Bike boots wear out far to fast. Ok, that’s probably got something to do with wearing them for over fifty hours a week, a normal weeks work for a full-time bike Instructor. Even so, a pair wearing the soles through in five days takes the biscuit .. yes, that’ll be you Frank Thomas!
Most modern boots with their lashings of gaudy plastic, prosthetic hinges and zips wind tunnel tested at 200mph+ might be comfortable and maybe even waterproof of a few minutes, but then the soles just wear away quicker than a tracky-wearing teenagers arse-cheeks sliding off a moped at 30mph! That, dear reader, is the bottom line. Truth is, the professional rider needs something the high-street riding gear retailers just don’t stock.
After about a years instructing and quite a few pairs of boots, the best of which was a nice pair of (expensive) Alpinestars, I was getting pretty fed up with the constant outlay. Then I came across Alt-berg boots and everything changed. This is now my eleventh year of using them. My first pair of ‘Clubman Classic’ cost about £120, this year (Sept 2011) it’s £160 …. but still excellent value for the quality of boot you get. Alt-berg also make boots for hikers, military and supply to Police officers/DSA Examiners as well as us bikers.
Alt-berg is a small company in Richmond, Yorkshire and they are now also making boots from a factory in Treviso, Italy (more info to follow). The website is good, the telephone chat even better! But don’t expect instant gratification though, each set I’ve ordered I had to wait for (from 4-10 weeks depending on the time of year) …. remember, they are hand-made for YOU.
Each pair has fitted perfectly and broken in quickly. They’ve remained waterproof and comfortable all through their life (18 – 24 months continuous use). And then?
This is the kicker … I send them back for a refurb!! Yes, for approx. £80 they resole and re-line the boots and they are good for another couple of years use. What other motorbike boot manufacturer offers this service? None that I know of in the UK for sure. Sadly, the service was suspended on 7th December 2011.
Ok, they might not be the most trendy boots, definitely no sultry smouldering looks of appreciation from the über-techno Power Ranger brigade at the local bike cafe … but then do I give a gnats nadger anyway? For all year round, four seasons use, function wins hands down any day in my book! Oh yes.