Monday, January 25, 2010

Alpinestars Effex Gore-Tex Boots

Feet are underappreciated. Walking is second nature, and the only time most people are aware of the abuse their feet take is when fatigue starts setting in after a day of standing on them. But motorcyclists are more in tune with the demands feet are put through daily. Think how many times you kick up that foot control with every pull of the clutch during the average ride, not to mention how many times you’re pumping the foot-actuated rear brake. We use ‘em to steady us while we’re backing in our supermotos or balancing our big cruisers at stoplights. Motorcycle riders place more of a premium on quality foot protection than most. So when I heard that I was receiving a pair of Alpinestars Effex Gore-Tex Boots to wear this riding season, I was eager to test the merits of the Italian manufacturer’s kicks. I had high expectations for my A-Stars, seeing how the company made a name for itself initially by making hiking and ski boots.

The Effex Gore-Tex Boots are Alpinestars’ mid-range touring offering. The boots come up mid-calf and are comprised of various leather sections that are stitched together solidly. The sole is thin with just enough of a heel to hook onto a foot peg. The design is attractive without being over the top, with a small Alpinestars logo embossed on the sole and another larger raised A-stars emblem at the top of the boot that faces outside. They are all-black, but do come with a
2009 Kawasaki Vulcan Classic
The leather boots are all black, but if you look close you can see the small reflective strip on the heel of the Effex Boots.
small reflective strip on the heel that sits where it will be visible when your riding pants creep up.

The boots cinch up via a zipper that runs up the inside of the boot. Covering the zipper is a leather flap with a Velcro fastener to keep the zipper from sliding down. The arrangement works because I’ve never experienced any problems with the zipper. The boots are narrow and fit snug around the ankles and the sides of my feet. There’s a little more breathing room above the ankle thanks to a separate Velcro closure at the top of the boot that allows you to dial in the fit.
The A-stars Effex Gore-Tex Boots do not have armor, so they don't offer the protection of a fortified ‘race’ boot. They are reinforced in the toe and ankle and there is a shin plate that, along with the boot’s durable leather and heavy-duty stitching, provides riders with a sense of their feet being secure in case the dreaded get-off occurs.

At the advice of Alpinestars Outside Communications rep, Tim Collins, I went with a smaller pair than what I normally wear. The boots run a little big, so I went with a full size smaller. It fits just right in length, but is a tad narrow where my foot is widest. The top of the boot presses against the bridge of my foot and gets a little uncomfortable after a full day’s riding. The pressure is never noticeable until after a few hours in the saddle, though. Going a half-size bigger would probably remedy that without sacrificing the contoured fit that riders covet.

The Effex Gore-Tex Boots are versatile enough to wear on and off the bike. Give credit to a little extra padding stitched in around the ankles and a soft interior liner. The liner is comfortable and moisture wicking, which is a good thing
Big Bear Choppers GTX-F
Whether I'm haulin' on the 2009 Kawasaki Vulcan Classic or cruising along on Big Bear Choppers GTX-F (above), Alpinestars Effex Gore-Tex Boots were up to the task.
because the boots don’t breathe well. But I’ve worn them on hot days and roasted toes haven’t been an issue. Neither has the rain I’ve ridden through, which means the boot’s Gore-Tex treatment is doing its job.

After months of riding, there are little signs of wear. Though there’s no reinforcement in the area where I click the shifter, the only real sign of wear is on the leather tab of the Velcro closure above the zipper which doesn’t sit flush and has risen up in a few spots. But it still seals up tight.

So have Alpinestars Effex Gore-Tex Boots lived up to the high expectations that I had for them? Absolutely. They look sharp, are built to last, and offer ample protection. They break in quick and don’t weigh a ton. I’m impressed with what great shape they’re still in despite riding hard in them the last couple of months. I’m also a fan of their resistance to rain. Like most Alpinestars gear, they are cut to fit tight, and my only grievance was the pressure they apply to the bridge of my foot. Its MSRP of $219.95 places them smack in the middle price range for a good touring boot. Luckily, I know the Motorcycle Superstore has them on sale for $174.99, and at that price, I’d say ‘Deal.’

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