509 Velo Raid Boot Review
This season brought a twist to my wintertime motorized activities, as I added a snow bike (my first!) to the stable. With that activity came the desire for some snow bike-specific gear. The 509 Velo Raid Boot is designed as motocross-inspired crossover boot for sledders and snow bike riders looking for more support and protection with minimal bulk.
So without further preamble, let’s dive in to my 509 Velo Raid Boot review!
509 Velo Raid Boot Review
My initial impression of the comfort of the Velo boot wasn’t overly positive, to be honest—but hear me out. I have a fairly “small” foot, in that I wear a size 10, medium width. The first time I pulled on the Velo Raid boot after a hasty signature for the courier, I thought: these fit great. Except, at the time I was wearing skinny ankle socks more appropriate for a sunny day on the golf course than a frosty day on the hill.
Upon changing into something more appropriate for a wintertime activity, my hunch proved accurate—pretty dang tight! Not to fear, there was time between when I received the boots and when I was actually able to ride, so I took the opportunity to wear them around the house, down to the mailbox and so forth, to break them in.
As my rides progressed, the boots have broken in nicely. It took about 7 rides to break them in, but now I find them to have almost hiking boot level of comfort.
One thing to be aware of is, that while I’m far from “calf-zilla”, with my full-length knee pads on, it was basically impossible to do the boots up—there wasn’t enough length on the buckle straps. Problem solved when next ride out, I used my A-Stars knee braces instead, as they end slightly above the boot cuff. If you’re like me and wear braces while riding, be worth a test fit prior to purchase.
I can’t give a perfect score, because other than Mac Davis (YouTube him, millenials) nothing is perfect. That being said, in all my rides up to this point, not a single drop of water has entered the boot. This includes wading around in some mid-thigh deep days. The 5Tech waterproof membrane more than does its job.
I give my protection evaluation with a caveat, in that I’ve been lucky enough to not have actually needed to test the protection built into the boot.
That being said, I’ve had some pretty serious knock-a-bouts during the summer months and escaped unscathed. I would put the protection level of the Velo Raid boot on par with my Alpinestars Tech 7 motocross boots. From sole stiffness to ankle support, they garner top marks. Where the Velo Raid boots differ from a pure dirt bike boot is there is no protection system against hyper-extension.
Being that this is my first snow bike, I had to cut some corners to keep costs down. One place I decided against spending extra on were footpegs. Now, being new to the sport, I had devoured each and every piece of information I could to ensure I would have a reliable and safe machine. A lot of the advice suggested that you NEED mountain footpegs. Well, when the smoke from my burning credit card dissipated, I was left with many new parts for install, however replacement pegs were not amongst them.
This had me slightly nervous, to be honest. We’ve all heard of, or seen pics of, someone who’s had the misfortune of slipping off their peg/running board, and leaving some “bark” behind. But with the 509 Velo boot, my fears have been unfounded. I actually find there to be almost TOO much traction, when it gets late in the day and a guy gets a bit tuckered out. To be fair, haven’t seen true spring conditions yet, so that MAY affect the rating. But you can only play the teams they schedule you, as the saying goes, and the 509 Velo Raids have met each challenge.
One point of frustration is that I found the buckles cumbersome to deal with. They have small locating pins, and must be perfectly aligned to the receiver to be able to cam down.
I personally haven’t had ANY issues with the boot. Not a single pulled stitch, no scuffs or tears on the soles, the body of the boot remains perfect, as do the cams and buckles.
However, I have heard numerous reports online of buckles breaking, many upon their first, or second use. I would normally chalk that up to internet fodder, but there were several complaints across different message boards, so that leads me to lend some credence to the problems.
(Editor’s note: Apparently the early production run buckles had a weakness but have since been replaced with a stronger composite.)
It must also be noted, though, that for every complaint of an issue, there were equal amounts of “509 immediately sent me all the repair parts I needed ASAP, at no cost.” So definitely a big thumbs up to a manufacturer to recognize an issue, and deliver on the support to make things right. Sadly, it’s not as commonplace as it should be, so kudos where they are deserved!
509 Velo Raid Boot Review Summary
This is a fantastic piece of footwear for someone in the snow bike market. While a person might want a bit more than the 200 g of insulation on some days, warmth, or lack of, was never an issue for me.
The 5Tech membrane keeps you all day dry; the molded shin guards exhibit zero wear; and the three cam buckles and Velcro enclosure keep the boot securely fastened to your foot.
The small things matter, like the molded shifter pad, to keep from wearing the toe box out, to the stiff sole for you younger types that need to kick start your bike. This is a rugged piece of equipment that is more than up to the task.
Do your feet a favour, and strap these on the next time you are looking for a more aggressive and protective piece of footwear for riding your snow bike or even a sled. It’s definitely the right tool for the job!