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Alpinestars Tech 8 Boot Review
Upgrades and improvements to an iconic design
Having developed a strong following over the years, Alpinestars’ most recent version of its Tech 8 off-road boots are said to be updated with the “very latest development and material technology.”
From what we can ascertain, this is true; they’re impressively put together, incorporate substantial armor, and work well. At least they do the job for my average-width size 11s, I should say, as everyone’s foot is different, and I happen to be one of the (many) riders who fit the boot, and appreciate what it can do.
The Tech 8 had been the pinnacle of A-Stars line-up until the even more space-age Tech 10s showed up. Since I wanted a more traditional, but still protective design, I opted for the 8s.
Technology in Brief
The Tech 8s’ main structure is full-grain leather, stitched to the soles, old world style, with metal sole tips and heel caps. From here, the CE-certified boots are augmented with plenty of 21st-century innovations. These include polyurethane on the shins, sides, and ankles to reinforce against impact and potentially crushing forces.
To improve comfort and control, a “bio-mechanical calf and shin articulation system” has been added. A main component of this upgrade is a “vertical dual sliding blade mechanism” behind the calf that progressively increases resistance as the foot tilts in conjunction with the enlarged flex panels in line with the Achilles tendon.
The Tech 8s are actually two boots in one. Inside is a soft, perforated-leather bootie with a cushioning foam sole and asymmetrical, impact-absorbing gel inserts covering the ankle bones. Further featured is a new dual-compound sole, of which the middle section is replaceable.
Each boot is held closed by Velcro and four alternating, burst-resistant aluminum buckles. These can be finely adjusted, and Alpinestars says they have a “memory.” What this translates to is you can set the adjustment, and they stay there.
On the boots’ top is an enlarged, flexible thermoplastic polyurethane gaiter to prevent splashed water and mud from getting in.
Although built with as much flex as possible, the Tech 8s are quite stiff, as is typical for motocross boots. They do take a little getting used to, but this is an expected tradeoff for premium protection.
Thanks to the elaborate closure system, achieving a snug fit is possible after a few minutes spent setting them up. Once the “memory” is set, it’s true, they go on quicker, but you may initially find the Velcro at the top grabs when trying to cinch the boot closed. To get around this, the technique is to pull the top of the side-wrapping tongue where you want it, then latch the buckle. If you set the buckles tight, they may need a hard smack to get them closed.
One minor nitpick is the black material between the tongue and boot can be tough to conceal, and some of it might squeeze out the sides of the tongue.
Additionally, while not really a fault, if you plan to use some of the latest highly supportive knee braces (recommended), they may fit to the upper shins, and need to be tucked into the top of the boots.
Alpinestars says its exclusive lasting process enables the Tech 8 to fit a variety of foot shapes. Since they come in whole sizes only, from 5-15 (38-51 Euro), some riders between sizes may still find them less than ideal. As is always true for footwear, and especially for these substantial investments, we recommend trying on before buying.
As part of the Tech 8 system, the inner boots also contribute toward making them more comfortable out of the box. I had been told these clod hoppers would need to be broken in, and while they do feel like a cross between a flexible ski boot and a walking cast, they are manageable. No doubt they will break in more over time but they never bothered me with any uncomfortable impingement, chafing, or tight spots.
The all-white versions come with small vents. Since I did not try the unvented versions, I can’t attest to their comparative effectiveness, but they seem to reduce clamminess.
The rubber compound on the sole grips metal footpegs well, and there’s just enough dexterity built in to the boots to allow upshifts and downshifts with the bulky toe, assuming your shifter is positioned correctly.
If you happen to be one of the hold-outs still making due with construction or hiking boots, we understand they may be lighter, cheaper, and give better dexterity, but there’s a serious compromise in this choice.
If you don’t already know, we’ll inform you that the foot contains one-quarter of the bones in the body. Specifically, it has 26 bones, 33 joints, more than 100 muscles, tendons, ligaments, and a network of blood vessels, nerves and soft tissue.
While we don’t like to think about it, fact is, it doesn’t take much to injure these fragile and complex bio-assemblies. Recovery from crash damage can be slow and painful, and some wounds may never fully heal. As highly engineered pieces of foot armor, the Tech 8s are significantly protective against foot, ankle and shin injuries, while still enabling control.
The Tech 8s come in White (vented version), Black, White/Red and White/Blue. Attention to detail is obvious. Then again, for $429.95, we think it ought to be.
Are they worth it? Assuming they fit and are comfortable, they sure could be. If they save you from greater medical costs and consequent pain and suffering, they will instantly pay for themselves, probably many times over. And even if you never fall off, the peace of mind they impart is worth a whole lot as well.