Solid footwear is mandatory for varying conditions like these. The AXO Freedom GT has reliable waterproofing, enough support for semi-aggressive riding and all-day comfort.
We had a nice, long spring here in Southern Oregon that has left our lakes and rivers at max capacity. Usually extra wet weather isn’t a welcome thing for motorcycling, but it worked perfectly to try out AXO’s Freedom GT Waterproof Boots. I tried them with electric motorcycles, street bikes and adventure touring bikes and found them to be great motorcycle boots.
Comfort is one of the GT’s top features. All-day riding is no problem with these boots and putting them on can feel like stepping into a snug slipper. The boots are heavily padded with a thick tongue. The reason for the overbuilt tongue is the BOA reel and lace technology closure system. This is a ratcheting spool located on the outside of each boot which allows the rider to cinch to a desired fit. A stainless steel lace winds over the tongue from the top of the rider’s foot and up onto the shin. Spinning the dial tightens the lace but it cannot be felt on the skin. Instead it compresses the entire boot onto the body for a secure fit. Releasing the tension is done by pulling the spool dial outward a fraction of an inch.
Overall this is a very handy system. It reminds me of something you find on a racing boot. Because of the boot’s height, it is possible to tighten the lace a lot at the top and not so much down around the ankle, but I found that even pressure is achievable with a little bending and flexing while cranking the dial.
Often times riding pants like to climb up when the knees are bent, and the Freedom boots are just tall enough to keep from exposing the leg when adorned in a classic set of high-waters. This helps ensure that water isn’t going to come in from the top, which is the only way we felt it penetrate. The exterior is a polyurethane-coated synthetic material that mimics leather and refuses to allow moisture. Suede panels on the inside edges and across the top of the toes help with feel and wear protection. These will get wet, but the water does not pass through to the rider’s feet. The shin plate wraps around and seals with a large overlap held in place by Velcro.
Stretch panels help keep the GT boots flexible, but the shin, heel and calf panels are pressure-molded plates for rigid protection. The injection-molded outer sole is comfortable to walk on and has just enough of a heel to rest against the footpeg while seated. For ADV riding, the AXO boots actually have decent support when standing on the pegs thanks to a plastic mid-sole. Obviously the waterproofing pays off for water crossings and mud puddles common to adventuring, but the smooth rubber sole is not the best for off-road applications. Rubber vibration inserts common on ADV pegs do not mix well with water. The GT boots are very slippery in this circumstance.
The AXO Freedom is a waterproof boot, but I consider them capable of being year-round wear. The thick padding and snug fit does retain some heat, but I won’t hesitate to grab them throughout the summer. Slightly deeper lugs on the soles would help these boots, even when simply putting a foot down on dirty pavement, plus it would really give them more credibility with the street-biased ADV crowd. Most importantly, the keystone feature, the BOA system, is easy, secure and gives the boots a high-end feel.