Alpinestars Toucan adventure boots
If shoes maketh the man then boots must harden him. Then there are hardcore adventure boots, such as these beasts from Alpinestars, which will inspire you to head out, take on the fury of Mother Nature and won’t let you down.
The Toucans are the Italian maker’s latest dual-sport boot that packs more protection than your typical Texas home and more grip than a teenage boy. They’re also said to be more flexible, thus more comfortable, off the bike than their predecessor, the Scout.
Designed for long, hard and dirty days in the saddle and on the ’pegs, you’ll have dry, happy feet in the Toucans thanks to a Gore-Tex waterproof and breathable liner, which works a treat. This, along with the high protection levels, is what you’re investing in. I’ve subjected them to hours of heavy rain, mud, slippery slopes, deep puddles, office meetings, pubs, dirty dunnies, whatever and they’ve conquered all. You’ll have an air of smugness like the Panzer division storming Poland knowing that you’re just as protected.
We briefly mentioned a few issues ago how the Toucan’s protective armoury reads more like the spec sheet of an M1 Abrams and, now that we’ve had a play with them, we can tell that, boy, Alpinestars weren’t mucking about.
Without reading like a podiatry journal, the CE-certified boots are constructed of leather and suede and feature a lateral, or outer, ankle protection system that forms a flexible link between upper boot and lower foot area. This means there’s flexibility and rigidity all where there needs to be so it’s just about impossible to roll your ankle.
The medial, or inside, area of the boot feature a large, contoured, rubber side with reinforced polymer sculpturing that protect the ankle and shield your inner calves from engine heat. There’s also a clever, textured surface to grip your pants. The same stuff extends to the medial side of the toe box which doubles as a gearchange toe pad. Then there are the reinforcements at the heel and beefy shin protectors that brightly feature the ‘A-Star’ logo.
But, like a mediaeval knight, you can have all the protection in the world but what good is it if it takes forever to get on? Thankfully, the Toucans are a cinch – even in the dark – with a wide-entry aperture and a large, Velcro closure, which allows for all calf sizes. The closure system features a pair of robust and replaceable aluminium buckles with memory adjustments and a quick-release locking system. No zips to stuff up. Beautiful.
Off the bike shows they’re no featherweights but not too heavy either. Most noticeable is their fore-and-aft flexibility when walking and toeing about on the gearshifter with decent feel. Thank the accordion-flex panels at the instep and Achilles areas for that. Other comforts include a roomy toebox and generous width for broad feet.
Cobblers will hat tip the use of stitching instead of cheaper glue to bond the boot to the outer sole. Similar to a good hiking boot, an integrated steel shank adds the right amount of stiffness through the midsole for walking and provides plenty of comfort and confidence when you’re on hard at it on the ’pegs for hours on end. This is aided by a finer tread pattern between the heel and forefoot for extra adhesion. Paramount for an adventure boot, grip is tenacious – whatever the surface – and hard-wearing so tread lightly on plush carpets.
If we had to criticise them you’d hear crickets, but if you walked in them you might hear squeaks. Nothing a squirt of WD40 can’t fix.
The Toucans are technical, robust, comfortable and damned hard to fault. Simply put, they live up to their claims and even at $500, they’re well worth it.
AVAILABLE: All good motorcycle stores
MOTORCYCLE TRADER’S RATING SYSTEM (out of 5):
First Class: *****
Damned good: ****
Worth a look: ***
Keep looking: **
Give it a miss: *