The first feature that really makes this boot stand out from its competitors is the unique hook-and-loop cinch strap at the top. It took a little getting used to while donning the boots, but once secured I practically forgot it–a good thing. When I put on the Sphere 3, I also noticed the pseudo-bootie lining the ankle area and the rest of the package. I wasn’t dissatisfied here. The break-in period is about as long as it takes to put on the rest of your gear and start your bike. And they don’t suddenly get all floppy after a couple of days of riding. I encountered a small bit of lateral flex; however, in defense of the boot, the inability to fully tighten the buckle straps was the likely culprit here.That was one of my beefs–the bottom two straps can be adjusted only halfway in before hitting the attachment piece’s inner “pocket.” A pair of sharp scissors or the $13.35 buckle kit would cure that, though perhaps that’s not something you want to do after spending $229.95. Around this time I realized that if you’re always searching for a boot wide enough to handle well-developed calves, this is your boot, from the lengthy strap at the top–it is long enough to wrap around some serious bulk–to the liberal cut of the boot top. The sizes run big; my size-11 (46) feet had more than enough room; the 11.5 felt like a 12.Overall, the Sphere 3 didn’t really do anything outstanding. It was comfortable, but its buckle and strap and sizing issues at the price level hold it back. It’s available in black, blue, red and white in sizes 5.5 to 11.5.
–Bryan NylanderDR Tested: 7.0
Acerbis: 800/659-1440; www.acerbis.com