?Tale of Two Boots?
A reflection of technology in motorcycle footwear
By Arv Voss
If it?s not possible for someone to have too many motorcycles, then it?s certainly possible to possess a variety of riding footwear. And, while motorcycles tend to appreciate in both monetary and in sentimental value with age, riding boots don?t tend to share the same advantage. In fact, even though as they become broken in, they don?t really improve with age. Perhaps more comfortable in some cases, but is so doing, they tend to be less supportive and not as safe.
Recently, an ex-Harley-Davidson dealer, vintage bike collector and friend, Thom MacIlhattan and I were shooting the breeze about the world?s problems and their potential solutions from each of our perspectives, following a ride together, when he noticed my riding boots – a pair of Alpinestars SMX Plus Performance Racing Boots and mentioned that he had an old pair of Alpinestars that he used to race in years ago (he couldn?t remember how many exactly – years, not boots), and that one of the boots was missing a replaceable toe slider. He wondered aloud if there might be any replacements available after all these years.
I volunteered to check with a Public Relations contact that I had been in touch with at Alpinestars regarding the availability of such an item. When I finally got around to checking, it turned out that my Alpinestar contact had moved on, but the new PR representative volunteered to check on the toe sliders, but indicated that he would need the boot model information. Thom didn?t know the model name or number of his ancient, worn boots, so I took photos of them and forwarded them, along with a shot of the remaining slider.
Unfortunately, Alpinestars? boot technology has evolved to the degree that replacement sliders wouldn?t work because of a reversal in the Velcro attachment system. Not only that, but it was becoming readily apparent that Thom?s boots, which also had other failing issues such as separating soles and worn uppers, really belonged in a museum, rather than trying to bring them back to life for future use.
My new Alpinestars contact suggested that Thom ?cut the sentimentality cord?, move on, and select a modern new pair of racing boots that now happened to be?more protective, much safer and technologically advanced to a heightened state-of-the-art status. Besides that, they were now definitely better looking, and came in a much more advanced design with a host of new features.
Alpinestar SMX boots come in different levels to match riding skills and requirements. Recommended were the latest SMX Plus performance-riding boots for the optimum in riding/racing comfort, safety and style. The SMX Plus boots come in four color variations: White with Red graphics; White with Black graphics; Red with White graphics and finally Black with White graphics, which Thom ultimately chose. Toe and heel sliders are all executed in Black. Available sizes range from 36-48 (EUR). Thom?s boots turned out to be EUR 40, which converted to US size 9.
The Alpinestar SMX Plus Performance Riding boot has a suggested retail price of $349.95 and while that may seem a bit pricey, they are well worth the money. I also have an earlier pair of SMX boots, but not the Plus version. The SMX Plus boots feature an innovative Multi Link Control system and high modulus TPU protection integrated into their sleek profile. There?s an inner Kevlar? speed lacing closure and micro-adjustable ratchet fastener that combine to ensure a comfortable, fit that conforms to the foot on both the road and on the track, resulting in superior safety and freedom of movement.
Alpinestar SMX Plus boots are built for speed with a lightweight and extremely durable high-tech micro fiber upper construction. The forefoot is laminated with shock absorbing open cell foam, while the ankle area provides a highly breathable lining for added comfort. Flexibility is maximized by large front and rear asymmetrical accordion zones, and the durable sole is designed for an improved riding feel, featuring evenly textured rubber for a consistent grip. The boots are CE certified.
The Multi-link Control System aids in limiting hyper-torsion, hyper-extension and hyper-flexion through advanced ankle support, while providing additional ankle and Achilles protection. A contoured shin plate protector is injected with high modulus TPU for superior impact and abrasion resistance, while a wide, ventilated heel counter extends to the ankle, combining with a shock absorbing padded insert and self-molding foam ankle protectors. The replaceable heel slider and external side heel slider are positioned to optimize shock dissipation and to promote sliding in the event of an accident.
The replaceable TPU toe slider is newly designed with snap-in assembly and provides more toe area coverage. The inner Kevlar? speed lacing closure coupled with the unique lateral zipper offer a precise and secure fitting, while the?calf-positioned, micro adjustable ratchet buckle closure allows for fine-tuning of the boot?s fit for maximum security and comfort. The footbed is an anatomical, countered and replaceable affair that provides arch support and greater forefoot feel.
Alpinestar SMX Plus performance riding boots benefit from race inspired details and deliver premium protection and comfort while riding. What more could you ask for? Well, you could ask for boots that were equally comfortable to walk in, and these boots answer the call.
Initially, upon receiving his boots, my friend Thom was impressed by the design and style, but commented that ?With all these features, I feel like I need a degree to put them on!? After finally examining them closely and figuring out all the adjustments and donning them, he didn?t want to take them off and I figured that he might just sleep with them on.
The point of this product review is that it?s a genuine assessment of a superior product that illustrates the advancements that have been made in the interest of both safety and comfort. Thom?s original Alpinestars are probably some 40 years old, and though they served him well when he was actively racing, but they didn?t even come close to providing the protection, support and comfort that the new SMX Plus boots offer.
Alpinestars was founded nearly 50 years ago in 1963 and is a noted and respected manufacturer of stylish advanced safety apparel and equipment for all forms of racing competition from skateboarding to NASCAR with all classes of motorcycle racing included.