Top-end boots provide surprising comfort on the trails
When it comes to off-road riding gear, nobody does boots better than Alpinestars. Since I was in dire need of a new pair of kicks for some upcoming tests, Alpinestars was kind enough to offer up a pair of bright white Tech 10 boots.
As soon as you take the Tech 10s out of the box, the first thing you notice is how much plastic was used in the construction. These boots look and feel incredibly sturdy, but despite being reassured by somebody who already owned a pair, I was a little worried about comfort.
Fortunately, it didn’t take long to realize comfort wouldn’t be an issue. After strapping in and buckling up in all the necessary places, a quick walk around the garage revealed the Tech 10s to be surprisingly plush on the inside.
A brief look at the spec sheet – yes, even boots have specs these days – shows that the interior comfort is provided by a perforated bootie with poly fabric lining and shock absorbing padding on the heel and ankles. As an added bonus to those of you who tend to sweat a lot, the booties are washable and replaceable should they start to get a little rank.
To help combat the smelly feet conundrum, all white Tech 10s feature an airflow ventilation system, which came in handy after riding hard for two days in the dunes. Alpinestars Tech 10 boots are also available in red, black and silver, but those models don’t feature the ventilation system. I’ve heard complaints from Tech 10 owners who didn’t have the white model about how hot and steamy their boots can get, but my feet were fine.
One thing to consider when choosing which Tech 10s to buy is that the white model might not be as water resistant due to the ventilation system. This is something to keep in mind if you like to ride in damp conditions. Though I didn’t submerge my boots in water or anything, I did ride through some shallow rivers and my feet stayed dry.
I found that the buckling system on the Tech 10s provided a lot of support. The three-buckle system locks you in good and tight and features a memory system. There were some issues with the buckles on the first generation of the Tech 10s not staying closed, but Alpinestars has addressed it and I never came across that problem.
One problem I did have with the buckles started to creep up after the second ride. Perhaps a little sand got in the way, but closing the buckles required a lot more elbow grease than it did when I first put them on.
As for performance on the trails, the Tech 10s didn’t disappoint. Even with the tough, stiff shell, mobility wasn’t a problem. A double hinge joint allows for plenty of flexibility for shifting gears. It is a little more cumbersome at first to shift gears than with mostly-leather boots, but after playing around for 20 minutes or so I didn’t even notice a difference.
One of the key attributes of the Tech 10s is protection, but since I’ve been able to stay more or less out of trouble while wearing them, I can’t say for certain how well they will protect your feet and ankles. That being said, Alpinestars incorporated plenty of safety elements in the Tech 10s that should inspire some confidence in the wearer.
A polyurethane spine controls the flex of the boot, while protecting the heel and guarding against hyperextension. An anti-torsion polyurethane panel on the ankle offers more support and adds flexibility. Polyurethane guards the toes, foot, heel, ankle, calf and shin. Extra hard compounds protect the toe-box, heel and Achilles tendon.
Another element Alpinestars included in the Tech 10s are torsion bars, which help control ankle and leg rotation without feeling like they are getting in the way and hindering mobility. Even after two straight days of riding, my knees and ankles felt fine and the boots seemed to help reduce ankle and knee stress while I was on my quad.
Outside of some minor scratches and marks on the left toe, the boots still look pretty much like brand new and I expect to get many more hours of riding out of them. This is probably a good thing, as a pair of new Tech 10s retail for $459.95. That’s a pretty big hit on the wallet, but these are the best off-road boots Alpinestars makes and they certainly offer the most safety features.
If you’ve got the extra cash, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend these boots.