Alpinestars can find itself in a tough spot at times when it produces new motorcross boots. As one of the, if not the, premier motocross boot manufacturers in the world, upgrading and enhancing its products is like battling against itself. It’s the same issue motorcycle manufacturers deal with consistently: How do you improve upon an already great product without changing what made it great in the first place?
That’s the case when it comes to Alpinestars’ Tech 8 boot, which was recently replaced by the new Tech 8RS. The good news is that Alpinestars has improved on a few key features with the new 8RS, and the changes are ones that most Tech 8 wearers will probably appreciate.
The Tech 8RS is CE certified and features both the outer shell boot along with a removable inner bootie. The biggest changes on the new boot include a full inner bootie (vs. the half bootie on the previous Tech 8) and a new buckle system. The full inner booties feature no strings or Velcro closures, and Alpinestars went to great lengths to make them breathable thanks to 3D breathable mesh constructions and textile lining on the ankle areas. Soft padding and shock-absorbing gel inserts (which are replaceable if they wear out) are also found in the ankle area for added comfort. The bootie construction features an anatomic footbed and EVA arch support for comfort and flexibility.
The outer boot itself is a mix of old-school and new-school design. The main structure of the boot is still leather, which is stitched to the sole and reinforced with stamped metal tips on the toe and stamped steel on the heel guard. The rubber outsole is an exclusive Alpinestars design that features a foot-peg area reinforced with a hard polymer compound for added durability. The outsole is fully replaceable, so no worrying about tossing out a perfectly good boot because the sole is worn!
The upper portion of the boot is constructed of an abrasion-resistant microfiber material that is designed to be both water resistant and lightweight. The “anatomically profiled” polymer shin plate is designed to withstand superior impact while not easily showing signs of wear, thanks to its abrasion-resistance properties. Alpinestars says the contoured shin plate design allows improved fit for a wider variety of riders, which is in part due to the adjustable Velcro closure at the top of the boot. The “high modulus” calf plate on the Tech 8 is also designed with a contoured shape for improved comfort and connects directly to the shin plate for full protection and structural integrity (which is important when you’re beating the hell out of your boots at the track or on the trail!). Alpinestars then adds a tempered steel shank that is injected inside the midsole assembly for added structural reinforcement and protection. To help keep water and dirt out, the extended polymer gaiter helps seal the top of the boot once it’s on, and so far we didn’t notice any flaw in this design.
In our eyes, the key new feature on the Tech 8RS is the buckle closure system, which features four adjustable polymer/aluminum bridge closures that feature a quick-release and quick-locking system that self aligns to make each buckle easy to close and lock in place. The buckles are also replaceable should one become damaged.
How Do They Feel?
For anyone who hasn’t worn a modern moto boot, getting the boot on is a far simpler process thanks to the separate internal booties. The Tech 8RS booties feature no laces or Velcro closures, making them easy to put on once your moto pants are on and then easy to slide into an unbuckled boot. We do like the full-sized booties as well, which provide a comfortable and secure feel along with good ankle support inside the boot.
The Tech 8RS is built to be as flexible as possible but it is also built for protection, so a little bit of stiffness is to be expected at first. The boots won’t exactly wear in like a pair of leather dress shoes over time, but they do tend to soften up in as little as a few rides. Alpinestars redesigned the instep and Achilles accordion flex areas to help improve strength and comfort without sacrificing support. Overall, we have to say the boots are comfortable, but for longer rides we do wish the footbed was just a little bit softer (there’s really little cushion in the booties).
One attribute found on previous Alpinestars boots that returns on the Tech 8RS is the memory settings for the closures, which feature teeth on each closure strap so you don’t have to readjust the straps for each ride. What is new on these boots, however, is the closure itself, which we find to be much easier to latch than previous generations. Simply put: they work, and you don’t need to beat on them with a closed fist or resort to a rubber mallet (or similar tool) to close them. Once the side-wrapping tongue, is in place, the closures secure into place with a snap-latch. The Velcro closure at the top of the boot allows for adjustability to find that “just right” fit.
While out riding, we felt that the rubber compound used on the Tech 8 soles provides ample grip, and the reinforced center portion of the dual-density sole is thoughtfully designed to avoid quick wear of the area from kickstarts and foot peg rub. Even though Alpinestars says the toe portion of the boot is a low-profile design, it is still a little bit bulky, though not any more so than other boots on the market. We do like the grip added to the inner toe portion as well for shifting.
If you’re looking for a bargain boot the Tech 8 RS is not for you, as the MSRP is $499.95. In our eyes this comes down to the saying “you get what you pay for,” because we would argue the Tech 8 RS boots are worth the coin and are more in line with the “techier” Tech 10s.
As is the case with any motocross boot, there are no half sizes, so it’s best to head into your local shop and try on a pair before buying (even if you plan to buy them online). In our case, our 10 1/2 to 11-sized feet were just right in a size 11 boot. The comfort and overall quality of construction make the Tech 8 RS boot worth the price of admission.
The Tech 8 RS is available in full sizes 5 to 15, in three color options of Black, White and Black/Red/Yellow.
Alpinestars Tech 8 RS