JC made it clear to everyone that his black 10s were the baddest-looking boots of the office riding group. The rest of MotoUSA's staff wanted to argue but it was futile against Hilde's conviction. Eventually they all admitted he was right.
Take a look at the starting line of any pro Motocross or Supercross event, or even a simple stroll through the local MX pits and it's readily apparent how popular the Alpinestars Tech 10 boots have become. Plenty of longtime Tech 8 wearers have made the switch and we found out why. Alpinestars ponied up a pair of black Tech 10s several months ago for us to test. In the time since, we've discovered why A-Stars is an industry magnate.
There's something about taking possession of brand-new, high-end boots that makes you feel like a P.I.M.P. I latched into the new kicks to strut my stuff around the garage and by the time I had finished my karaoke rendition of Jay-Z's "Big Pimpin'" they were already broken in. Within 10 minutes on the trail I was completely comfortable with the feel on both the brake and shift levers. The boot is extremely protective of horizontal movement and resists tweaking. I never felt the need to install the optional soft-compound torsion bars because the boot offers plenty of movement.
I'd heard nothing but good things about the Tech 10s after they first came out with the exception of one complaint from my boss and owner of Motorcycle USA
, Don Becklin. Apparently Don's boney ankles didn't mesh well with the adjustable torsion bars attached to the removable inner bootie. The upper screw that attaches the brace reportedly wore a hole in his fragile skin, but I experienced nothing of the sort. In fact, sliding into the double-hinged booties was like fitting into a pair of moto slippers. Already accustomed to the comfy fit of Alpinestars Vectors, I was surprised at how much more comfortable the 10s are.
As with anything black, the boots showed filth and scratches right away, even after only one ride but, hey, these boots were made to handle abuse, so it comes with the territory. The inside panel of the right boot started chunking early in
Even within the ankle-pinching ergonomics of pit bikes the A-Stars were flexible enough to be useful. Many of the boots we've tested on minis are just too stiff, but not the Tech 10s.
our testing which later gave us the hassle of hanging up on brake reservoirs. It didn't however affect the stitching. Other than that the boot was impenetrable and has shown great resistance to heavy wear. Besides, once things get haggard in the looks department, riders can get a set of decals to spice up their 10s for 60 bucks. That's a killer deal for those obsessive-compulsive guys who need fresh kicks every couple races and are faced with buying a whole new set.
One area of any boot that's guaranteed to get chewed up is the sole, which is somewhere in between the smooth Vector sole and tiered style found on Tech 8 models. The lack of a metal toe makes for a cleaner look in my opinion and gives riders better feel for the foot controls. I never had an instance where smashing my toes required the extra metal protection. The replaceable, dual-compound sole feels terrific on the pegs with plenty of traction, but not so much that your foot sticks when you don't want it to. However, it took some getting used to on the kickstarter which offers far less grip than footpegs. I found myself grateful for remembering to wear knee and shin guards.
The sole is part of the overall low-profile design intended to keep the weight and bulk of the boot to a minimum. Viewed from the rear, the Tech 10 has a very distinct profile from other boots on the market. A polyurethane spline protects the heel and Achilles tendon from impacts and hyperextension. Likewise, PU shin guards offer a shield up front and are topped with a form-fitting PU water seal which does a decent job of keeping your feet dry. From the outside that is.
After months of off-road testing our Tech 10s could use a decent cleaning but the support and protection is still there.
Airflow isn't as good as I had hoped for on such a high-end boot, and left my feet sweaty and pruned after riding for any length of time or in the heat. For those of you with perspiration issues, the white Tech 10s actually have increased ventilation with perforated air intakes on top of the foot and just above the ankle. The airy system would have been a welcome addition to our nasty black pair even though it would have made the boots less water-resistant. All color schemes come with a three-buckle closure system. Aluminum buckles feature a quick release and locking mechanism and utilize a self-aligning design to help make getting into and out of the boots as painless as possible.
The buckling system worked very well at first, but after a few rides the top buckle started to resist closing and often popped open while riding. It got to the point where I dreaded putting on my boots because I knew my palms would be bruised from pounding that damn aluminum clasp into the locked position. I brought up the issue with an Alpinestars rep and he finished my sentence before I had the chance. He assured me that A-Stars would repair them at no charge if I returned the boots for maintenance and that the problem has been remedied for the next generation of Tech 10s.
Chad Reed encases his championship-worthy tootsies with the extra-vented white Tech 10s. Those additional air vents must be a bonus during a hot, 30+2 moto.
With the exception of an unruly top buckle and mediocre ventilation, we absolutely loved the Tech 10s. The biggest hurdle for consumers will be the pricetag. Other recognized high-end players like Fox, Oxtar, Berek and Gaerne each sell their highest-priced stuff for about a hundred bucks less while the new Sidi Crossfires are the only other boot to breach this $400 threshold. Since taking delivery and falling in love during our first ride together, I've been preaching the Alpinestars gospel. Practically every off-road rider has heard of the A-Stars products because of a hard-earned reputation for quality, style and comfort, and the 10s are the best thing that they offer. Go buy a pair. They're expensive but worth every cent.
Alpinestars Tech 10 Boots
White, Silver, Red, Black
Buy It Now: Alpinestars Tech 10
Find Out More: www.alpinestars.com
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