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MD Product Review: AXO 5to9 Riding Shoes

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When you’re self-employed, working from a home office, you tend to dress…well, maybe casual isn’t descriptive enough. Let’s just say I’ve forgotten how to iron creases or tie a half-Windsor. Jeans, tennies and my favorite ironically sloganed t-shirt are my usual apparel. Zip me up into my trusty Aerostich and I’m ready-to-ride.

Except for my feet! Your feet and ankles are very vulnerable to injury, and not just in a crash. Your sneaks may look great and be as comfortable as wearing no shoes at all, but they’re not really up to the dangers of riding, even if you’re not on the racetrack. How about a little hot exhaust header on your ankle? Or slipping in a nice patch of antifreeze and having 600 pounds of angry motorcycle land on your ‘ol malleolus? Ow.

One solution is to keep your work shoes at work and swap out your riding boots, but that does add time and complexity to the process…and are you really going to do that if you just need to go pick up a part or grab lunch? Be honest.

Maybe you could use a pair of the AXO 5to9 riding shoes? I could—and I do. My favorite parts guy pointed them out to me, and their skate-park style and simple design (I have the black-and-red pair: the blue-and yellow may only appeal to Boy George c. 1985. Yikes!) got my attention. Wear them with jeans and nobody will know they’re moto-shoes. But they offer many (but not all) of the features you’d want to protect your feet.

AXO—who you may have known as an Italian purveyor of stylish but functional off-road equipment—is butting into the streetbike market with a line of boots, jackets, pants, gloves, one-piece race leathers and other gear. The 5to9 is a casual take on the AXO 9to5 riding shoe, a more traditional moto-style shoe. The upper is constructed of leather and perforated synthetic stuff, bonded to a stiff, thick rubber slip-resistant sole. Safety features include a shift pad over the toe, an extra-stiff sole (parts-guy Tony pointed out you can put a shoe on the floor sideways and stand on it and the sole won’t fold over) and plastic ankle protectors. On my foot, the shoe extends just over 4 inches, nicely covering my knobby little ankle bone.

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They’re not as technical as some riding boots, but the 5to9’s notable feature is the BOA fastening system, which makes securely fitting them to your feet fast and easy. You may be familiar with BOA from all kinds of outdoor footwear and other equipment—including braces and orthopedic devices—but only AXO uses it for motorcycling footwear. It’s a little ratcheting disc on the tongue that quickly winds the thin stainless-steel cable that acts as a shoelace. When it’s tight, you snap the disc down and it locks. To adjust or remove the shoe, unsnap the disc and tug the tongue. It’s fast and easy to don and doff, and fail-safe in a way zippers or laces can only dream of. In fact, BOA guarantees against failure of the fastening system for life.

In use, the 5to9 is a comfortable and practical pair of shoes. Fit runs a little big—I’m a USA size 9.5 and the 9s fit me fine, if a little narrow. Walking is okay, though only as good as your average pair of skate shoes; the 5to9’s soles are flat and fairly hard compared to athletic shoes. But you can stuff your favorite insole in there and they’re a good all-day kind of shoe, so long as your entire day isn’t spent on your feet. The shoes are made in China, but my pair look well-finished, with even, double stitching and durable material that feels nice to the touch.

On the bike, they provide good control feel but don’t feel flimsy. They’re a summer shoe, with noticeable breeze coming through the vented pleather. How well would they stand up to a crash? Better than regular sneakers, probably, and I’m pretty certain that they’d stay on, which is much of the battle when it comes to protective gear. Obviously, roadrace boots will provide the best protection, but ATGATT is a pretty rigorous church to belong to and not all of us can keep that kind of commitment.

At $150, the 5to9 is a good value for practical, comfortable, well-made footwear that feel good on your feet—and let you feel a little better about your riding safety. Find out more about AXO.

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44 Comments

  1. Gary says:

    Considering you can get Tourmaster Solution boots for around $130 which are comfortable and protect better than these, I would say that $150 is not that good of a price. And yes, I can walk around all day in my Solutions- they are that comfortable for me (although they would be warmer in hot weather than these I’m sure).

  2. Austin ZZR 1200 says:

    Ghetto fabulous

  3. Krisd says:

    Great article- thanks Gabe. I was just looking in a motorcycle accessory warehouse for a new pair of summer shoes (it’s summer down under) on Saturday, and didnt see these, so I will see if they are avaible somewhere else down under.
    Couple of questions tho;
    -what do you do with the excess cable when the BOA is wound up and the shoes are on?
    – why didnt they call in 9to5?

    • ecirwin says:

      They didn’t call these 9to5 because they already have a boot called the 9to5. As mentioned in the article, the 9to5 is a little closer to a riding boot, but still more or less a high top sneaker with some added protection. I think the reasoning is that the 9to5 is for your commute, while the 5to9 is everything after. It’s just a name though.

      As for the lace, the Boa system contains the lace inside of the Reel. Disclaimer, I work for Boa Technology. It is obviously one of my favorite things. I have 9to5 boots and Freedom Adventure boots, as well as some Knox Protection Handroid gloves. All of these products use the Boa closure system. I think that once you’ve used it, you’ll never want to be without it.

      See this link for all of AXO;s Boa boots:
      http://www.axo.com/us/collection/street/boa-closure-footwear

    • Spud says:

      I can vouch for the BOA system. Have had it on snowboarding boots–love it. Got it on the kids boots too. Now I have a pair of wading shoes for fishing waders that have it. It works very well, even in snow, ice, mud and water–never jams up or fails to work.

  4. Stone996e says:

    Gabe…smh. All the gear, all the time. I would no sooner wear these than I would ride a 50cc scooter. And Gabe, for your next article I suggest you look into proper chain maintenance.

  5. mickey says:

    If you are over 18, and choose to wear these while riding your motorcycle, I’m pretty sure you are allowed to make that decision. Adults have that right. Adults make decisions all the time which may be detrimental to their health, smoking, drinking, eating fatty foods, speeding, passing over the double yellow line …..

  6. roadrash1 says:

    I just can’t get past the look of the BOA system.

    • Dirck Edge says:

      I agree, it is odd looking if you are not familiar with it. It is an expensive feature that must be licensed from the U.S. company that holds the patent (in Denver I believe). Don’t usually see it at this price point. I am into cycling and many high end cycling shoes license the Boa closure system. In 2012, apparently, “more than 70 riders in the Tour de France used the Boa Closure System” according to Wikipedia.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boa_Technology.

      • ecirwin says:

        Disclaimer: I work for Boa Technology.

        Just to clear things up, Boa does not license it’s technology to brands. Boa is an ingredient brand, much like Gore-Tex and Vibram. Boa designs, builds, oversees installation, and warranties the system. It is usually on higher end equipment, and it does cost more than shoe laces and definitely looks different. But, it does offer some benefits over shoe laces.

    • TimC says:

      The Boa system is the best thing to happen to snowboard boots in a looong time IMO. Don’t knock it based on looks of all things.

  7. Jon says:

    a pair of basketball shoes are now riding gear?? is this a joke and it’s April 1ST?? Come on!!

  8. Gary says:

    Looks like a good compromise to me.

  9. MGNorge says:

    I’m going to “step” in here and say that I have the proper ATGATT attire I don’t always adhere to it. When I was young, I would at times during high heat days wear a T-shirt and shorts but that wasn’t often and usually just around town. I’d be willing to bet that if there was a showing of hands that I’m far from alone. As I got older those days faded but I still generally wore jeans with a jacket. (again, can I see some hands?) Even these days I don’t always put on my riding boots and prefer a casual shoe that gives me great flexibility and comfort. I also deal with a foot that had major surgery and does not fit a lot of footwear well. Am I taking a chance with foot trauma in a crash or accident? Sure, but I understand the risks of riding itself and realize that no matter what I wear it does not make me Superman. I understand the comfort side of things, especially with a bum foot, it’s a choice we all make.

  10. ABQ says:

    Right now I am wearing some NIKE boots. I didn’t know that they made boots. They are very supportive, good looking, thick soles, lace up, all around work boots. They do not look like sneakers or what passes for motorcycle boots. You can actually walk in them and wear them to work. Imagine that.

  11. Gronde says:

    I have it on good authority that these are the same shoes that Michael Jackson wore on his “Moonwalk” video.

  12. Gronde says:

    I have it on good authority that these are the same shoes that Michael Jackson wore on his “moonwalk” video. Therefore’ $150 should be considered a steal.

  13. Tommy says:

    My guess is that the Chinese company makes them for about $20. $150 is outrageous. Somebody wants to retire early.

    • jim says:

      That is a bit much for something like this from AXO. That said, I would wear something like this.

  14. Joey says:

    Squid shoes, even the color is perfect. They’re going to look right at home on that stretched , lowered “Busa ” or ” Gixxer”.

  15. John A. Kuzmenko says:

    Just another product for the guy who feels way too embarrassed to be seen wearing a proper motorcycle boot.

  16. Brinskee says:

    Garbage. I’m sure they didn’t pay you for the review Gabe, but did you get to keep the demo pair for free?

    • Hateraide says:

      At least I’m sure the ratcheting wire straps system will hold up. I’ve had an axo something or another shoes, with that same system but the ratcheting tumbler is just above the heel, for over 5 years and with tens of thousands of miles under their belt. I never crashed in them and I’d like hard shell support around the ankle not just cloth covering them but at least they still hold up.
      I do wonder if they get to keep the free samples myself.

    • Dirck Edge says:

      Brinskee,I assume you own a pair yourself, because you wouldn’t label a product “garbage” without first hand knowledge. What are the problems you experienced with the shoes?

  17. vitesse says:

    “ATGATT is a pretty religious church to belong to and not all of us can keep that kind of commitment.”

    You’re not making any headway here.

  18. Tom says:

    The laces look like fishing line.

  19. mugwump says:

    What happened to your combat boots?

    • SausageCreature says:

      I have a pair of real deal (not replica) jump boots that I wear in cold weather (a pair of ventilated Sidi Air’s handle warm weather duties).

      Combat boots are great for riding. They’re warm(ish), somewhat water resistant (enough for the limited amount of rain I’m willing to ride in), and I daresay the thick leather would handle any slide. They’re plenty comfy (they sort of have to be if you’re expected to march all day with 40+ pounds of gear). The only thing they lack is hard ankle armor, but they do have excellent ankle support.

  20. sl says:

    I’d rather wear some timberlins.

  21. Mike Simmons says:

    As PT Barnum once said…. “there’s one born every minute”…. $150…. sheesh!

    Mike

  22. Montana says:

    “At $150, the 5to9 is a good value for practical, comfortable, well-made footwear”

    Really, $150 for Chinese skate shoes made mostly of plastic is a good value?
    You feel that’s enough to protect your feet when the tires let go around a turn and your foot is trapped between the exhaust pipe and the the fast moving pavement.
    I think I’d prefer a pair of real leather, American hand-made boots like this http://www.foxcreekleather.com/products/1301-8-quot-logger
    If they are too inconvenient to don, get a pair with a zipper. Or take the car.
    With the $20 you save, you can buy a pair of skate shoes at Walmart.

    • Philip says:

      Going fast @ $40 on MotorcyclenSuperstore.com, only “Boy George” color though. At least you may get the protection you pay for at that price.

  23. red says:

    “How well would they stand up to a crash? Better than regular sneakers, probably, and I’m pretty certain that they’d stay on”

    Well that’s more than I can say for my flip-flops, I’m sold!

  24. Ernie says:

    I have very wide feet an none of the companies make a shoe/boot which fits.

  25. Craig says:

    Nice shoe, but if you don’t mind a little bit of a “riders Look”, then check out the shoe from Joe Rocket… It’s 110 and provides a bit more protection then these by look.

    Fit was most excellent as well. Nothing bad on this product… looks pretty good.

  26. Tom says:

    Power Laces Alright!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28Wa5L-fkkM

    Yes they sort of remind me of the Back to the Future sneakers for some reason.

  27. Philip says:

    Thanks for the review, I am within days of buying some shoes in this category. The closure system might have me sold on a pair of these.