Waterproof Boots Put To Motorcyclist Test

Old-School Alpinestars and High-Tech ADV TCX X-Blend Boots Face Off

Just as motorcycles have split and fragmented into dozens of categories, so too has the gear we wear. Now, instead of having to choose a category for function or a category for style, there is a bit of everything available. Take these two pairs of boots for example: One model protects your shins, and the other protects your delicate fashion sense. Both, however, are thoroughly waterproof and made explicitly for riding motorcycles.

waterproof boots
Stout enough for serious ADVing and comfortable enough for the straight bits in between off-road sections. (Bottom) High on style, so-so on protection, the X-Blends bring a few key modern features to the classic work-boot design. (Top)Jon Whittle

Alpinestars Corozal Adventure Drystar Boots - Buy Them Now!
Having the word "adventure" in the name should tell you the basic concept behind the Corozals. They're designed to have the tall chassis and protection of off-road boots but offer the all-day comfort of touring footwear. The Corozals are an evolution of Alpinestars' Tucans, which have been a staff favorite ever since I spent a week riding off road in rainy Alaska and came home with feet intact and socks dry. These kicks are more of the same, and that's a good thing.

The boots combine hard plastic panels and synthetic leather for protection and durability, yet the Corozals are quite comfortable for walking. They’re also remarkably light. For waterproofness, the Corozals are fully lined with Drystar, Alpinestars’ version of Gore-Tex, which, in our experience, is just as waterproof, though perhaps a bit less breathable.

The Corozals are well padded and cozy. With that comes a little bulk and a bit too much insulation in warmer weather. So, you won’t catch us wearing the Corozals casually, but if the ride calls for long hours in the saddle, rough terrain, or stepping in and out of ankle-deep water, there are arguably no four better buckles to fasten.

TCX-Blend Waterproof Boots - Buy It Now!
Not long ago, a well-built set of engineer boots was considered solid riding apparel. A generation before that, over-the-ankle leather boots with laces were the choice of top racers. We've learned by now that we can do better, but for more casual protection (or maybe just nostalgia) there are the X-Blend boots. They're made from "full-grain vintage leather," which I take to mean they look vintage, not that the leather is actually old. Inside is a waterproof liner, as well as armor built around the heels, toes, and ankles.

TCX’s claim that these boots are for “urban-to-rural casual riders” goes to show that even the company admits the X-Blends weren’t designed as long-haul footwear. That said, I wore them during a grueling, three-day off-road rally in Colorado, and they have since served as commuting footwear. Off road, they proved totally waterproof and just robust enough to protect from stubbed toes or twisted ankles. Around town, the X-Blends are incredibly comfy—so much so that they’ve remained on all day once I arrived at the office.

As for that “vintage leather,” it started life with a stylish patina and it just keeps getting better with age.