Alpinestars GPS Boots

Everyone, of course, is intimately familiar with the recipe for Speed.

Take one summer sun, one mountainous landscape, blend until completely mixed. Gently swirl asphalt ribbons, make sure that the ribbons twist thoroughly but that they don't separate. At this point, look at the mixture and smooth over any pockets of law enforcement, removing completely if necessary. Finally, add sportbike (should be high quality, capable of triple-digit performance) and one rider (ditto) and apply heat. Cook for an afternoon.

Everyone, of course, is intimately familiar with the recipe for Speed.

There's no question that one should always sport just the appropriate wear when indulging in a helping of speed...

All the same, it is ill-advised, yet all too common these days, to take it for granted. Simply throwing the ingredients together and serving without any thought as to attire is, well, a bit like giving a garden party without any consideration to the opening champagne, or worse, serving none at all!

(Apologies for the shocking excessiveness of this gross example, but the illustration serves a point.)

Versatile and appropriate for most occasions, either casual ... or formal, you simply cahn't go wrong.

Take footwear. How common is it to see those of the sporting set clad in gym shoes while astride the top supersports of the day? The answer is appalling, especially in light of the fact that the appropriate wear is eminently available, of the highest quality, and reasonably offered.

The Alpinestars GPS boots are just the sort of thing. Constructed of Lorica (a synthetic, leather-like material), lined with leather, and reinforced with hard nylon plastic at the heel, these boots have been designed with summer and sport riding specifically in mind.

Nice reflective patch helps at night. Note the Velcro® closure. The sole is a bit stiff, affording excellent feel for the controls, and with a narrow, thin toe area, the smallish clutch levers of the type found on Ducatis, for example, are easy to locate. Reinforced shift pads on both boots (for symmetry and elegance - oh, those Italians!) eliminate worries about wear after a day of switching gears through the canyons.

For nighttime visibility, a small patch of reflective material is located just above the heel, effective but not at the expense of style, for which the GPS boots score high marks. Tuck the uppers underneath a pair of DKNY jeans while sipping a three-shot latte, or wrap them around your track leathers while pouring a tankful of your preferred race mix, it doesn't matter, you'll look at home. These boots are sans toe sliders, however, so they're enormously biased toward street usage where they'll afford protection and eye-catching looks, but provide no accommodation for knee dragging.

Leather lining breathes well and keeps feet cool, but not much interior padding. With regard to protection we have some questions. While the heel, as mentioned, is heavily reinforced, the toe area seems minimally so and easily compresses, as does the entire area covering the top of the foot, although the ankle area has more padding. The shin is covered with stiff padding as well, but softer than the heavy plastic or carbon fiber typically seen on track boots. Lorica has fine abrasion characteristics and the boots are solidly built, holding up well after six months of usage, so we're confident that GPS boots would serve and protect in the event of a crash. But clearly, again, the street was the design goal and not the track, or track-style riding.

With regard to protection we have some questions.

Don't bother with brief bouts on your bike, either -- GPS boots weren't made for walking. As long as you're resting your heels on the footpegs, or winding (or unwinding) through your favorite pass, you'll be fine, but a day strolling through the outdoor mall won't be too comfortable. The sole is far too stiff, more of what you'd expect from a track boot with stringent protection, but a little out of place on a boot that has more chances of ending up in a restaurant than a paddock.

Sharp styling makes a statement on and off the bike (though these could be Darth Maul's boots). So where do GPS boots fit in?: The Sunday ride, where the Alpinestars truly live up to their name. The quick Velcro®/zipper semi-rear entry makes them effortless to don/doff and the Lorica makes caring for the boots, wiping the day's grime off with a bit of water, an effortless task. The lining materials, leather and Cambrelle, breathe well, keeping your feet cool, and the solid construction means that they'll give you years of performance. They'll look great at the breakfast nook or sandwich bar at the end of the ride (non-riders will ask who makes them) and they'll provide just the kind of protection needed for weekend aggression, but not track-day demolition. These boots would also serve especially well on an extended sport-tour, where most of the day was spent on the bike, through the curves.

GPS boots come in at $190, not cheap, but this reviewer is weary of pointing out higher product prices in reviews. Nothing is cheap in any niche market, especially where quality is concerned, so this becomes a relative question. These boots may not be for everyone, e.g., those requiring a more general-purpose, walkabout boot. But for the rider that neatly requires the GPS feature set as outlined, these boots will be a pleasure to own because of their general high quality.

There's no question that one should always sport just the appropriate wear when indulging in a helping of speed, so if it sounds like you fit these boots then do yourself a favor and check them out. Three-and-a-half stars.

Motorcycle Online Rating:

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