AXO Freedom Motorcycle Boot Test
True adventure motorcyclists ride whenever, wherever and through whatever weather conditions are present. This is part of the freedom that makes adventure riding so appealing, though some prerequisites are needed for absolute comfort.One of these prerequisites is without a doubt waterproof gear, and nowhere is this more important than the feet. Most of us know how uncomfortable a riding situation can get with wet feet, especially when there are hundreds of miles to go and the temps descend from hot to cool.I spent some time earlier this year researching an optimal boot for all conditions, and for the past 10,000 miles or so of adventure riding, I’ve donned one boot and one boot only – the AXO Freedom Adventure WP (waterproof) boot.Besides the $300 price point and waterproofing, the appeal to the race-inspired boots was the lack of clumsy latches and zippers. In place of the normal latch/zipper is AXO’s BOA Closure System, which is simple to use. Pull open the circular, ratcheting spool, easily place your foot in the wide opening, push down the spool, and turn clockwise.As you turn the ratcheting spool, one stainless-steel lace smartly positioned tightens the boot. Once the desired tightness is achieved, a huge closure flap covers the laces, the flap secured in place in place via Velcro. The BOA system allows for a complete customized fit – either snug or loose – and makes for the simplest process of putting on and taking off motorcycle boots.Unlike many other higher-priced adventure-riding boots, waterproofing doesn’t occur on the outer layer of the boot. The AXO Freedom Adventure WP boots are waterproof via a thin bootie that you wear inside the boots. This bootie is designed with AXO’s trademarked “Watertech” membrane, which allows for 100-percent waterproofing while remaining breathable.Initially, the booties were uncomfortable due to the seams, but I later realized I was wearing them on the wrong feet. Once correct, the seams are still noticeable, but comfort isn’t sacrificed.The booties do take some time to get used to, and feel a bit tight before breaking in the AXO Freedom Adventure WP boots. So the thinner the sock, the better. But the boots can be used without the booties if there is no rain in the forecast, allowing for the feel of a normal boot. When the booties are not in use, you simply insert a comfortable, rubber inner sole in the bottom of the AXO Freedom boot.The booties work well, keeping out water even if you submerge your foot in water or mud. They are breathable, but on extremely hot days in the 90s, expect a sweaty foot. Without the bootie, though, the AXO Freedom boots are much cooler in the hotter weather.The outside of the boots are constructed from a PU coated synthetic material, which “resists breaking down, deformation and thickness irregularities found in natural material.” Besides the normal scratches from trees, rocks, or whatever else the off-road brings, the outside of the boots didn’t show signs of wearing, even after 10,000 miles. The same can be said of the sole, which features enough grip to keep you planted on the pegs even in the thickest of mud.The boots also feature studded rubber in the shifting areas. A few nubs began fading after a few thousand miles, and there’s a slight indentation where I use my shifter. This indentation can be felt, but has never become annoying.Regarding protection, the boots provide firmness around the ankle, helping to prevent injuries. I whacked a few trees and rocks during my travels, and encountered a few crashes, but the boots did there job, keeping my feet and lower legs protected.The boots fit true to size, but were a bit snug and stiff during the break-in period, which was about 250 miles of spirited, off-road adventure riding.If you’re serious about adventure riding, and are seeking a waterproof boot that will endure in the true spirit of off-road adventure riding, check out AXO’s Freedom Adventure WP series. They are available in one color, black, and retail for $300.For additional information, log onto AXO.com.