Being long of limb, my hands and feet get cold easily. And when my mitts and dogs get cold and wet, I get pretty grumpy. Which is why I really dig these Alpinestars Ridge motorcycle boots. They were my footwear of choice for the sport standard evaluation rides I did for this issue.
Designed for touring, the Ridge has a sleek but stubby profile. The top of the boot extends about 4 inches above the ankle. Inside, there is a removable anatomic footbed and multidensity EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) padding, which is the stuff used to absorb shock in sport shoes. The boot’s midsole follows the contours of the foot and features a structured shank reinforcement. My footsies feel quite cozy in there.
Injection-molded polyurethane supports and protects the heel, while plastic disks protect the ankle. The Ridge is CE certified, which means it will offer good protection when you need it. The spec list says that an “internal toe counter is layered under the leather.” Presumably that is a good thing, but I don’t know what the heck it is. I know that I have five toes on each foot.
With a narrow shape at the front, it is easy to operate the shift lever and brake pedal while wearing these boots. The high-quality, coated leather upper was soft right out of the box—no break-in required. The large outer flap and straps use hook-and-loop for an adjustable, secure fit. Achilles flex zones make the boots very comfortable on and off the bike.
The vulcanized (heat- and chemical-cured rubber) compound sole is durable but flexible. Grippy to avoid slippage on the footpegs, the thin soles also provide good feel. To say it is like wearing dancing slippers would be silly because I don’t wear dancing slippers. At least not on a motorcycle. The Dr. Spock rubber also wraps around the heel for added durability, and there is a textured rubber bumper on each toe. Feet are kept well-positioned on the pegs, thanks to a small arch in the outer sole. On the back, a small reflective insert aids nighttime visibility.
An inner bootie “keeps your feet dry through the heaviest of downpours,” so goes Alpinestars’ claim. It doesn’t rain much in Southern California, but I ride in many places where it does. In lieu of a frog-choking rain, I filled my bathtub with cold water above my ankles. I stood in the tub with the Ridge boots on my bare feet, waiting for that first icy trickle to seep in. As the minutes passed slowly, I watched a spider that had spun a web up near the ceiling. I think Charlotte was taking a nap. And then I berated myself for letting the soap scum and mildew on the tile get so out of hand. Gross. Finally, bored to tears, I stepped out of the tub with perfectly dry feet. OK, I’m convinced.
The Ridge only comes in black, which suits me just fine. Available in sizes 6-14 for $109.95, they’re a real bargain for real good boots.
For more information: See your dealer or contact Alpinestars, (310) 891-0222 or www.alpinestars.com