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MD Product Review: RS Taichi Delta Riding Shoes


When I trained to be an MSF RiderCoach two years ago, I never thought the worst part of the job would be sore feet. But now, 1800 or so students later, my dogs are barking big time. Just thinking about those 12-hour days standing in a parking lot wearing motorcycle boots makes my tootsies tingle.

Luckily, the moto-apparel industry has a solution: riding sneakers. I’ve made it my personal mission to find a pair of shoes that are comfortable, offer more protection than a regular pair of basketball shoes and look more stylish than your average pair of black boots. I have a lot of choices in my closet, and to date my favorite have been Shift Racing’s Fuel shoes, but they are now, sadly, unavailable, as Shift’s lineup of street apparel has been unceremoniously drowned in the tub by parent company Fox.

Luckily, I know a guy who knows a guy, and that guy sent me a pair of RS Taichi’s Delta riding shoes. Does the brand ring a bell? That’s because RS Taichi is one of Japan’s premier lines of riding gear, around since 1976 and is now available in the USA thanks to importers Moto Liberty.

The Delta is clearly not intended for heavy-duty, high-speed use, but rather as a casual riding shoe when the rider needs to spend more time off the bike than on it. So it’s made out of soft, comfortable materiel; polyester mesh, cowhide, nylon, secured to a Vibram sole. Protective features include PVC panels over impact and shifter areas and a Velcro strap to secure the extra-wide laces. To keep your feet cool, the shoe uses a big intake panel over the toes (covered with tough-looking steel mesh) and air channels in the insoles.

My white-and-blue pair felt good right out of the box. They’re about as light and comfy as a pair of running shoes, and stylish in a Japanese disco-pop sort of way. The wide opening makes them easy to put on (my gripe about Shift sneakers is they are hard to don and doff), and the Velcro and wide laces secure them tightly to your foot. They go nicely with jeans as casual footwear and don’t really look that much like motorcycle shoes.

On the motorcycle, they work well. They are flexible enough to make shifting and braking easy, and slim enough to fit under the shifter easily. The Vibram sole offers good feel and grip on the pegs and confidence when you’re paddling the bike around on slippery pavement. And the ventilation makes you practically feel like you’re wearing sandals.

Off the bike, they’re pretty much just another pair of comfy shoes, and that’s a good thing. I wore them with some gel insoles, so I was kind of cheating, but the channeled insoles that came with the shoes look fairly substantial and comfortable. Even at 3:00 in the afternoon—the time of day I’ve come to call “feet-hurty” after 9 hours on the job with three more to go—my feet were still not yet aching.

The main drawback I can see for these shoes is durability. They are well made, but after just a couple of days on the range, signs of wear are appearing—I probably wouldn’t opt for the white, but luckily, there are six other colors you can pick. They are not the most protective footwear you can get, although they are probably much better than regular sneakers.

The Delta shoe retails for $140. Not cheap, but not a bad value, either. I like mine enough to probably wear them out. Call Moto Liberty or go to the RS Taichi website to find a dealer near you.

28 Comments

  1. Moonbandito says:

    MSF instructors walk 7 miles a day. On asphalt. It’s more of a walking job than a riding job. The best shoes would have to be heat insulated, have durable soles, and a removable arch support. They’d have to be at least ankle high.

    No one makes a shoe that fits the needs of an MSF instructor. Start asking how many MSF instructors have foot injuries and you’ll get a real surprise. Ranges aren’t the best for walking and motorcycle boots are not made for walking.

  2. Foogunheimer says:

    These shoes were originally designed for the Power Rangers, but they work pretty good for motorcycling, too.

  3. Dannytheman says:

    Does the Good Witch of the north have you click them 3 times and make a wish? Fugly shoes! I will stick to my Red Wings boots.

  4. joe says:

    i am a MSF ridercoach also and the only boot i found to help my aching feet is one made by newbalance, and they are waterproof also. One thing that the site owner said, the only thing that will make you feet feel better is to get off them.
    if these work for you good, my NB’s have lasted 5 seasons so far.

  5. Jamo says:

    Too gay. I want a pair of plain, unfashionable, non-boy racer looking riding shoes. I didn’t know Shift’s were become unavailable. Mine work pretty well.

  6. Kjazz says:

    Japanese should not do “style”…….

  7. ERW says:

    http://www.ridgeoutdoors.com/_catalog_65678/Motorcycle_Boots

    Take a look at these boots from Ridge. Made extremely well. The lightest boot I have ever seen. The ventilation, (or waterproof) is wonderful and besides the lace up part, they use a zipper for fast in and out. Used my fire and police the world over.
    Not expensive at all and will last longer than anything else out there.
    45 years of riding experience and these are the best day to day boot I have seen. Not a racing boot……..repeat, not for racing. Dual sport riding with them is wonderful. You can get off and hike or walk around.
    Worth a look. And you won’t look like something from the BEE GEE’s fan club.

  8. kpaul says:

    Pretty cute little shoes :) Think I would get some black shoe polish or black dye to get them all black. I would worry about protection. I don’t ride anywhere with out my alpinestar race boots. When I had my big wreck both the EMT and ER doctor said good thing I had the tall racing boots on. I say ride with the boots and get some slip on walking shoes when you aren’t riding. To me this shoes are like wearing a skull cap helmet. i.e. not good enough

  9. ziggy says:

    Man those things are gay-lookin’

    Reminds me of something I saw in a Menudo video, circa 1981.

    Wear some Danner Ft. Lewis boots, shave your head, and grow some hair on your hooligan chest I say…

    Why does every rider want to look like a freakin’ Power Ranger these days?!

  10. trent says:

    The trick to doffing and donning the Shift Fuels is to pull the sides outward. Makes it almost easy. Haven’t had a chance to try the Shift Kickers yet; next on my list.

  11. Ryan says:

    For the last 4 years, I have went to a work shoe retailer (Hytest, Wolverine, Red Wing, etc.) and bought a name brand tennis shoe with a steal toe. I had a Reebok DMX steel toe (all leather) that lasted over 3 years. I am now wearing a converse low with steel toe. They are comfortable, slip resistant, durable, and under $100.

  12. craigj says:

    Wear bike boots (I like Sidi myself) while on the bike. Wear normal shoes when doing normal stuff. Put bike boots in a)Givi trunk, b)knapsack, or c)wear ratty old scarred up bike boots and just leave them beside your bike. Who’s going to want to steal ratty old scarred up bike boots? It’s the same as using the right tool for the right job.

  13. MGNorge says:

    I don’t think they look so bad and could certainly be worse. Motorcyclists have always battled between comfort/protection/price. Best protection does not ensure comfort and vice versa. Pricing can be all over the map.

    To think of it, how much protection do many riding boots really offer compared to others? How do we know?

  14. ABQ says:

    My problem with motorcycle boots is that they are downright painful just to slip into. Add to that they are always too narrow and the ankles are not wide enough. My answer is to get a psir of steel toe boots at Walmart for $30. And, I can stand all day in mine.

  15. steve says:

    In addition to not wearing a helmet & having the maximum loudness from my open drag pipes on my Harley & not waving to anyone that doesn’t ride a Harley, I’ve decided I’m no longer going to wear any type of footwear…. & I’m going to flip the bird to anyone not riding a Harley as well… especially anyone with a roadcrafter suit on. Plus I’m going to play Free Bird on my CD player as loud as it will go! & when some tree hugging v-strom riding, roadcraft wearing, kumbaya singing nutjob pulls up next to me, I’m going to put a pair of these ugly shoes on & kick him in the ass! (then remove them & keep riding)…. cause I’m a Free-eee–eee Bird yeah!

  16. John A. Kuzmenko says:

    Looks like some kind of bowling or golf shoe.
    The Arnold Palmer special.

  17. bikerrandy says:

    My whole adult life, my feet on concrete/asphalt are very sensitive when standing around, until I got some RG tactical boots @ Big 5. They are made for swat teams. I have them both in tall and shorter lengths as needed. No more sore feet all day.

  18. Doug says:

    As an MSF RiderCoach, I agree that these would be appear to be great on the training range. I too question their durability. I typically go through a pair of quality, low top riding boots every year, worn only on the training range, at 1-2 classes per month. HOWEVER, I would never ride in these on the street. There is simply no protection in them above the toe box, and they barely extend above the ankles.

  19. RRocket says:

    You should check out the Sidi Doha boots. Nicer design, very comfy and will last much, much longer.

    Or did you get the RS boots for free?? :)

  20. Foogunheimer says:

    Those are some ugly shoes for $140! You’d think they would hire someone with a sense of style to design a shoe that they plan to sell enough of to make a profit. I’ll pass.