A new riding season brings all new boots! We hand picked our favorite motocross & offroad boots of 2016 and go inside each boot. From beginner to seasoned racer, we've got a boot that will kick up some dirt!
Whether they’re protecting your feet and legs from rocks on the trail, or supporting your ankles from harsh landings on the track, motocross boots are an absolute must-have. With the riding season rapidly approaching, you might be in need of some new boots, so let’s talk about what you need from a motocross or off road boot.
The primary reason we wear boots is for protection. Not only do our feet need protection from the objects in the ground, but boots need to prohibit our feet, ankles and legs from getting twisted or moved in any unnatural way. Any dirt bike boot should provide tremendously better support and resistance than a pair of hiking boots. The biggest mistake you can make is assuming you’ll be safe in inadequate gear.
Choosing a boot can be difficult at times, so it’s best to consider just what type of riding, and how much riding you will do. If you just got a bike for yourself and/or the kids and are looking to spend some quality time in the trails learning, you probably don’t need a high-end boot just yet. There are plenty of entry-level boots out there in both adult and youth that will provide excellent protection, help grip the bike and aide in supporting your lower legs.
Our favorite entry level boot at the sub-$100 mark is the O’Neal Element boot. A bonded sole, new intuitive buckle system and improved shin and ankle plates give you everything you need to start riding. Taking a step up is the Alpinestars Tech 1, which draws inspiration from many of the features and functionality found on its bigger brothers (the tech 7 and tech 10). Three easy-to-latch buckles, bio-medial blade system (controls ankle extension), textured side grip, and a reshaped gaiter make the Tech 1 an extreme value. More race-oriented than the Element, the Alpinestars entry level boot is more than capable for riding or racing but will cost about $100 more, at just $200.
If you’ve been riding moto or enduros for a few years, you’ll want to look for a boot with a bit more protection, comfort, adjustability and durability as your riding time and speed increase. Your mid-range boots will have more durable components and reinforcements, since you’re now riding a bit harder. Straps, buckles, soles, and toe boxes are usually the areas you’ll notice improvement over a price-point boot. From ease of use to overall lifespan, quality parts make a boot much more enjoyable to wear.
Our first mid-price boot is another Alpinestars boot, the Tech 7. When compared to the Tech 1 the Tech 7 offers a considerable increase in reinforcement features. The side incorporates a TPU blade system engineered to prevent frontal hyperextension and offers greater flex control. The plastic bottom portion of the boot (sole, toe box, heal) is a sturdy one-piece mold. Despite being much more protective and durable, the Tech 7 emphasizes performance as its key component. Alpinestars has clearly focused on making every bike contact point as intuitive, responsive and maneuverable as possible. This attention to detail makes shifts, breaking and overall control easy and controllable. All in all, the Tech 7 is a more durable and better performing boot for the experienced rider.
The Sidi X-3 makes its way on to our list as one of our favorite mid-price boots thanks to a healthy amount of high-end features built in. The biggest difference over the Alpinestars Tech 7 is the pivoting or hinged ankle support. This system on the X-3 allows incredible movement on the bike, and virtually eliminates break-in time. Instead of giving your pair of boots a few rides to achieve full range of motion, the Sidi X-3 are ready to race out of the box. Stealing a page from Sidi’s high-end Crossfire boot, the X-3 uses the same micro-adjustable buckle system and replaceable sole that riders have come to love. Top it off with solid protective pieces in the shin, toe, heal and sides, and you get a very safe boot as well.
Premium, high-end motocross boots are designed to perform at the highest levels, and much like every other aspect of racing, technology and development plays a major role. When you spend top dollar, you expect everything on that boot to perform and last from the buckles to the sole.
Gaerne is no stranger to the top of the podium, and with riders like James Stewart wearing the SG-12, you know these boots are proven winners. The Gaerne SG-12 is easily one of the most praised boots on the market and that’s why we couldn’t ignore them for our “favorites” list. This boot uses a pivot or hinged system like the X-3 we mentioned earlier, however instead of pivoting in one spot, the SG 12 glides in a manner more consistent with how your foot pivots. A dual compound sole stays intact for seasons of racing and is one of the most durable soles on the market. On the outside, heavy duty shin protection, and toe protection is built in, not being too bulky to shift or move the bike around. On the inside is Gaerne’s memory foam padding, upper vents and redesigned insole that gives the rider ultimate comfort and shock absorption. From comfort to protection, there’s a reason the SG-12’s are constantly in our gear bags.
Last but not least is an all new boot for 2016 from TCX, called the Comp Evo Michelin boot. What do tires and boots have in common? They both use rubber, and TCX has teamed up with the experts at Michelin to develop a rubber sole that not only lasts a long time, but delivers a great feel on the peg. Again, premium boot equals premium features and durability, essential for a season full of long motos or hare scrambles. Another notable design feature is the dual hinged ankle. Like the SG-12, the TCX uses a pivoting system, however the Comp Evo pivots in two places for even more dexterity. Adding a touch of luxury, the Comp Evo has a plush, breathable interior with upper vents that allow the rider’s feet to stay dryer and cooler than other boots. With a variety of eye-catching colorways, the TCX Comp Evo Michelin looks as good as it performs.
There you have it, our favorite motocross and off road boots of 2016! No matter your skill level or experience, having a quality pair of riding boots will help you ride safer, in more control and even faster!