MXA PRODUCT TEST:
WHAT IS IT? The new AXO Dart boot is based on their high-end Prime boot, but redesigned for maximum value at a lower price. In motocross boots, there is a $300 difference between low-end and high-end boots. All ego and status aside, many MXA test riders believe that less expensive boots are a better choice for racers looking for a lighter, sleeker and more flexible boot. There is no doubt that the low-end boots of today are of comparable quality to the high-end boots from ten years ago.
AXO DART BOOT
WHAT’S IT COST? $184.99.
WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the AXO Dart boot.
(1) Buckles. The buckles function well when new. The straps offer a wide range of adjustment, and the angle of the buckle housing is adjustable with a Phillips head. After a few rides, the buckles can become more difficult to lock or unlock. When this happened to us, we realigned the angle of the housing. The best way to do this is to loosen the housing screws before putting the boots on. Once everything is naturally aligned, carefully unbuckle and tighten the housing screws. The Dart’s buckles and straps are replaceable.
(2) Protection/support. The open-cavity shin design, polyurethane-coated leather, perforated synthetics, and foam-backed synthetics of the outer construction of the Dart provide good protection against collisions in the front and adequate protection on the sides. The Dart’s meager allotment of material in the ankle area makes for quick break-in and good flexibility, but sacrifices support (there is little resistance to ankle-rolling movements).
(3) Sole. The molded midsole of the Dart provides moderate durability and grip, but sharper aftermarket pegs did some damage. A steel shank helps provide arch support over hard landings. On the downside, the insole felt flimsy, and several test riders complained that the base of the boot transmitted vibrations to their feet.
(4) Styling. Like the Prime, this boot stands out visually. From a few feet back you can’t tell the inexpensive Dart from its higher-class brother.
(5) Weight. At 4.1 pounds, the Dart definitely fights in the featherweight class. We liked the airy feel. The lack of weight can be felt on the track when sticking your leg out for turns and, more important, when accidentally catching a foot on the ground.
(6) Sizing. If you wear half-size (8-1/2, 9-1/2, etc.) shoes and medium-thick socks, you will probably want to round down to the nearest whole number. The Darts are available in sizes 5 through 14 in black or white.
WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? No major complaints, but several small quibbles about the buckle engagement and sole/ankle support.
The Dart’s bevy of features make it a good value for a rider looking for an attractive boot at an equally attractive price. For our tastes, we think the AXO Prime and its higher price are better for hardcore racers.