Fox is one of the most recognized brands in both motor and action sports and it’s looking to expand its market share by releasing updated technical wear designed by racers for racers. Its latest creation, the Fox Racing Instinct Boots ($549.95) is its top-of-range motocross boot built for riders seeking the utmost in maneuverability, feel, and protection.
Engineers began the design process three years ago with chief test rider and motocross racing legend, Ricky Carmichael. The principle design goals were to create a boot that not only offers a high-level of protection, but will be comfortable and enhance the interaction between man and machine.
To do this the boot features a unique five-layer sole. The top insole is similar to that of a running shoe, which helps give it a comfortable initial feel. Below a steel shank (for support and impact protection) is sandwiched between the
(Top) The Fox Instinct boot offers the comfort of a street shoe with the support of a race boot with its five-layer sole. (Centers) When broken-in the Instinct boots are one of the most comfortable and flexible boots we’ve ever ridden without compromising stability. (Bottom) Ricky Carmichael was instrumental in developing the new Instinct boot.
polyurethane midsole designed to help absorb energy when landing from obstacles. Imbedded beneath is a thermoplastic polyurethane cup that allows for added heel and arch support. Lastly the outer sole is fabricated from a proprietary blend of rubber, which offers just the right amount of grip and wear resistance. Furthermore, a portion of the sole is replaceable for a fee of around $50 if it should ever wear out.
Contrary to other brands, the Instinct boot doesn’t make use of an inner booty or built-up pieces of leather for support. Instead it uses a hinge at the ankle which it claims provides optimum lateral support. Another benefit is the consistent feel and structural integrity of the boot over the course of its lifetime (leather has a tendency to degrade over time).
The closure system is comprised of four-buckles that feature a simple, but effective, ball-and-socket latch design. This allows for easy locking with minimal pressure, even with some debris. The boots also do away with traditional Velcro tabs. Together this allows just the right amount of flex when riding.
Step into the boots and the first thing we noticed is how much more snug they feel compared to other brands. Both the toe box and footbed is narrower and shorter front-to-back. I typically wear a size 43 Euro (9.5 US) boot and I opted to stay with this size even though it felt tight. Each of the four buckles function as claimed and is easy to lock and unlock.
Fox claimed immediate break-in as a paramount feature but it actually took more than one day of riding for the boots to come in. In fact, after the first day, I wasn’t that impressed with the fit as a small blister developed on my right toe. I was however surprised by the high-level of feel and movement, not to mention the copious grip offered from the sole and the inside of the boots. This makes it easier to grip the bike both on the ground and in the air. By the second day the Instincts were much more comfortable to ride and walk in with zero pressure points.
One could assume that footwear with this much freedom of movement might give up that secure, rigid-feeling when landing off jumps and other obstacles but this couldn’t be further from the truth as they delivered a planted, secure feeling on par with anything else we’ve tried recently.
Since the boots offer so much sensation they actually feel lighter than they are. On the scales each weighed in at 4.19 pounds (size 10 US / 44 Euro) which is lighter than other popular brands. It’s still too early to comment on the durability of the boots, but after putting in a solid three days of riding in them they’re holding up as advertised.
Through clever engineering Fox’s latest riding footwear is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Having never experienced a boot with this much feel, I assumed that the vague boot feeling was normal. Guess no one told Fox that as the new Instinct boots prove you can have comfort and feel without compromising the safety of a stiff boot.
- Excellent feel and maneuverability
- Comfortable when broken-in
- Fantastic grip against footpegs and frame
- Snug fit
- Could be less expensive
- Unknown durability