Alpinestars Rayburn Boot Review
The Alpinestars Rayburn boot quickly became a fixture within the fashion-forward Oscar by Alpinestars line that was first introduced in 2015. With all of the classic charm that any motorcyclists could ask for in footwear, the Rayburn boot doesn’t compromise when it comes to road-going protection.
The Astars Rayburn boot is constructed out of high-quality, full-grain leather that will help shield you against debris on the road, while also offering a good level of abrasion protection, should you have any unplanned departures from your machine. The stitching quality is top-notch throughout the entire boot, and it also provides the Rayburn with a dapper look.
When first donning the Rayburn, it became quite apparent that these were far more robust than your average workman’s boot, mainly due to the stiffness in the ankle, heel, and toe areas. The Rayburn feels stout in construction and is ready to take a beating.
We can thank the numerous protection elements for that confidence inspiring feel. Starting at the ankle, owners will find comfort in knowing that Alpinestars sprung for dual-density TPU ankle protection, found on both sides of the boot, to help deflect energy from a relatively sensitive area of your body. That level of protection is typically found boot categories with a higher standard of protection, such as technical boots or rather, race-oriented boots. It’s nice to see Alpinestars include these features in a street-biased offering.
No motorcycle-worthy boot would be up to our standards if it lacked a heel counter and a toe box – two features that will prevent greater injury during an accident. Take it from me, should you crash, your heels will most likely be whipped into the terra-firma. Protection clauses such as heel counters help alleviate additional damage in case of a crash.
In addition, the Alpinestars Rayburn’s insole features an integrated shank reinforcement, making the sole of the boot more rigid without reducing flexibility to a point where walking is laborious. In fact, the Rayburn is a great walking boot. In the saddle, I found the Rayburn to be good for both cruiser foot-pegs, as less energy was directed to me during impacts, and when on a sportbike where I still had the flexibility able to get on the balls of my feet when the pace picked up.
With all of those elements combined, the Rayburn boot has earned CE certification. If you are a new rider taking a basic rider training course that requires CE-rated gear, this will be suitable and you’ll stylish while doing it.
Despite that stiffness that can be attributed to various protection aides, the Rayburn is a comfortable, everyday boot. With a plush, mesh interior, the Rayburn doesn’t become swampy and allows for some breathability, even in hot weather. We’ve worn the Rayburn into the low 50s and well into the 100s and in either situation, the boot did well.
Padding at the ankle and shift pad help alleviate any unwanted pain from a more street friendly boot. Even on machines with heavier transmissions, the Rayburn has enough padding to remain comfortable, but still translate information to the rider.
Aiding in rider comfort is the replaceable foot-bed. The stock foot-bed is Lycra lined, but, more importantly, if you’d like to use a custom or orthopedic foot-bed, that shouldn’t alter the fitment dramatically as these boots were designed to allow replacement. For our purposes, I found the one provided to be perfectly adequate.
In terms of styling, the Rayburn is at the forefront when it comes to a motorcycle-specific, street oriented riding boot. Functional, yet visually pleasing features such as the metal eyelets allow one to lace up tightly, without stretching or tearing the leather.
Shoe laces can be tucked away in the boot easily and generally stay put. I generally pull my jeans over the laces, just to make sure nothing gets caught up on the foot controls.
Other features, such as the gusseted tongue, help protect you from the elements to higher degree. Water and cold air won’t have you shivering your way down the highway, should you need to ride in those conditions. The Rayburn does not feature water-proofing but having been caught out in a light shower, I was no worse for wear and didn’t come sloshing into the house. However, if you do plan on riding in serious weather – you’ll need a boot with actual water resistance.
The Rayburn’s rubber sole provides good grip on both metal and rubber foot-pegs. That is aided by sole’s oil resistant properties, which will ensure that you still maintain a proper level of grip, even if you do track some oil onto the foot-peg or into the house.
At $250, the Alpinestars Rayburn boot is designed for those who need something safe and practical for street use and don’t want to sacrifice fashion-forward looks. The boots have become a go-to item for me, and while I might be reaching for Super Tech R’s when headed to the track, these boots fit the bill for just about any type of street riding.
Action photography by Kevin Wing