Alpinestars Tech 1 Boots Review | “Budget” Boots
Alpinestars has established itself as a premium off-road boot brand and avoided offering budget footwear. However, the new Alpinestars Tech 1 boots are a nickel under $200, making Alpinestars boots an option for cost-sensitive riders.
Looking at the construction of the Alpinestars Tech 1 boot, one can quickly see where the costs were cut. For instance, there are only three buckles — rather than the usual four (though it’s worth noting that Alpinestars’ flagship Tech 10 is a three-buckle affair) — and the replaceable buckles are 100-percent plastic, with no aluminum in sight. Inside, there’s no bootie, and the boots themselves are lighter, which has its own appeal. This saves money, but not in an alarming way.
Although the Alpinestars literature calls this an MX boot, we would go with something more substantial when we take to the motocross track. However, for trail riding, less-demanding cross-country racing, and dual-sport/adventure riding, the Tech 1 boots make a compelling argument for purchase.
Slipping on the Alpinestars Tech 1 for the first time for some hard-core technical single-track action, I was pleased with how they felt as they slipped on. The moisture-wicking microfiber interior isn’t as plush as some, but it’s certainly not rough.
Adjusting the sawtooth buckle straps (featuring a new polymer common to other more-expensive Alpinestars boots) is the typical hassle, but something you’re likely to only have to do once. I was pleased that, even with my Alpinestars Fluid Tech Carbon knee braces on, the boots had plenty of room to accommodate them. The range of the Velcro closure on the top is nice and wide, and the Velcro secure.
Once settled in, it was time to ride. As we were out testing 2016 enduro two-strokes from Beta, Husqvarna, and Yamaha under arduous conditions, I was focusing on the bikes. It wasn’t until a couple hours later at a stop that I realized that I had been wearing new boots. This, of course, is about the strongest endorsement possible.
There were no hotspots or restricted movement, or insecurity due to lack of protection or a too-weak metal shank in the one-piece TPU-injected Tech 1’s insole. Shifting was sure, and I had a great feel for the rear brake on the bikes. Also, the sole gripped the pegs well when desired, and were easy to move off the pegs when needed.
Looking at the Alpinestars Tech 1, you’re likely to wonder how easily you can pivot your ankle to operate the foot controls. The “flexi-blade” system that allows for smoother movement doesn’t look as impressive as some, but it is certainly effective. The design gives that pivot movement freedom while still retaining lateral support and impact protection.
For shifting, there’s the expected toe-shift protection, which is there for both sides, something vintage motocross racers with right side shift will find appealing. Hitting a few rocks at speed, the toe box proved sturdy. The top gaiter closes nicely and dirt was never found in the boot after multiple rides.
A few rides in, the Alpinestars Tech 1 boots show no signs of unusual wear. There wasn’t any break-in required, which speaks well for the long-term prospects. The predominance of plastic, rather than leather, also suggests excellent durability over the long run, as there’s nothing organic to break down.
Of the three colorways available — white, white/black, and black — I tested the white. Personally, I avoid white off-road boots, as they start looking old rather quickly. Go with either of the black variations, unless you just have to have white.
Racers and the most serious riders will continue to go will continue to shell out for the Tech 10s and Tech 8s, and with good reason. They offer the most protection available, and can withstand the hardest use.
However, there is a wide range of riders who will see the appeal of a $199.95 boot that has the Alpinestars name and quality. The Alpinestars Tech 1 doesn’t betray the reputation of the high-end brand. Instead, it builds on it, showing that high-quality technical off-road boots can be had for less than $200.