To build a better anything, removing the weakest link is a great place to begin. That’s exactly what Alpinestars did with its new-for-2016 SuperTouring Gore-Tex boot. To improve the boot’s weatherability the zipper was taken out of the equation. With no entry point, fording a fairly deep water crossing is about the only way your tootsies are gonna get wet inside these boots.
The trick to the SuperTouring’s zipperless design is its rear buckle closure system. A strap swings around the rear of the boot, attaching to a reverse-action pump ratchet located on the opposite side of the boot. Once inserted, the wearer can increase tension on the strap via the ratcheting mechanism. The strap features numerous closely-spaced teeth to provide a very customizable measure of snugness. Being a rear strap configuration also allowed Alpinestars to design an incredibly flexible and ergonomic forefoot area. Pushing the small black tab above the ratcheting mechanism releases strap tension.
The SuperTouring boot’s waterproofness is also a measure of its Gore-Tex lining throughout the entire boot. The use of Gore-Tex is also reflected in the SuperTouring’s price tag of $399, compared to the similar, and also new for 2016, Corozal Adventure boot ($289) that uses Alpinestars’ own Drystar material. As someone who’s sampled both kinds of breathable, waterproof linings, paying more for the better breathability of Gore-Tex is worth the expenditure.
The SuperTouring boot’s upper is constructed of full-grain leather, while the accordion zones around the instep and Achilles are a microfiber, and the inside of the top collar around the shin and calf areas is a textile lining. The sole’s exterior is a rubber compound, while the midsole is a high modulus polyamide compound with an integrated shank. Inside, soft padding envelops the ankles and shift area, while the removable foot-bed is a combination of EVA foam and Lycra.
The Alpinestars SuperTouring boots arrived just in time to be worn during our Ultimate Sports-Adventure Touring Shootout. Wearing a brand new anything for multiple days without first breaking-in the item can result in great physical discomfort – a lesser danger of our occupation but one motojournalists must oftentimes suffer. Luckily for me the boots proved to be a superb traveling companion for my feet. Not once during our 12-hours-per-day, six-day adventure did I give a thought to the boots I was wearing. If I were thinking about them, that would have meant something wasn’t right.
We did run through some mud holes during our trip, but rain it did not. My socks were sweaty at the end of the day, but the breathability of the Gore-Tex kept me from experiencing foot soup. Since mother nature didn’t provide a chance to test the boots’ weatherability I gave the boots the old water hose test after I got home. They seemed perfectly waterproof until directing the spray on the part of the boot where the upper two halves fold together. Water was able to penetrate at the bottom part of the fold, presumably through stitching. This doesn’t reflect real-world rain performance nor take into account coverage by the waterproof pants you’re sure to be wearing, but it should be noted that the boots may fail to maintain absolute waterproofness given any extreme weather conditions. I also wouldn’t recommend standing in any deep puddles.
When it comes to protection besides from weather, the CE-certified boot features the following: A double density ankle protector, an internal toe box, shin plate, shift pad, and reflective rear insert.
Highlighting Alpinestars’ touring department, the all-new SuperTouring Gore-Tex boot is incredibly comfortable footwear incorporating an innovative, zipperless, buckle closure system. Alpinestars guarantees protection from wet-weather conditions, thanks to its waterproof Gore-Tex membrane (so to hell with our hose test). The SuperTouring boots are available now in US sizes: 3.5-14, and Euro sizes: 37-48, for $399. Check out these boots and more at Alpinestars.com.