Designed in Italy, made in Italy.
Falco motorcycle boots have recently become available in America through Advanced Motorcycle Gear. This footwear is designed in Italy and perhaps far more importantly, is made there as well. Some riders will accept nothing less than Italian craftsmanship in a set of boots and for such discerning folks, Falco will not disappoint. The design is classic in its simplicity, yet there is high tech protection going on inside these boots. Falco took the more modest road with the 307 ESO, providing great protection without resorting to styling reminiscent of a battle-ready space trooper. Construction is immaculate, with nary an inconsistency in sight. Leather, suede, plastic, rubber and metal merge quite tastefully to create a boot that looks far less serious than it is.
We recently tried Falco's 307 ESO boots in a racetrack environment. The machine used for this exercise was our Penny Pasta Aprilia, of course, since nothing short of a moto prodotte dagli italiani would have been appropriate. The test occurred at Road America, in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. This venue offers a very diverse environment, encompassing medium and high-speed sweepers, blazing fast straightaways and a tight, choppy chicane section. If there were issues with the Falco footwear, we'd find them here.
Falco has equipped these boots with their ESO-skeleton structure, which is a hinged plastic apparatus that protects the ankle joint and Achilles tendon area. This padded external plating wraps from the bottom of the rider's calf, all the way around the heel and along the outside of the arch area, continuing to where the toes meet the foot. By design, this armor is smooth, subtle and doesn't really look like much but when you study the boot inside and out, you begin to realize that there's quite a bit more protection there than you might initially think. This setup is also adjustable to provide three levels of flexibility at the ankle joint. Closure is accomplished via a short zipper on the outside of the shin, which is covered by a leather flap secured with Velcro. To finish the job, a plastic and aluminum buckle with multi-step adjustment cinches the boot around your calf. A replaceable alloy toe slider intervenes if your little piggys get too close to the asphalt. Outwardly, there is only a small amount of perforation at the lower arch of each boot and then a bit more at the calf but Falco has endowed the 307 ESO with something called an Airtech liner, which does an amazing job of distributing cooling flow around the foot. These perforations are not closeable, however; so you might have to resort to taping over the holes on cold days.
Putting the 307 ESO on is a task that starts easy but then gets a bit harder. Like just about anything in this world, closing a Falco boot is simple once you know what you're doing. The zipper and Velcro of the bottom closure is essentially effortless to fasten but when you move to the top buckle, it's quite easy to either shove the multi-step strap too far into the boot or else yank it clean out. Eventually, we figured out that the trick is to pull the strap out to its maximum setting, fasten the latch and then push the multi-step portion into the front portion of the boot until you reach the desired adjustment. With practice, this process can be done in mere seconds per boot.
On track, we initially noticed that ventilation was quite good; then we totally forgot about these boots. At the end of the day when we went to remove our racing apparel, there they were! Honestly, there is no higher praise for footwear than this. If you're thinking about your boots, they're not right. If you can just get on with the business of riding, you know you've got a winner and that's exactly what happened with the Falco 307 ESO. Their sleek, uncluttered design meant that there was nothing hanging off this footwear which could snag or drag against the rearsets; a major issue with some brands of boots. Comfort and traction were so good that it never occurred to us to question either attribute. In short, by instantly becoming invisible to our conscious brain, these boots proved themselves to work perfectly.
The Falco 307 ESO comes in Euro sizes 38 through 47, which according to the Falco size chart translates to USA sizes 6-6.5 to 13-13.5. These boots seem to run on the narrow side and it was our experience that a size 47 was initially quite tight on our tester's size 13 feet. They are available in Black, Black/White or Italian/White/Black. The price is $299.00.
Some folks like serious looking boots, with lots of vulgar, obvious armor and adjustments. We have such footwear and love it. There is a certain customer however, who wants boots which offer ample protection in a far stealthier package. We'd go so far as to call the 307 ESO classy, yet crashworthy and functionally superb. If this describes your idea of what racing boots should be, you'll be quite satisfied with Falco's offering.