FORGOTTEN MOTOCROSS TECH: AIR-COOLED MOTOCROSS BOOTS

Motocross history is filled with examples of creative ideas that were heralded as groundbreaking, but, because of the rapid rate of change in development, sank into the swamp of forgotten technology. Although some are best left abandoned, others were truly innovative (if not ultimately successful). MXA loves to reveal motocross’ tech trivia. Do you remember this idea? Air-cooled motocross boots.

Motocross boots have changed dramatically over the last 50 years, but there was one boot innovation that was never fully developed or accepted by the racing public. In 1986, several boot companies introduced air-cooled boots at the exact same time. The idea to reduce the heat inside the boot never caught on. We present the two best know air-cooled boots of the 1980s, but there were several more.

The Alpinestars Ventil-Action was slotted and weighed only 3.1 pounds.

The Alpinestars Ventil-Action boot was a standard-issue leather motocross boot with a plastic-clad upper. It featured three ventilation grills (with six slots in them) and multiple slots molded into the boot’s upper. Theoretically, air would enter through the toe box and two ankle grills and exit through the upper slots. To help this happen, the liner of the boot was made from a mesh material that allowed for some air movement.


The 1986 AXO Air System boot.

More refined and complex was the AXO Air System boot, which in 1986 looked very much like a modern-day boot. Its most unique feature was a molded scoop on the boot’s upper that drew air into the boot, where it was designed to migrate down and exit via vents in the rear of the boot.

The down-side of air-cooled boots was that if air could get in so could water.

The idea of cooling the rider’s feet was appealing enough for these two powerhouse boot manufacturers to invest in it, but if air could come in, then so could water and dirt. In an MXA airflow test, it was discovered that air did not circulate from the intake ducts to the outlet vents but instead just went in the vicinity of the intake duct and no further.

 

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