The ultimate in Adventure Motorcycling protection? We tested the new Alpinestars Tech 7 Enduro boots on street and trail.
What It's Supposed to Do? The Alpinestars Tech 7 Enduro Boot ($US369.95) is a feature-rich riding boot designed with dual-sport, enduro and ADV riders in mind. They are incredibly supportive, yet comfortable and flexible. They have a high degree of abrasion resistance and water resistance, yet still offer lightweight performance. The sole and footpeg inserts are replaceable. The ankle utilises a hinge system that offers flexibility and support, while limiting hyper extension and flexion and preventing either twisting or torsion on the ankle. The quick-release buckles are secure, easy to use, and are also replaceable.
How It's Supposed To Do It? The boots uppers are constructed from a flexible and abrasion resistant microfiber and reinforced with polyurethane for water resistance, durability, and weight savings. Alpinestars developed an anatomically-profiled shin plate constructed from one single part for greater structural integrity and stability. The shin plate features a dual closure system with an internal microfiber flap attached with Velcro for a precise fit closure while the rugged and durable shin plate is attached securely with a precision adjustable buckle. The quick-release buckle system is self-aligning, allowing for easy closure.
The Tech 7s offer a plethora of panels designed to provide maximum impact resistance. The inside side panel features a pattern that provides excellent grip against the bike. A contoured calf-protector incorporates Alpinestars' "blade flex" system for greater control and movement, plus protection for heel and the Achilles tendon and helps prevent hyperflexion. The ankle protection system provides a biomechanical link between the middle and bottom sections of the boot, helping prevent damage to the leg by providing progressive force relief for torsional forces. The footshell has a one-piece injected dual compound toe protector and integrated steel shank. The heel is reinforced as well.
The primary difference between the Tech 7 Enduro and regular Tech 7 boot is in a more supportive sole, which makes standing on foot pegs for long periods -- as you would during a long dual-sport or ADV ride -- considerably more comfortable.
How Does It Perform? I've been testing the Tech 7 Enduro Boots while commuting throughout the concrete jungle of Los Angeles. While I haven't had the opportunity to test them in any weather conditions except for "hot and dry," I've still been able to get a good feel for them.
First, the boots are easy to get your feet in and out of. The upper acts as a perfect funnel and the inner material is smooth, allowing the socks to glide right down before settling in.
Once inside, the self-aligning buckles make the boots really easy to close. From a fit perspective, it seems like they run slightly large. I wear a size US 8.5 shoe, and the size 8 fits perfectly with riding socks.
Once they're strapped on, the first thing that I noticed was how flexible they were. Compared to other dedicated dirt boots I've worn in the past, these were much more compact, much more streamlined, and as a result, much less cumbersome. Walking around in them still feels like I'm some sort of mechanised super-soldier, but my gait is not greatly affected. With some limitations in feel and comfort over race boots, I was even able to pull these off on my Street Triple.
That compactness and flexibility definitely comes into play when riding, making them much more responsive when shifting and braking. It also allows me to hug my feet closer to the frame on the footpegs, allowing for greater stability and control.
Due to the fact that I live in Los Angeles and all of California is experiencing a historical drought -- I've been unable to test the boots' water-resistance. Everywhere is hot and dry right now. They wear no waterproof membrane, but should still resist a quick rain shower or river crossing just fine.
One thing that has bugged me about the boots is the loud and obnoxious squeaking that occurs while walking. I can tell that it's caused from the plastic underneath the front flap and over the internal gaiter. It's loud enough that people hear you coming and turn to look when walking. It's possible that as I break them in, the squeaking will subside.
Adventure Ready? The Alpinestars Tech 7 Enduro Boots are loaded with features that offer advanced impact protection and ultimate fit and flexibility, with a streamlined and easy-to-operate design. They are comfortable, look good, and as one can expect from Alpinestars, solidly constructed. They're a great combination of protection and comfort that will work well on bikes ranging from supermotos to dedicated dirt bikes to large ADV machines.
Alpinestars Tech 7 Enduro Boots - $US369.95
Pictures: Alan Shen