Sharka has worn leather shift and brake boots since the early days. I bought his original leather goods from PBC (Performance Buyer’s Club) back in 2000. Those two little leather pieces have been in constant use ever since.
That’s a long time for a leather shift boot to last.
Redline Goods has been making a name for themselves in the Miata world for a few years now. I’ve been looking appreciably at their stuff every time someone posts pix of it. The stitching looks great and the leather looks to be quite nice in photos. You know, for as much as you can tell in photos.
And in hand, these are every bit as good as it looks in the pix.
The leather is thin and supple. (Thin is a good thing in this case.) The stitch work is excellent. And it smells wonderful.
The shift boot is a standard item. Nothing new or surprising about it. It’s just excellent quality. But the brake boot is something not seen before on the internet. According to Redline, they’ve sold 2 or 3 of these loose-fit brake boots, but no photos of them have surfaced.
Yeah, that means I bought these items sight-unseen. I had no worries about the shift boot. But that brake boot? It could easily be pretty awful. But… At $44 each, they’re not exactly breaking the bank. And I had a decent (if rather old) brake boot that I could keep using… so I went ahead and ordered with my fingers crossed.
(Many thanks to the Turtle Crew for their help in modeling the leather goods in my lightbox.)
Redline Shift Boot
It actually looks decent in this shot. There’s a little bit of cracking started on the back side, but this boot is still usable. It’s just getting very dry and old, even with conditioning every couple of months. By my calculations this boot is 80,000 miles old.
This is a very rare shot. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever shown off the bottom side of my shifter. Not much to see, really. It’s an old CD tray cut in the right shape to hold the bondo on top that’s needed to turn a square hole into a round one.
Much nicer, eh? The white stitching alone was worth it. But the higher quality leather… mmm. Yeah. I like it. Very pleased.
Redline Loose-Fit Brake Boot
I’ve always liked my vintage-y brake boot. I’ve always thought the fit was just perfect. But the leather is very thick and it has this shiny look to it. That was always the case, since day 1. I always wished for higher quality.
So, the Redline stuff came in the mail, and I wasn’t too sure about the brake boot. It’s just… not that substantial when you hold it. And it didn’t feel very… loose? I was unsure about it. I removed my old brake boot and compared the two. I was still unsure about the Redline one, even as I was installing it.
And then I got it installed.
The Redline Goods boot just blows my old one out of the water. Just look at it. The higher quality of leather puts it in a whole different league. It goes to show how quality materials make all the difference. And the loose-fit is excellent. It bunches and gathers in all the right spots, but doesn’t hinder handbrake movement. It’s really a nice piece.
Build Quality: This stuff is made very well. The leather used feels top drawer and the stitching is excellent. The shift boot lacks the little plastic ring around the top that the OEM boot uses. This keeps the top of the leather tight against the shift knob. My old leather one had that ring, so I installed it on the Redline shift boot. Other than that, no complaints. B+
Installation: Super simple. Remove the old stuff, install the new stuff. No tricks. Vent Rings might be the one Miata part that’s easier to install. Maybe. A+
Usability: Pretty high. The thin leather really helps these boots. A thick shift boot make shifter action more difficult. A thick brake boot can make it difficult to completely lower the hand brake. Redline uses a very thin and supple leather. I expect these boots to be around for at least 10 years, like the ones they replaced, if not more. But I can’t really grade them until I know for sure. So… Ungraded.
Style: Just look at the pix. A++
Overall: I’m very happy with these leather goods and would recommend them to anyone. I give both an A.
annd…. since I know you want a little more TMNT action…