Have you ever had something you liked so much you didn’t want to use it? That’s pretty much how I feel about the Dainese Tempest D-WP waterproof riding boots. They’re so good it sometimes pains me to use them – especially in the foul weather for which they’re intended.
It’s not that the boots aren’t as good as my Alt-Berg Hogg All-Weather boots and Forma Adventure boots (I live in Britain; you need more than one pair of waterproof boots). In fact, both have proven more than capable of keeping my feet dry during very long spells of wet weather (indeed, the Alt-Bergs were the only piece of my kit that didn’t let me down when I did an entire Iron Butt in the rain). But the Dainese boots are just so much better looking and lighter.
Made in Romania (No. 64 on the Democracy Index), the Dainsese Tempest D-WP boots were given to me by Dainese for the purposes of review. The boots retail for £119.96 to £159,95, depending on size, and are available in European sizes 40-50.
The Tempest D-WP have a touring/sport-touring aesthetic. There’s no confusing them for anything other than motorcycle boots, which is fine because I tend to wear them with textile gear (eg, my Oxford Montreal 3.0 jacket and Montreal 2.0 pants) or my leather two piece (Hideout Touring jacket and Hybrid pants), which also can’t be confused for anything else. When I want to wear gear that doesn’t look like gear I stick to my Indian Motorcycle Spirit Lake boots and Pando Moto Boss 105 Indigo Reg jeans (man, I am winning the internal link game with this article).
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There’s some Dainese branding (most of which disappears under the cuff of your trouser leg) but by and large it’s a subtle boot, which is my preferred sort of thing. Especially when it comes to gear intended to be worn in harsh conditions. You don’t want to be wearing white or flashy colors through gallons of mucky road spray.
What I really like is the absence of visible laces or buckles. It gives the boot a classy (not entirely the word I want to use, but I can’t think of a better one), streamlined look. I don’t know if it matters all that much – I mean, it’s rare that I notice another rider’s boots – but there’s something cool about it. And it means that when you take them off you don’t have to run your fingers along wet, muddy laces.
Sizing is pretty much spot on. I ordered an EU 44, my size in most other well-fitting footwear, and the fit is just about perfect. Almost a little too perfect, due to my propensity to wear thick wool socks; I’ve had to buy a few pair of normal-people socks for these. Factor in their lightweight nature – dramatically less weighty than my other, adventure-styled waterproof boots – and I tend to see these as “warm-weather” gear. Though, keep in mind it never really gets that warm in Britain; I’ll throw these on anytime the temperature soars above 14º C (that’s 57.2º F).
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There is a single zip that runs down the outside of the boot (clever, because that means any potential rough edges are kept away from the paint of your pride and joy) with a Velcro flap to cover the zipper. There are additional Velcro flaps on either side of the calf to help you get a snug fit. I have the chicken legs of a long-distance runner and am just barely able to get them tight enough to feel secure – not that they’d slip off, though.
As I say, the boot is light compared to the chunky adventure stuff I wear when it’s wet and cold (ie, most of the year). That lightness means the boot is very comfortable to wear – good for all-day use. I haven’t done extensive walking in these boots (no impromptu hikes) but haven’t had any issues with the sort of walking you normally encounter when out on rides.
Folks with particularly wide trotters will definitely want to try before they buy; the Tempest D-WP has a relatively narrow profile.
The most important thing here is that the boots are indeed waterproof. Dainese uses its own “special membrane” to line the boots, rather than Gore-Tex. That sort of thing usually raises red flags with me; I understand not wanting to have to put more money into your production costs solely for the purpose of paying a licensing fee, but often the product that a company will use instead of Gore-Tex isn’t half as good.
In the case of the Tempest D-WP boots, though, whatever the Italian company is using appears to work. I’ve worn these through a handful of downpours and all-day mists without issue. Whether it will hold up as long as the Gore-Tex gear I have remains to be seen. One way users can help themselves is to rub Nikwax (I’ve found that UK-based DucksWax also works very well, but you need to use a lot of elbow grease*) into the primarily leather upper; for the small patches of textile across the top of the foot I use Scotch Gard.
The boots are touring focused, so the armor isn’t as intense as you’d find in a true sport boot. Nonetheless, there is some light armor at the ankle and across the shin. The heel is sturdy and there are gear shifter pads across the toes. There is an easy-to-get-mucky bit of reflective material across the back of the heel to help with visibility. Because, you know, if a Snapchatting driver doesn’t see the full-sized human sitting astride a large piece of metal they’ll definitely see the little sparkles on your feet.
The boots are about as breathable as I suppose waterproof riding boots can be. That articulated textile section across the top seems to allow some amount of air to circulate, yet, as I say, the whole package remains waterproof.
Lighter than any of my other boots, I really like how the Tempest D-WP give me a greater sense of feel and, thereby, confidence when riding. I’m better able to feel the foot controls. With adventure boots there is always a tiny nanosecond pause in gear shifts where you think: “Did that shift actually take? I can’t tell until I let out the clutch.”
They achieve their main purpose – keeping my feet dry in the wet – and fit the look I’m shooting for when wearing touring and sport-touring gear. They fit the look so well that I have a tendency to be a little stupidly precious about them. I don’t want to “ruin” them by actually, you know, using them.
They’re pretty reasonably priced for motorcycle boots, however, so actually paying for a new pair once these wear out (and who knows? They may end up being a lot more durable than I’m estimating) won’t be the worst thing in the world. No, they’re probably not as super duper as a pair of Daytona Road Star GTX, but they cost a hell of a lot less. Had I bought these with my own dinero I wouldn’t regret the purchase at all.
*Also, fair warning: the company’s customer service is poor.