The Alpinestars SMX 5 boots will run you about $229, a fair price for the protection and comfort they provide.
The Alpinestars SMX boots remind me very much of a Dutch girl I used to know. She had the extreme misfortune to be one of three children in a family of very high achievers. Her brother was training to be a doctor and could have been a professional soccer player while her sister was a gifted artist and ballet dancer. Dad was a high flyer in business and Mum a world respected art restorer.
Then there was Nancy who was averagely intelligent, pleasantly pretty and had an utterly lovely personality. In fact, you couldn’t have asked for a better person to fall in love with – which I did until her Dad intervened in a serious, and relationship terminating, way.
The problem with the SMX boots is that they are the “Nancy” of Alpinestars’ footwear range. The flagship boots in the range are the Casey Stoner blessed “Supertech R” and then there are the SMX Plus and finally, tucked away in the corner and almost out of sight, are the SMX 5s.
This is a shame because, like Nancy, they have much to offer. I love the boots and they are both safe and comfortable for racing and road riding. I had a big accident while wearing the SMXs and other than being worn away – not a surprise sliding down the track at speed – they were completely unscathed and I was unhurt.
The plastic protection on the ankle is very much a “use once and dispose” fitting but it does work – once at least.
The reason for the good performance is clear. The heel area of the boot is extremely stiff and, as one would expect with an Alpinestars’ product, is very well designed. Therefore the protection is excellent while still providing excellent movement heel to toe.
Look close and see the SMX 5s and magnesium toe sliders with Melling aboard the Matchless G.50 – a modern juxtaposition on the classic racing canvas. Our man Melling loves classic race bikes, but demands the safety proffered by cutting edge riding gear.
I also like the fact that they are easy to put on, having a very wide throat. Combined with the ease of access is a thoroughly excellent, serrated fastening system which allows the boot to be tightened really firmly around race leathers. Having the boot tight has a dual benefit. First, it makes for more comfort on a race bike where the throat of the boot is often facing forward and into the wind. Second, it is much safer because the boot remains firmly located around the rider’s foot.
The boots are also very comfortable. They are well vented and the microfiber inner really does work in terms of avoiding uncomfortably sweaty feet.
So, as with Nancy who was not at the top of her family, I have fallen in love with the SMX boots and at $229 they the biggest bargain in the motorcycle clothing world.
As an addendum to this review, I want to mention the Alpinestars magnesium toe sliders. The SMX boots, along with all other Alpinestars boots, come with plastic toe sliders. These are purely and utterly decorative and you would need a very accurate stopwatch to measure their life expectancy if they ever touch tarmac – they are that bad!
The answer is to fit Alpinestars magnesium toe sliders which really are the business. I get quite cross when I read comments that the toe sliders can’t be easily fitted to the boots or come off in use. Both these statements are utter, and complete rubbish.
A new pair of sliders can be fitted in under a minute and I know from experience, when I cunningly forget to bring a spare set of sliders to a two-day race, that they can be worn down to a sliver without a problem.
Even in full on racing they never come loose nor, with any normal use, can the retaining loop be damaged. This is fact.
The feel they give is excellent too. As the slider touches down, there is a good, gentle feedback that your foot is on the floor but no grabbing. Very useful, very practical and essential for racing and trackdays or for looking cool if you ride on the road. The cost is under $20 and worth every cent.