MXA TEAM TESTED: ALPINESTARS TECH 8 LIGHT BOOT
WHAT IS IT? Known as Alpinestars’ most popular motocross boot (it had long been Jeremy McGrath’s boot of choice), the Tech 8 has undergone a plethora of changes since its inception. The latest version, labeled the Tech 8 Light, boasts a revised bootie and buckle system?and it also went on a diet. The Tech 8 Light replaces the original Tech 8 for 2012.
WHAT’S IT COST? $459.95.
CONTACT? Your local dealer or www.alpinestars.com.
WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the Alpinestars Tech 8 Light boot.
(1) Updates. Alpinestars made three major updates to the Tech 8 Light boot.
(a) Weight. By reducing the fabric in the bootie and using a different material on the upper portion of the boot’s exterior, Alpinestars managed to decrease the overall weight of the Tech 8 Light.
(b) Bootie. The Tech 8 was the first motocross boot to incorporate a built-in bootie for added comfort and support. Alpinestars took their traditional bootie design and skeletonized it.
(c) Buckles. The Tech 8 Light has aluminum buckles, but the buckle shape has been redesigned for improved functionality.
(2) Weight. The old Alpinestars Tech 8 tipped the scales at 4.6 pounds (per boot), while the Tech 8 Light is 4.25 pounds. Where did Alpinestars trim the fat? The biggest weight savings came in the reshaped bootie, which shaved 1/5 pound per bootie. And, although it’s not very noticeable, the upper fabric material has been changed. The thickness is the same, but the microfiber is lighter than before. MXA testers noticed the decreased weight while riding and were happy with the overall feel. Although not in the same ballpark as the lightest premium boots on the market, the new Tech 8 Light is headed in the right direction.
(3) Bootie. Dubbed the “inner ankle sleeve” by Alpinestars, the bootie is constructed of leather and mesh paneling. There are two gel inserts in each bootie where the ankle bone protrudes. These shock absorbers are aimed at reducing the force of impact and increasing the cushion between the ankle and bike. Several test riders complained about the bulkiness caused by the inserts and chose to remove the gel padding, but most testers felt right at home in the new bootie design.
(4) Buckles. Eureka! Alpinestars finally updated the buckle design on the Tech 8 Light (the old buckles were over-engineered and failed to shut properly). The new buckles are foolproof in function and flawless in design. They lock in place and stay shut for the duration of the ride. We hope that Alpinestars transfers their new buckle system over to every other boot in their motocross lineup.
(5) Sizing. The boot sizing isn’t accurate, and we think it’s because of the revamped bootie. The lack of material around the bootie’s toe box resulted in a boot that’s a half-size larger. Testers who wore size 12 boots could comfortably fit into a size 11 Tech 8 Light.
(6) Sole. The MXA wrecking crew has harped on Alpinestars’ boot soles for years. The Italians constantly tried to upgrade to durable compounds but were never the industry leader. The Tech 8 Light has the same sole as the previous version. We like the welted and replaceable sole. It offers excellent grip on the dullest footpegs and lasts a reasonably long time.
WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? Two quibbles: (1) The sizing is slightly large. It’s best to try the boot on at your local motorcycle shop before shelling out $460. (2) Maybe it is just us, but the backwards facing buckles are still irritating after all these years.
This aged supermodel still looks great, and it even went on a diet! The Tech 8 Lights have the same great qualities as their predecessors, but they are more than a quarter-pound lighter.