Which boots do we use?
We're not journalists, we don't get access to unlimited amounts of jackets, pants, gloves and boots and we're not getting paid to write about them. We buy our own gear, use it and see what works for us and what doesn't. The list below is thus not overly long as it is our own gear, but not influenced by financial motivations either and we don't have a button linking you to a store where we could get a percentage from. It's simply our own unbiased opinion.
Before you read on, please remember that we are not enduro riders. We travel. Enduro style boots no doubt will work well for an enduro rider but walking on them, as you do when travelling, isn't their strong point. There are also quite a few motorcycle boots which look good but are pretty poorly made, don't give any protection and hamper your movement.
When we were living in Australia we bought a set of Rossi motorcycle boots. Rossi is one of the last (the last?) Australian boot maker. They are well known for their hiking boots in Oz. We used them on the first part of our around the world trip too and they took quite a beating. They were the first motorcycle boots I could actually walk on without looking like a Luke Skywalker who had just shit his pants… They are comfortable, lasted well and give proper ankle protection. Their only problem was water… for some reason they filled up in minutes but never let the water back out again! Riding in British Columbia, which should have been named Canadian Wales as the downpours we've had there were beyond comprehension, we got serious cold feet because of standing water water in our boots. We tried all sorts of sealant on them but nothing worked. On rainy days we had to revert to over-boots, horrible things...
In the end they were simply worn out and despite the water issues I was actually looking for a new pair, because of their comfort. You see as long as it wasn't raining I could ride and walk on them all day without sore feet or anything! Until then I had never had boots that good. Being far away from Australia though when they were up for replacement, meant we had to look for something else as shipping from Australia is seriously expensive (for some reason it's not when you want to send something to Australia… go figure).
As Rossi's had been so comfortable I looked for a proper boot maker in Europe which makes hiking boots and motorcycle boots, hoping for another pair I could actually walk on. We found AltBerg in the UK. Lovely people and very experienced in traditional boot making. Their story is inspiring and can be found under the History tab on their website. The owner rides a motorcycle himself and couldn't find proper motorcycle boots he liked… so he made his own. 'To be able to make proper boots, you first have to know how a foot works'. We had our feet measured, not only the length but also with, height and foot shape as your boots will be made to fit your feet. To cut a long story short, they are the best bike boots we've ever had. The Rossis are good but the AltBergs are on a whole new level. Although they are basically road orientated boots, we used the Roadrunner from Europe via Turkey, Georgia, Russia and Kazakhstan into Kyrgyzstan. They had to endure frozen roads with salt spray in Europe, extreme heat in Kazakhstan where we were standing on the pegs for 12hrs a day in 48°C and they were bombarded with stones in Kyrgyzstan. They protected Mike's feet when a hard pannier (yes we used them too in the past…) almost crushed his ankle (… which is one of the reasons we don't use them anymore!). His foot hit a hidden rock in Kazakhstan head on and yet protected his feet. We continued on into China, Pakistan, India, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia before hitting the Outback of Australia. They've had a hard life… obviously the leather looks a little worse for wear but… they survived it all, our feet survived it all, they are still very comfortable and we still use them. They'v been to the UK twice since and the TET in Sweden and Norway.
As much as we love them, we will replace them with another boot though… another AltBerg that is! In our quest for multifunctional gear we found their Hogg All Weather Microlite which is a cross between a motorcycle boot and a hiking boot. That means no need for an extra pair of boots to take with us and yet being able to stand on the pegs, have proper protection and be able to walk long distances on them too. They have been ordered… can't wait to try them out!