It’s not surprising that many off-road riders jump right into a pair of motocross boots and consider them to be the best dirt bike boots for Enduro or Off-Road riding and racing without really stopping to consider the main feature that differentiates the best dirt bike boots for motocross from the best dirt bike boots for enduro or off-road.
But exactly what’s the difference between a motocross boot and an enduro or off-road riding boot? It’s the sole.
Top-of-the-line motocross boots will often have a smooth sole that works best on race tracks where a rider may spend most of his or her time actually sliding the sole on the ground while railing through flat or bermed corners. The likelihood that the rider would ever have to paddle along a rutted single-track or actually stop, get off and push his or her dirt bike up a steep, slippery slope is extremely remote. These same motocross boots will also often be designed for the utmost in protection to prevent the types of leg injuries that occur in motocross, such as extreme impacts from a botched jump or contact with another motorcycle in close proximity.
The best dirt bike boots for off-road racing, enduro or trail work will still feature excellent impact protection, but they will often be designed to provide a little more flexibility in the calf and ankle areas to facilitate walking or paddling. More importantly, there outsoles will usually feature a waffle-style tread pattern to give the foot more traction, which is so often necessary in the off-road environment.
Can you use motocross boots for enduro riding? Of course, but the added flexibility and traction makes a difference.
With that in mind, we picked out five examples of the best dirt bike boots for enduro and off-road riding. Many of these models offer the same protection features as their MX counterparts, with most of them featuring safety design work that was once considered state-of-the-art for motocross. Even better for off-road and trail riding, however, they have the right soles for their intended application. And, best of all, some of these off-road models won’t cost you an arm and, well, a leg.
5. Fox Racing Instinct X
Fox Racing says that its Instinct X boot is spawned from its championship-winning Instinct motocross boot but features refinements based on input by enduro and off-road racing legend Taddy Blazusiak. Ol’ Taddy’s suggestions are used to give the Instinct X improved comfort for both walking and riding. Starting at the bottom, the Instinct X features Fox’s exclusive Duratac rubber compound with a large, open lug pattern on the sole for better traction when the rider is navigating challenging obstacles. Full coverage at the toe box provides added protection without hindering shifting and Fox’s patent-pending buckle system offers easy entry and exit. Other features include a hinge lockout system designed to stop motion before hyperextension and a slim medial design with a Duratac burn guard that helps the rider grip the bike.
4. Alpinestars Tech 3 Enduro
One of two Alpinestars boots on our short list of best dirt bike boots for enduro and off-road use, the Tech 3 boot is claimed to be ideal for beginners but more than suitable for experts, offering maximum value and performance in a boot that costs less than $250. With its contoured TPU shin plate, reinforced leather rear plate and extended inside and outside guards, the Tech 3 provides external protection that exceeds many of its competitors’ offerings. Internal shock-absorbing padding protects ankles, while Action leather and front/rear accordion panels allow for a boot that boasts a low break-in time. As with all of Alpinestars motocross boots, the Tech 3 is CE certified and features replaceable soles and buckles. The Tech 3 features Alpinstars’ exclusive all-terrain high grip rubber compound sole with a contoured stainless steel shank and steel sole guard. An extended gaiter at the top of the Tech 3 also helps prevent water entry.
3. Thor Blitz XP
Thor replaced the Blitz with the Blitz XP for the lowest-priced model on our best dirt bike boots for enduro or off-road use. The Thor Blitz XP is built to offer plenty of integrated protection that includes a pre-curved injection molded shin plate, a large synthetic calf overlay, and an injection-molded anti-abrasion medial plate for shift protection. Comfort is a high priority with this boot, and the XP offers such features as a secure four-buckle closure (the Blitz only had three), moisture-managing mesh liner and a flexible but grippy uni-directional outsole with a steel shank insert and toe cap.
2. Sidi Crossfire 2 SRS
Sidi’s Crossfire 2 SRS is a perfect example of a boot that boasts impact protection features that were once considered to be top of the line for the Italian manufacturer, and the boot has been such a popular seller that Sidi can’t see discontinuing it. That’s good news for off-road riders, as the Crossfire 2 SRS’ easily replaceable soles can be swapped for the company’s E1 Enduro sole or even its Supermoto sole, making this a versatile choice. Laminated 3mm thick Technomicro is used as the base material in all areas, and the Crossfire 2 SRS features a calf plate system with an inner double-adjustment that expands to fit even the largest calf. The insoles are made of nylon instead of what Sidi calls a a “dangerous steel shank,” and a rigid, shock-resistant, anatomically shaped heel is designed to hold the rider’s foot firm and resist twisting while offering maximum protection. The Crossfire 2 SRSis lined with anti-abrasion Cambrelle in the foot area while the upper is lined with Teflon mesh which prevents complete absorption of water and sweat.
1. Alpinestars Tech 7 Enduro
Alpinestars knows that slick MX soles just don’t work in the off-road environment, so it created the Tech 7 Enduro Boot to address the needs of enduro and off-road riders. Alpinestars engineers designed a special compound sole to provide ATV and enduro riders excellent durability, grip, feel and a high level of structural rigidity. On top of the redesigned sole is a boot with all the features that make the Tech 7 great, such as a biomechanical pivot for ankle protection. The Tech 7 chassis has been designed to give complete feel and optimized interaction with bike controls, and its buckle system is designed to allow easy, precise closure. Other features include an pper constructed from innovative microfiber material that is claimed to be flexible and abrasion resistant. The upper material is reinforced with PU for high levels of water-resistance and durability and improved weight-saving performance.
This post was originally published December 12, 2017
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