Alpinestars Toucan Gore-Tex Boots
Higher price gets you top-end features. Do you like plastic?
I have a pair of Scout WPs that are roomy in the toe and are my standard for comfort. The Toucans' fit was spot-on for Alpinestars,
With the abundance of plastic on it I was expecting a rigid boot and lengthy break-in. I put them on to walk around as break-in but took them off shortly afterward as they were "smooth" from the start.
Hey...they didn't squeak!
There seem to be tiny mesh-covered vents below the lowest buckle: they don't seem to work but maybe if I can ever go fast enough they might. I can imagine them filling up with dirt before that but I can't imagine them being missed anyway.
Speaking of dirt, the inboard plastic panels have a diamond-texture pattern for grip. They'll soon feature a cool (for me) wear pattern but don't expect to be wiping your boots clean like Scouts...you'll be brushing more than wiping these boots clean.
They're no different from other Gore-tex boots. I live in the tropics where humidity and temps stay high so boots are warm. Lots of water everywhere so dryness is the main criteria and these boots breathe as well as can be expected. No water crossings yet.
Alpinestars MX DNA is all over. These boots shout protection from the sheer amount of plastic and stitching. The toes are bulkier and I'm relearning how to shift. I may raise the lever but since I've been off the bike for six months it may just be me. The ankle plate is bulky and so are the buckles and...how do I explain this...they seem to spread out the center of mass. Like when I stick a leg out for balance I can really feel the boot's weight around my foot. It might be because I've been off the bike for so long but just looking at the boot will tell you it's bulkier than others, thus my lower mark for style.
I'll tell you now: the clincher for me was the stitching! My last plastic waterproof boots started separating at the soles after paddling through, not a river crossing, but a few water-filled tire ruts. I suspect that a floppy sole was the reason my foot stayed planted as my bike fell in slo-mo, resulting in a badly broken leg.
After that experience I'll pay for the protection and the stitching.
September 14, 2015
Had the Toucans about three months now and they've been great. Took my time researching and wondering if the expense was justified - it was. Commute with them regularly. Feet fine on a 12 hour day of rocks, trails and paved. Just finished 5 days on the Olympic Peninsula; lots of rain, epic at times, deep puddles, boots were great, feet stayed dry. Comfy. Noisy as has been already been said. No regrets, I'd buy them again. I'm a 10.5, gear geeks said size up, I should have stayed with the posted wisdom, 11's were huge, even 10's are roomy.
September 8, 2015
Excellent product, fits perfectly
I live in Pacific Northwest. The climate changes significantly when crossing over the cascades. My feet never got tired, cold or hot. I stayed dry. Excellent product.
September 6, 2015
Everything I wanted
I purchased these boots for long rides and weekends on the road. I was a little hesitant at first as they are a little bulkier than I expected (yes I should have expected it), but after they broke in and I got used to shifting with them, I am super happy with the purchase. They broke in after roughly 700 km and I look forward to years of riding with them. Good job A-stars
July 21, 2015
This boot is comfortable with a good amount of protection. I get decent flex at the ankle and found it a little more comfortable to walk in compared to the Sidi Adventure Gortex. The better comfort of the Toucan was primarily due to the way the leather over the mid-foot would fold on the Sidi and create a pressure point. The Toucans are smooth, with no pressure points.
They are stiff enough that I decided not to use them for now while still learning to ride. I think they will loosen up, but they require some getting used to for shifting and breaking if you haven't used a boot like this before.
I have a couple gripes. First, the use of an ankle hinge on just one side is strange to me. It results in a weird bulging of material on the inner ankle of the boot (where there isn't a hinge) when you flex your foot. It's not uncomfortable, but it looks weird. I think a double hinge would increase ankle flex without hurting the protection level. Second, I'm disappointed with the buckles. They sit high off the boot when latched and I think they would be prone to breaking in a slide. Compared to the Sidi, which has flush buckles with raised protection, the Toucan buckles are pretty exposed.
July 7, 2015
Great boots. Very good fit for me. I have size 13 left and 13.5 right foot. Size 13's are very comfortable. They go on and come off very easily. The buckles look like those of ski boots, but these do not fit like ski boots. They fit more like a very comfortable shoe or boot. Great protection. Despite my expectations, mine do not squeak! These are comfortable riding and walking around. Glad I made the investment.
June 29, 2015
I couldn't be happier with the fit, even with my large calves.
I purchased the Toucans after trying and returning a pair of Sidi boots. The Sidis were fine but I simply couldn't fit them around my oversize calves. The AlpineStars Toucans were slightly larger, and would close, but there was so little hook-n-loop holding that they would come loose when I took a step. The huge advantage that the Toucans had was that they include a flap to which it was a simple matter to apply the appropriate hook-n-loop material to provide additional holding surface.
June 9, 2015
Great boots! Initial Impressions (LONG)
I just received these boots today and put my first 100 miles on them. I’ve worn them continuously for the last 9+ hrs.
My initial impressions of these boots are:
BACKGROUND: I’ve owned a pair of Aerostich Combat Touring Boots (CTB) for the last 15+ years and put hundreds of thousands of miles on them and resoled them 3 times. They finally are at the end of their road. My Aerostich size is a men’s 11.
FIT: The Toucans definitely run a little large. I’d estimate about a ½ size large compared to my street/athletic shoes. I’m normally a men’s 10.5 US. I have med/wide feet with high arches, narrow heel & ankles, and large calves. Using the size chart, I’m between sizes for these boots and wasn’t sure which way I should go between a size 10 or 11.
I read tons of reviews here (all 56+ reviews), watched video reviews, and read up on forums, and I was still confused as to sizing, especially if you are between sizes. Some said they fit small, others a size large and some even said they fit to size. After shooting my info to Revzilla the recommendation was to go with the 10. I can say that Revzilla’s suggestion was spot on. In fact I still have a little extra room if I wore a heavier sock during colder weather.
Hopefully this helps others in the fit department.
BUILD: Unlike some reviews, mine came perfect. This is my first boot since the CTBs so I don’t have a whole lot to compare it to, but I’ve read that Alpinestar’s can be inconsistent in their build quality. The typical comments seem to be related to sole issues (i.e. uneven sole stitching and warped sole bottoms). Of course knowing that, the first thing I did was to check out the soles and they are perfect.
The rest of the boot is also very well put together. All the panel stitching, buckles, and insides are perfectly put together.
Mine do squeak. I don’t really care. So did my other boots. IMO when you mix leather and plastic it’s gonna do that.
RIDING: Granted I don’t have a lot of time in these boots yet, but like any new boot it’s gonna feel different compared to what you already have. I’ve found that foot positioning, especially the left boot, is going to take some getting used to. The more rounded top foot area compared to my CTBs requires a different foot action to get a positive shift, specifically during an upshift. I missed my fair share of shifts today. It’s too early to say if I should just raise my shifter slightly, but I’m going to put a few thousand miles on them first on/off road before I decide.
The ankle flex is great. It’s something I really had to work on as I broke in my CTBs but is near perfect right out of the box with the Toucan.
COMPARISON: Again I don’t have a lot to compare it to but compared to the CTBs it’s night/day. Dimensionally they’re pretty close. They’re pretty much the same height but the top of the CTBs are a touch flatter compared to the Toucans. The Toucans are more rounded on the top of the foot.
The Toucans have a larger shin guard area which is pretty obvious considering the extra protection it provides over the CTBs, but the part that was a pleasant surprise is that they still fit under jeans, 5-11 style cargo pants, and all of my riding gear (Roadcrafter, BMW Rallye, and Aerostich Transit). Under jeans it does take a little work to get them over the shin guard. I wear loose fit jeans though vs. the latest skinny jeans. Not baggy but a little looser than 501s. Of course YMMV on the jeans.
Comfort was a big improvement. CTBs are notoriously tough to break-in. However after 15 yrs they were perfect. I can walk in them, set up camp after a long days ride, search for firewood, as well as, wear them all day at work which requires being on my feet for most of the day.
From the moment I put the Toucans on, they felt great. I might be exaggerating a little in saying they are as comfortable as my running shoes, but not by much. They are that comfortable from day one. After my first 100 miles in them, and going on 10 hrs of continuous wear, not one hot spot or area of discomfort. In fact I’m writing this review with them still on.
They are a little warm but not uncomfortably so, but that’s a very subjective thing.
CONCLUSION: Needing a new pair of boots, I was drawn to these because of the extra protection while riding, but also the walking comfort off the bike. High on the list was also the ability to resole and replace bits that wear out. I obviously keep my gear for a long time, so my intent was to find a boot that would last me another 15+ yrs. Waterproofness wasn’t as high on the list. I’m used to waterproofing my CTBs which are not ‘waterproof’, but with a little work and maintenance they’ve never leaked on me in driving rain or while walking through streams/rivers to scout out the best line. One thing I do like about the CTBs that very few boots in this category offer is a full leather lining….obviously it wouldn’t be gore-tex. IMO they breath the best, and the durability of a leather lining compared to other synthetic options is superior.
The Sidi Adventure Gore-Tex (because of the full grain leather), was high on the list, but I quickly remembered I don’t have SIDI feet. In the times I’ve tried on different SIDI boots in the past they’ve always been too narrow for my feet. I realize that the CTB is made by SIDI, but they must use a completely different kind of last, because they are very generous in width. The Gaerne Midland was also a consideration, but the extra protection of the Toucans w/o the downsides of off-bike use, made the difference for me. I wanted to get all the protection I could get while still keeping walking comfort.
If I had SIDI feet I may have gone that route. I personally think they look better than the Toucans and all the other features I was looking for are there also. I prefer the plainer toe box and more subdued look of the SIDI. But because the SIDIs were not an option, the Gaerne was going to be my second choice if the build quality of the Toucans was lacking. From what I hear Gaerne build quality is the bench mark in the high quality/consistency of their boots.
I am not sure if Alpinestar QC has improved or if I just got lucky, but I’m very impressed and happy with the Toucans. With all the positive reviews on this boot, my guess is Alpinestar’s quality issues aren’t nearly as bad as what is purported on the internet, but maybe still not as perfect as the other brands.
I hope to wear these a very long time. Thanks for reading and I hope this helps.
Ride: BMW GSAW
May 21, 2015