How many times have you heard one of your riding buddies state that “there’s no such thing as a perfect _____!” These blanket statements apply to riding gear, hard parts and just about anything else we dirt riders can bolt, stick, fasten or apply to our bikes and bodies. The general thinking is that there will always be something to improve upon, but not everyone buys into this unwritten rule. Case in point: Fox. When the top designers, engineers and product wizards at Fox set about designing a new boot, they didn’t just shoot for “almost perfect”, nor did they accept that a finished product had to be flawed. They spent countless hours designing, developing and testing various components, and after several years of gathering feedback from the top riders in the sport, they came up with a design that was as close to perfection as they could manage. Meet the Instinct boot.
The key goals in developing this boot were to combine freedom of movement with the highest level of protection possible; in other words, safety and comfort were a must for Fox. This starts in the guts of the boot where five key components have been utilized to create the perfect fit: An athletic insole provides running shoe-like cushioning, a steel shank supports the arch, a polyurethane midsole offers energy absorption, a TPU support is in place for impact protection and stability, and Fox’s exclusive rubber outsole provides grip on the peg and is backed by lifetime durability guarantees.
The rest of the boot is just as highly developed as the inside. A patented floating ball-and-socket buckle makes for easy operation with gloves on. Flexion is provided by a stabilizing hinge, which also ensures that the ankle cannot hyperextend past the predetermined lockout points. A host of other technical materials grace the boot to help create a solid weld between ankle and bike, and the overall build makes for one of the lightest boots on the market. Fox truly left no stone unturned when developing these puppies.
Of course, all of Fox’s top athletes had a huge hand in developing the Instinct, but one of the biggest influencing factors was the feedback provided by Ricky Carmichael. An admittedly picky rider who places a premium on safety, RC worked hand-in-hand with Fox product managers to develop the Instinct, and he’s super happy with the finished product. “I’m not being biased just because I love the product and I believe in the product,” said Carmichael. “It’s really good; they put a lot of time and effort into it and there are a lot of guys who are probably bummed that they can’t race in it! Just the technology behind it and the safety of it is definitely state of the art. I’m happy to be involved in this project. It took a long time, but the finished product is amazing.”
Dirt Rider rode the Instinct boot for an entire morning at Zaca station motocross track, followed by an evening of trail riding at a nearby location. After nearly nine hours in the boot, we came away with an awesome first impression of how the Instinct performs. Fit is spot on with maybe just a slightly large toe-box, and the buckles are light-years more easy to operate than those found on some of the biggest brands in the sport. There is definitely a lightweight feel to the Instinct, and the protection level certainly feels sufficient for the usual battery of rut-snags and rock-hits that we encounter in a usual day of track or trail riding. But the feature that we were most stoked on was the inner comfort of the boot. Like a good running shoe, the insole has a ton of cushioning and support without feeling too rigid or bulgy. Off-road riders will love this boot based on the fact that it truly can be worn all day, and we can totally see this being something that MXers will just leave on their feet between motos.Overall, the Instinct features an impressive level of performance that definitely lives up to Fox’s claims. The durability of the boot will be determined as we continue to put the miles on, but from what we’ve seen so far these kicks are as high end as riding boots get. A $549 retail price confirms this, and you can try the Instincts for yourself as they become available in the coming weeks. In the meantime, check out some of our top photos from the day and stay tuned for a full test in the magazine!