In the world of riding gear, there are bad products, good products and the Holy Grail. Consider Alpinestars’ Tech 8 motocross boots in the latter category. They’re so good, in fact, that most top pro racers wear them – whether they’re sponsored by AXO, Fox, Thor or another gear company that sell boots.
The most advanced boots in Alpinestars’ extensive lineup, the Tech 8s are a technical tour de force. Made from a combination of leather and injection-molded plastic, the boots’ exterior looks much like that of any other on the market. Sure, there are stamped-steel shanks and toe guards, fully replaceable soles with separate foot peg inserts and aluminum buckles, but the Tech 8s’ defining feature are their supremely supportive and highly adjustable interior “booties” yes, boots within the boots.
Mainly constructed of breathable, perforated leather, the booties have beefy ankle support sections on either side bolstered by built-in padding. Gel inserts that reside in ankle-high pockets on the booties’ exterior give even more support. Final fit customization is achieved with the booties’ removable, shock-absorbing foot beds that feature molded-in indents which can be filled with (supplied) cushions to raise one’s foot in the boot; or be removed, allowing the foot ride lower for a bit more room. Ingenious! The booties can be cleaned with water and a mild soap such as Woolite. They dry best in a cool place. Leaving them in the boots for first few months will allow them to gain a custom-fitted shape.
Feet ensconced in the Tech 8s, whether using a long motocross-type sock or sporty ankle-length item, the feeling is magical. Either way, the supple bootie invites riders to wear a thin sock, which aids control feel. The buckle system offers huge support from toe to shin while riding, yet allows comfortable walking. An extended gator does a good job of keeping water out of the boots. The exterior leather patches gives a rider a good grip on the bike, nothing snags, and most every feature of the boots works as advertised. And they’re proving to be durable, showing no undue wear after
Feet ensconced in the Tech 8s, whether using a long motocross-type sock or sporty ankle-length item, the feeling is magical.
months of hard use.
But they’re not perfect. The buckles are tough to open, harder to adjust and don’t always keep their pre-positioned settings, calling for continuous readjustment. The upper and lower of the four buckles face forward system for “better impact avoidance,” says Alpinestars. We’re not sure what that means, but the forward-facing buckles can snag on branches, etc., popping the buckle open. Also, while giving great footpeg feel and super shock absorption, the boots’ soles wear out quickly.
So, how did the Tech 8s fare? After breaking an ankle 15 years ago, undergoing two surgical procedures, dealing with a distinct lack of flexibility and nursing an extremely susceptible joint, I’m not comfortable wearing any other off-road boot. Some people wear knee braces as a preventative measure; after stepping into my first pair of Tech 8s three years ago, I don’t trust my decrepit ankle to any other boot.
I’ll be wearing the Tech 8s religiously. At least until another manufacturer tops their combination of high-tech features, all-day comfort and class-leading performance on the track and trail.
SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE: $329.95
AVAILABLE SIZES: 5-15 (U.S.)
AVAILABLE COLORS: black/black, white/white, black/blue, black/red
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