazi but I only apply this to myself rather than forcing my opinions onto others. Wear what you wish but for myself I like to wear gear designed for the rigours of motorcycling. I do have some waterproof army socks that help but by jove they don't 'arf whiff in the summer.
7/12/2018 9:43:43 AM UTC
Rod said :-
Ren, I have been giving this some thought!!!(my wife did not know that I was capable).
How would this work...
Instead of attaching a 40mm sole to the boot, make up a 40mm sole unit with a strap system to strap to the bottom of the boot. If the boot leaks and you have wet socks, just send the boots back without the strap on sole. They may think it strange that the right boot sole is worn more than the left, but this would put you in the same position as anyone else with leaky boot issues.
7/12/2018 10:15:14 AM UTC
Rod said :-
Forgot to mention. This would also allow you to ride legally in France.
7/12/2018 10:19:38 AM UTC
pocketpete said :-
Rod, You clearly have never had a pair of Daytona Boots. Oh those waterproof German boots. Never have you leaked on my size 10 socks. They are the only boots I have ever had which have never leaked despite the worse weather I have thrown at them 3 hours of smashing rain all the way to the lakes and not a drop got through.

The only down side the hideous price. But I'm happy to pay for dry toes.
7/12/2018 2:34:44 PM UTC
Stuart said :-
Hi Ren. I too have one leg shorter than the other as a result of a car crash (10 fractures to my femur). I use a heel raise that slips inside my shoe / boot. I'd be happy to send you one to try if you think they would help ?
7/12/2018 2:52:49 PM UTC
Rod said :-
Pocketpete, You are of coarse correct. I have never owned a pair of Daytona Boots.
I think I suffer from the same problem as Ren; Short arms and deep pockets.
But my wellies have never leaked, and they cost about £5 and are now 30 years old!
7/12/2018 2:56:02 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Rod - I have very seriously considered the "strap on" (quiet at the back) method. My concern is getting a good solid tight fit. The advantage is 2 fold. As you point out this would not invalidate any boot warranty AND I could use the same thing with other boots too. The key would be making a secure positive fit otherwise it'd be like wearing stilettos.

Currently in France the CE approval only applies to gloves - to the best of my knowledge. Check on this if you're riding to France.

Stuart - thanks for the offer and it's good to know someone with the same issue. My femur was broken into "several" parts too. My life is 40mm. I would think a 40mm wedge in my boots wouldn't leave much room for my feet I'm afraid. How big is your insert?

Wellies don't leak - fact. Is there a market out there for suitably re-enforced wellies for bikers?
7/12/2018 3:23:36 PM UTC
pocketpete said :-
Surely no one can be tighter than Ren lol. But what he loses by his small pockets he more than makes up with oodles of free advice and help. If money was not object then I would certainly go down the daytona boot route.

I also used to use Derri boots in the winter these were free when I was a police officer they were a bit tougher than wellys and a bit warmer as they had a furry liner or a sock type liner.
7/12/2018 5:43:20 PM UTC
Stuart said :-
Just had a look and they are a lowly 9mm. As you say 40 may be stretching things.
7/12/2018 6:00:03 PM UTC
Rod said :-
Wellies don't leak - fact. Is there a market out there for suitably re-enforced wellies for bikers?
As pocketpete pointed out the wellies for bikers were called 'Derri Boots', not sure if they are still available.

7/12/2018 7:00:14 PM UTC
Stuart said :-
Dunlop used to do steel toe cap trials wellies back in the late 70s 80s.
7/12/2018 7:37:53 PM UTC
bill said :-
in the days before I found waterproof boots I had from army surplus store waterproof over boot. A bit like flexible wellies that rolled up for storage and went over your bike boots then tightened with a lace outer but no seems, they also were good for the long walk in wet grass to bathroom when camping, like big waterproof slippers :-) the soles were semi rigid and grippy. Now have Dainese AW boots used for both road and trail riding and never let water in even when river crossing. Not sure if the still make them.

7/12/2018 10:15:07 PM UTC
Borsuk said :-
Large quantities of Dubbin at regular intervals, worked fine on my hillwalking boots for 30 years (same pair), seems to be working on my biking boots so far.
I was thinking about the removable option for the wedge as well. Either a similar arrangement of straps as a set of crampons or an over shoe with the sole attached to the bottom.
7/12/2018 11:36:51 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Derri Boots. As far as I can tell they are basically wellies. I'm aware they used to be popular with bikers back in't day. However Pocketpetes link doesn't seem to offer motorcycle specific "hardened" boots for riders.

I do have some old boots I could remove the extra thick sole from and play with making some kind of strap on system. Hmmmm. I reckon Ebay might sell buckles or ratchets or siimilar as a method of getting a secure fit. This will of course end up being a Ren bodge so don't expect it to be pretty.

If a pair of boots proves itself waterproof for a (good) few months then it might be worth having the proper sole fitted once I'm confident about them. Food for thought folks.
8/12/2018 11:52:04 AM UTC
Drew said :-
Just a thought: Altberg make boots to measure (I hear your wallet tightening at the thought) so if the thicker soul was factory fitted, therefore not an alteration, could this not be covered.
I don't see why other manufacturers couldn't also do this.
12/12/2018 1:37:00 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Everyone but everyone recommends Altberg. I know a chap with a club foot due to polio get's his boots made there. I also know Sharon and I went up there to go and see if I could sort me some bona fide super duper shop made wonderboots.

The chap in the shop said they did not guarantee their boots as waterproof.
12/12/2018 2:03:12 PM UTC
Womble said :-
Hi Ren Have had my Altbergs for about 8 years or so, comfiest boots I've ever owned. Regular application of their own wax has kept my feet dry.
Just a point on the CE gloves in France, not heard of anyone being prosecuted for not having a label! But something to be aware of. Must get around to sewing some in mine. But it is illegal here (France) to ride without gloves. I know most people wouldn't dream of it but when its 35 plus degrees and you've only got your warm ones with you!
Must admit after reading about your CBF125 I'm quite tempted to sell my big bike and get one, with the new 80kph speed limit and rising fuel costs it makes makes more sense than ever.
12/12/2018 2:29:38 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I'd be more than happy to support Altberg as they are a rare thing - a UK company making a product here in the UK that seems to be a very high quality product. But unless they agree that if the boots leak within the first year I can't be shelling out £300 on say-so.

Not only do I have the purchase price - typically around the £220 mark for the kind of boots I'd want - I also have the additional cost of the sole being altered. When I asked the price was £20 per 10mm hence my 40mm lift would be £80.

I guess there are lots and lots of rules that go unobserved and unenforced. Here in the UK all helmets used on the road have to be CE approved but much like the gloves I know of no-one being asked to demonstrate this. Like many things it's not a problem until there's a problem. If there were an accident I'm sure my helmet would be checked and I'm sure a gendarme would be checking your gloves!

With a 80kph limit (about 50mph) the only time you'll need anything more than a 125 is on the motorways. From what I read this is "experimental" and may be revoked if the statistics show little sign of improvement. I also appreciate these things tend to be "forgotten" and the 80kph limit just stays in place. Are you finding most drivers are observing the new limit or simply carrying as per usual?
12/12/2018 2:41:12 PM UTC
said :-
Hi Ren Yes I think you are correct in a manufacturer standing by there product for 12 months, especially at that price!
Yes lots of laws to be aware of and as you say only come into play if there is a problem.
The new limit is not popular but the accident rate is bad here and it's a cheap quick fix. More measures are on the way we are told to try to reduce accidents. Biggest problem in my opinion is how close the following vehicle is, no room for error. When I do go on the busier 'N'roads I am surprised how many people stick to the limit. Must admit I have got very used to 80kph hence looking for smaller bike I currently ride a Moto Guzzi 1100 California which is not suitable for that speed!.

12/12/2018 5:56:23 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
The Guzzi WILL do 80 kph, it'll do 10kph but yes I can imagine that big v-twin engine is barely ticking over at 80kph.

I'm certainly very happy with my 125, it brings me a great deal of pleasure and in the busy and congested roads here in the North West of England it is ideal. I've also toured on it and enjoyed that. And yet I also enjoy having the bigger bike. For me the contrast between the 2 is the best part.

Would you get rid of the Guzzi and just have a 125? Keep both? What about a 250?
13/12/2018 9:43:49 AM UTC
Ian Soady said :-
"Everyone but everyone recommends Altberg. "

I don't. I went to the factory 15 years or so and ordered a pair. When they arrived they were very tight but worse still were about as flexible as if they'd been made of rhino hide.

My main use at the time was a year-round commute of about 10 miles each way 3 days a week and they were just far too much hard work to get on and off so they went - to be replaced by German paratrooper boots or Dunlop trials wellies depending on mood and weather.

The Altbergs were very well made and the chap I sold them to (at great loss to myself) was very pleased with them so a silver lining perhaps......
13/12/2018 11:37:41 AM UTC
Womble said :-
Hi Ren Yes of course the Guzzi will do all speeds required by me, but it just doesn't flow at lower speeds. I don't do the mileage I once did or as much two up riding or as many rallies so think it's time to quit the big bikes. As they say more fun to ride a slower bike fast than a fast bike slow. I still have very fond memories of riding a Honda c90 coast to coast and taking in the Hardknott and Wrynose passes, in fact fully loaded with camping gear it was the easiest trip I've had over the passes! Will have a look at 125's and hopefully try one out for size (I'm 180cm), a 250 or 300 May be a better bet but must admit a 125 seems a lot of fun.
13/12/2018 5:10:44 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I daresay Ian Soady you're very much the exception! Unlucky with the boots. Shame I wasn't the lucky chap you sold them to.

Womble - I took my CBF125 over the Hardknott pass. I'm mightily thankful I didn't take the bigger bike I owned then (Fazer 600) because it was traumatic enough on the 125. Yes yes of course many riders successfully navigate the pass on huge motorcycles but they're obviously far more tough and hardcore than I am. I'd still think twice about taking my CB500X over there.

I guess you'll have to make a decision Womble! Maybe get a low mileage used 125 and see how you get on and feel about it all. That way if you find yourself yearning for a bit more power you can sell it without losing too much money. I'm 5 feet 8 or 173cm and I'm fine on my CBF125.
14/12/2018 8:26:09 AM UTC

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