Equipment review w/pics (2)
Editor’s note: This product review is from the April, 2012 edition of our new sister publication, Northern Rockies Rider. The author also wrote and published “Motorcycling Montana.”
By Cole Boehler
Editor, NR Rider
Item: Alpinestars Web Gore-Tex touring boot
Available in full and some half-sizes from 3.5 to 14, apparently no specific widths.
SRM price: $239.95
I bought my Alpine Stars Web Gore-Tex touring boots at a Cycle Gear store where, I believe, I paid a $189 sale price.
I typically wear a size-10.5 boot so bought the Euro size-45 which is supposedly equivalent. The boots are closer to a typical US size-11 which was fine with me since they accommodate extra-heavy wool socks, even with silk sock liners, and still fit okay, if slightly loosely with regular cotton socks.
These were comfortable, not stiff, right out of the box, requiring virtually no break-in. They are an all-day boot you could get away with in an informal office or restaurant setting: reasonably good looking and conservative with just a dash of “high-tech.”
I have more comfortable shoes but not more comfortable boots. They are not a factor when considering long walks. However, it still feels great to pull them off at the end of the day!
The mildly cleated soles offer good traction on any surface. An extra layer of material is added to the boot toe exteriors to prevent undue wear from the bike’s toe-shifter.
The boots require low effort to slip into. A quality interior skirt liner tucks in as the inside zipper is pulled up, then a two-piece hook-and-loop-secured leather flap folds over the entire zipper. The hook-and-loop material used is of high quality and has not lost any of its adhesive qualities.
The top three our four inches of the interior boot upper is luxuriously padded which allows for a snug closure with no chafing of the shins.
I have thick calves and when wearing thick socks, the zipper pull can require some force, but the zippers and their tangs have handled the stress well. I can get my leather pant legs – opened and closed with zippers – fully and comfortably over the boot uppers. Ditto my Draggin’ Jeans or Carhartts.
I was quite satisfied with the boot for the first three seasons, though I discovered they were not “waterproof” as promotional literature states, but rather were “water resistant.” Further reading indicates Alpinestars makes a reference to a “water-resistant upper” but I believe the leaks I experienced came from between the leather boot lowers and soles.
It did take a couple of hours riding in the rain before I felt the sole of my left foot getting cold and wet. When we reached our destination after four hours of rainy riding, moisture had begun to seep into the right boot as well. Riding through showers hasn’t been a problem. An all-day torrent?; not recommended. I still pack my lightweight rain booties.
About halfway through the third riding season with maybe 30,000 riding miles on these boots, I noticed the tread blocks on the soles were wearing strangely, then finally wore through in their fourth year, revealing the tread blocks themselves had ribbed and hollow interiors. Surely that saves weight and materials but means a disappointingly short sole life.
When I saw the holes in the sole, I contacted Alpinestars, sent them pictures, and told them I thought the sole was defective, that surely in the molding process these had failed to cast and fill properly.
The company response was there was no defect, the holes in the sole treads were considered “normal wear and tear,” but that the company would replace the soles for me at no charge. I sent them in (at my own expense) and they were returned to me within four weeks with brand new soles.
In comparison, the soles on my second-hand, 10-year-old, rode-hard-put-away-wet Belstaff boots, which the Alpinestars replaced, exhibit hardly any wear. The Belstaffs served as backup boots when the Alpinestars were back at the factory.
I have crashed twice in these boots: once at a track day at perhaps 25 mile per hour; and once running a gravel back road, probably at 15 or 20 miles per hour. The track crash left only a scuff on the right outside toe and another toward the heel. The gravel incident did virtually nothing more to the boot – I probably just re-scuffed the existing scuffs as both crashes were on the right side.
My wife has the same boot. She was along when I hooked a rut on the gravel and went down. Both of our right feet were pinned under the rear of the bike when things ground to a stop. My foot was between hers and the ground, hers was between mine and the bike’s passenger peg.
An after-crash diagnosis revealed my wife sustained a high-ankle fracture. These boots do have light plastic armoring in the ankles.
These are touring boots, not racing or competition boots. Did the boots not provide enough protection in our relatively light crash? I believe the injury would have been significantly worse without the boot armor. I think the boots did what could be reasonably expected, no complaints.
Soles and waterproofing aside, the rest of these boots have held up very well. The liners, zippers, hook-and-loop closures and exterior finish all have proven to be very durable.
At a relatively low price, these boots represent perhaps a fair value.
Satisfaction – 2.5 stars
What the company says:
“Alpinestars™ Web Gore-Tex is a high quality waterproof and breathable boot that can be worn every day of the year.”
*Full-length zipper closure system for easy entry and exit.
*Plastic molded shin plate covered by a pressure stamped section of leather.
*Internal support is provided by injection-molded plastic on the ankles.
*Internal heel counter.
*Internal toe counter is layered under the leather.
*Alpinestars’ exclusive vulcanized compound sole with unique side wrapping design.
*Water-resistant full-grain oil leather upper.
*Injected PU shifter area.
*Waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex® lining.
*Soft micro fiber instep flex zone.
*Removable anatomic perforated foot bed Velcro® calf adjustment.
*Multi-density EVA padding.
*Rear reflective insert for increased visibility.