Tested Dirt Bike Products - Alpinestars Tech 6 Boot - Experts on Dirtbikes at Dirt Rider Magazine

Redesigns are not necessarily a guarantee of success or even improvement. Messing with the original has often produced less-than-desirable results. Remember New Coke, the new T-Bird or On Any Sunday II? Sometimes it is best to leave a good thing alone. So how would Alpinestars' redesigned Tech 6 stack up?Building a motocross boot is no small feat; it is part knight's armor, part moccasin and part super-model fashion statement. Good boots must offer superior protection against all the nastiness riding in the dirt can dish out without affecting machine-to-rider input. Having your lower extremities well protected when riding is little consolation if you feel numb from the knee down.From every angle, the new Tech 6 boot appears well thought out and purposefully designed. The battlefield considerations combine seamlessly in a design that is as attractive as it is rugged. The key to the company's favor among the professional rank is its unique interior ankle-support design. By wrapping the ankle from the inside, it achieves a much-improved stability without having to increase clamping pressure from the outer buckles, improving overall comfort and circulation.While Alpinestars began with the inside of the boot, the updates don't stop there. The company improved every part of the Tech 6, from the shin-protection area, with an all-new injection-molded shin plate, to the new heel guards and stainless steel sole protector. The steel-shank-reinforced rubber sole is now a dual-compound composition engineered to reduce the inevitable shock waves from the landing impacts while providing support to the foot. The upper gaiter was also revamped and enlarged to do a better job of sealing out the elements. But the really big news on the exterior has to be the new closure system.It might sound frivolous to get excited about boot buckles, but all too often buckles can be a pain or a pleasure depending on their design and execution. After our first encounter with these new boots, we had to reset our scale; when it comes to ease of operation and hand-friendliness, the new low-profile polymer-and-aluminum buckles are a 10. They are far easier to close and open than the Tech 8's and practically everything else we've ever tested! One of our most-exciting discoveries was that these units did not require precise alignment in order to achieve proper closure; they snapped shut with a positive click and didn't snag all the brush we rode through. The second advantage of this new closure system is that the larger and more-rounded buckles are easier to handle and way less harsh on your digits.OK, now that we've calmed down about the fasteners, we can move on to the rest of the boot. If you've worn previous generations of the Tech 6, your feet will clue you in to the improved comfort and support of the latest version. The break-in period was brief and without drama; we simply had to adjust the straps on the buckles. The new sole pattern never let us down, and we had good footpeg traction whether we were in sand, mud or snow. The boot is favored by about half the DR staff over the high-end Tech 8—it's that comfortable and supportive. With a retail price of $259.95 and a silver option joining the black, blue, red and white color choices, this boot will probably be the best news your feet have had in a while.DR Tested: 9.5Alpinestars: 310/891-0222; www.alpinestars.com