Bootmen around the world visit my website and look at the photos of my Dehner Patrol boots. I’m not surprised, but if guys really knew more about these boots, they might choose alternatives.
My first priorities for boots are that they function as designed. A patrol boot is supposed to provide protection to a motorcycle operator, be comfortable for all-day wear, sustain regular hard use, and have a good appearance.
The good things about Dehner Boots, in my opinion, is that they do function as designed, and they have a striking and commanding appearance. No wonder many bike cops from years ago (and today, like CHP officers) bought and wore them. If broken in properly, they are comfortable for all-day wear. And when fitted properly, they feel good on the legs.
The bad things about these boots, though, override the good. Today, like all companies, Dehner looks for ways to save money when making boots. They use a material called “Dehcord” made by Clarino on the boot shaft of stock boots. Beware: Dehcord is not leather; it is plastic! It cracks and breaks easily with normal wear in a relatively short time. More than a crease, those cracks cause white crevasses to appear starting at the ankle and then work their way up. Also, Dehcord can’t take the heat — a hot motorcycle engine will cause a Dehcord boot shaft to become discolored (causes it to turn gray) and the discolored areas can not be returned to their black and shiny appearance. A cop buddy of mine told me that he saw that as a “badge of honor.” Well, that’s one way to look at it; to me, a damaged boot is a damaged boot.
And worse, the stock boots made of this plastic stuff are still very pricey — going for about US$400 MSRP.
Then it gets worse, price-wise, from there. Dehner offers upgraded real leather for their patrol boots, either “Voyager” which has a matte appearance, or European Calf leather. The calf leather is excellent, looks great, doesn’t discolor, takes a great shine, and holds up well. The major issue I have with a pair of boots made from this leather is that they currently retail for well over US$700. What cop with a limited uniform allowance or Bootman on a budget can afford that? Especially cops who wear their boots every day and the boots are subjected to daily stresses of walking, running, and frequent stops >> foot down>> starts >> foot up motorcycle operation.
One other consideration of Dehners is that the boots come in a fairly narrow calf width, made for spindly-legged guys. If you are like me, with muscular calves, you require a larger calf circumference. Dehner now offers a 1″ larger calf circumference option at no additional charge, as this had been a problem for many years.
I’m all for supporting U.S.-based companies, which Dehner remains, still based in Omaha, Nebraska. But boot buyers also have to consider the affordability. That’s why, today, you will see so many cops wearing Chippewa Hi-Shine Engineer Boots. They’re much less expensive, all-leather, and made in the USA as well. The major difference is that they are an Engineer Boot, which is quite a departure from the patrol boot style.
UPDATE OCTOBER 2008: Click here for a Guide to Motorcycle Patrol Boots.
UPDATE JULY 2009: Click here for instructions on how to break in a new pair of Dehner boots.