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DRN Trash Tests The Latest and Greatest in Off-Road / MX Boots

Test 2: Alpinestars Vector
Quick Test by Bob "Okiewan" VanOrden

[ click for larger image ]

The grey section of the sole is replaceable

The top "snap-in" buckle attached to a velcro strap

The "strap" Makes fitting large calves and braces easy.

There's no Achilles or back of the heel protection to speak of.

The "built-in" ankle support?
It seems that the gray area is supposed to be it. Doesn't work in this reviewer's opinion.

Okie's Review
Eric Gorr's Review

Alpinestars Vector Boot Review
Price (msrp): $240.00

What follows is a "Normal Joe" review, not the typical SoCal pro that writes a paragraph for a SoCal mag, as if you can make an educated buy decision based on; "Nice Boot".. Keep in mind, the boot manufactures/distributors in this review are not advertisers on DRN and if their boots are below par, they may never be, we'll call it like we see it.

General Information Provided By Alpinestars:

contoured shin plate is injected with high modulus PU for a high level of impact and abrasion resistance.
HEEL/ANKLE PROTECTOR: patented "ankle brace support structure" with additional shock absorbing insert in the ankle area.
SIDE PROTECTOR: extended inside plate protects the side and toe-box area of the boot.
REAR PLATE: calf protection features PU for high impact resistance.
TOE AND LATERAL PROTECTOR: additional injected PU protectors in the toe box and on the outside ball of the foot.
INSIDE LEG PROTECTOR: suede leather protector guards against heat and increases grip.
INSTEP FLEX AREA: wide thermalweld instep for increased comfort and flexibility.
UPPER: leather PU skin.
SOLE: Alpinestars new and exclusive contoured rubber compound is glued and stitched, and features replaceable wide foot peg inserts and a contoured stamped steel shank.
CLOSURE: 2 buckles with memory and a quick release/locking system and 1 calf buckle with memory featuring a quick release click-in system. Buckles are injected with high impact resistant technopolymer.
LINING: synthetic lining laminated with open cell foam. High density contoured padding provides shock absorption for the heel and ankle area.
FOOTBED: removable anatomic footbed.
WATER PROOFING: extended gator for better water protection.
INTENDED USE: motocross/enduro
PRODUCED SIZES: us. 5-15 / euro. 38-51

Reviewer's Initial Impressions:
1) Out of the box... unusual boot, unique appearance.
2) Short overall height
3) VERY comfortable out of the box.
4) Unique top strap/buckle
5) thick "sole" looks to cushion landings
6) Plastic (nylon?) buckles, snap into locked position
7) Internal ankle support?

8) Light weight

This is going to be a long term test, with "journal" entries through an entire season of use in a format that more represents a real-world impression of living with an important and expensive purchase.

First Ride (June 15, 2001):
Started out the day with the "space boots". Fit nicely around my knee braces, the adjustable top strap/buckle allows for a large margin of adjustment. I found it difficult to get a good even snug fit with the boot, felt there was too much movement allowed in the ankle area. Some folks may prefer this flexibility, I'm not one of them.

Right out of the box, I could easily roll my ankles from side to side. I'm not sure where some reviewers found the "good ankle support", I didn't feel like there was any. I was also not excited about the lack of rear heel protection, there is none.

If you spend more time walking around the pits than riding, this may be your boot! The Vector has been referred to as the tennis shoe of mx boots, no doubt about that.

On the bike:
The unique sole of the Vector grips the pegs well, the boot, overall, had a good feel in relation to shifting, braking and gripping the bike. The lack of a sewn-on sole provides a thinner profile than that other boots, no catching on panels, brake pedal, etc. The soft rubber sole is VERY thick and provides a good deal of cushion while landing large jumps, but does not disperse the impact over as wide an area as other boots we've tested. I doubt you'll see any SX pro's sporting the Vector.

Testing/Track conditions:
As is the norm this spring in the Midwest, we received 3.5 inches of rain the night before the test, resulting in some interesting get-offs and boots FULL of water/mud. The Vector does a poor job of keeping the water out, most of which leaked in through the top of the boot, due to the difficulty in getting the top of the boot to seal. This is not my choice for wet weather riding.

As mentioned before, these things are very comfortable right out of the box. There was no break-in time required to overcome missed shifts, etc. Frankly, if these boots actually do break-in, it won't be a good thing, they are too "loose" as it is. I'll say it again, a lot of riders may prefer a boot that makes you forget your wearing a boot, I'm just not one of them. I like a snug, secure feeling specifically, around my weakened ankles.

Two words: Not much. Being able to roll my ankles from side to side is not confidence inspiring in my mind. Obviously, the Vector is a marked improvement over wearing work boots, when I compare support between boots, my reference boot is the Sidi FlexForce, I've yet to find a boot with protection / support to match it. The Tech 8 does however come close.

First Impression Summary: By all means, try a pair of these on at your local shop. You'll be impressed with the level of comfort. If in fact comfort is number one on your list of boot requirements, this is your boot.

Stay tuned.

Next update: Wear, cleaning, maintenance and continued break-in.

Alpinestars: http://www.alpinestars.com

Questions or Comments? Post them in the Review thread found here: DRN Tested

Next Boot: Sidi ForceFlex : Go!

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