Adventure touring is king these days. Sales are up, model lines are expanding and, as Clem points out in this month’s Road Tales, dreams of around-the-world travel are widespread. Even though most adventure bikes never leave the pavement, many are kitted out with hand guards, skid plates, Baja-style lights and farkles galore! It’s all part of the look and lifestyle, just like chrome, chaps and half-helmets on cruisers. Adventure riders tend to be slaves to fashion in the name of anything-can-happen function, wearing pointy-faced, visor-equipped helmets, Dakar Rally-inspired suits and motocross-style boots.
True motocross boots serve a single, focused purpose: protection. Covered in rugged plastic with thick soles and metal toe caps, they’re designed to withstand the rigorous abuse of track and trail. Alpinestars makes some of the best motocross boots you can buy, but it also makes more versatile adventure touring boots. Scout Waterproof Boots are tall and made of full-grain leather, with a waterproof membrane bonded inside, a full gusset and a breathable foot bed and liner to keep feet dry. Internally molded shin, toe and heel guards, as well as a double-injected, thermoplastic polyurethane ankle barrier of varying thickness and hardness (to allow flexibility), are designed to protect all of those tiny foot and ankle bones and the muscles, ligaments and tendons that hold them all together. A removable, padded polyethylene insole provides shock absorption and additional comfort when walking around.
The leather on the inside of the boots is smooth so it won’t scratch or catch on bodywork. On the outside are three buckle closures with a ratcheting “micro-adjustable memory system” and an upper hook-and-loop flap. The stitched sole has a lugged pattern and uses a special rubber compound to enhance grip.
The Scouts certainly look the part. They’re big boots, measuring 15 inches in height, but at 2 pounds, 12 ounces each they are not overly heavy. At first they feel stiff and awkward to walk around in, and the large toe box and thick sole can limit feel on the pegs and when shifting or using the rear brake.
But they break in quickly, like a good pair of work boots or hiking boots. The thick leather and heavy-duty stitching is designed to stand up to abuse and I’m confident this pair will last me for years to come. Even though the waterproof membrane and inner liner are breathable, the height and thickness of the Scouts trap in quite a bit of body heat. No big deal in cooler months, but my feet got rather sweaty in July and August (Alpinestars’ $19.95 Touring Summer Socks do a good job of wicking away moisture).
Scout Waterproof Boots are available in black only in men’s whole sizes 5-13, and for $249.99 they’re a good value considering the quality and protection they provide.
For more information, see your dealer or visit alpinestars.com.
(This Gearlab article was published in the December 2012 issue of Rider magazine.)