When Alpinestars offered up of any of their boot line for testers I went for the SMX. Why? I could have gone with their flasher GP inspired offerings, but one word, “Gore-Tex”, drug my eye across their web page. A thin layer of this magical material sold me on the SMX from the get go, promising waterproof comfort over a winter of sodden riding. It’s a promise that the SMX delivered on with space age materials and sci-fi looks to boot.
It’s one thing to look like you’ve made off with a power ranger’s boots, but for them to actually do the job is another. A well thought out design makes the SMX Gore-Tex more than just a questionable fashion statement though. The shin intake vents, for example, look like great big water scoops come the rains, but they are covered with a waterproof mesh – something I didn’t even know existed. Hydrophobic airflow – what a concept! Back to the Gore-Tex for a second; this textile lets my feet, known for being at the clammy side of the spectrum (is that an over-share?), breathe – an important contribution to overall comfort now that the summer heat has hit.
Looking for protection, the chief reason for ride gear, there is the sci-fi slick external armour. I’ve had no want for more flexibility while on the bike and I’m certainly more secure feeling on the road given the amount of protection for shin, ankle, calf, toe and heel and placement of Achilles cupping plastics, toe sliders and ankle support. One takes feet and ankles for granted until you can’t use them so the more protection the better I say; this is the voice of personal post-crash experience. Still, the SMX Gore-Tex are a bit like walking in ski boots but given the choice between being able to hike up a trail at a rest stop or crutches I know which option I’ll take every time.
There are a few problems with the SMX. I’m generally size a Euro 45 and frankly the SMX just don’t fit me well; I’m narrow footed and the squeeze width-wise is tight. After about 10,000kms worth of testing use, it’s fairly clear that the boots won’t be breaking in. That being said I’d steer away from internet orders or at least size up at the local shop before hopping online – it’s up to you to navigate the moral waters of such an act.
The biggest upside of the SMX Gore-Tex, the armor, is also the biggest downside. Walking in these boots sounds like a violent fight in the duck pond. Dust gets in all that armor and the squeaking and quacking ensure that you will never be sneaking up on anyone again. I must admit that I prefer my footwear not to announce my presence in restaurants, hotels and occasionally tiptoeing in after a late ride.
All that armor does hold up well, however, over a season of boot dragging turns on our long term Multistrada 1000 tester that has included serious sporting rides as well as knee and toe dragging practice sessions, the SMX Gortex have held up well. The hard plastic toe and lateral foot sliders grind slowly despite best efforts leaving only minimal damage, without any signs of snagging or binding on road surfaces. Deep-set screws in the sliders also ensure screws won’t snag the tarmac, nor will the heads grind down making it hard to replace the pucks. This sort of rigorous testing of course was done in the name of science, not fun…
Right, so the Alpinestars SMX Gore-Tex are accompanied by enough squeaks and squawks for a soundtrack of ducks and mice being crushed, but that doesn’t diminish their value in anyway. The sliders grind away nicely given proper encouragement, which means they do their job. In the end, the SMX Gore-Tex are practical wet and dry winners that deliver excellent protection and good value – a sport boot usable for all seasons.