Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Alt-Berg boots after 35,000 km review

Motorcyclists have a strange tendency to be very undemanding when it comes to selecting motorcycle footwear. Quite a few people simply jump on a bike wearing nothing but normal, and often quite cheap, walking shoes. Yet when you think about it, our feet are one of the most complex parts of our body. There are no less than 26 bones and 33 joints in every human foot which can break and are very difficult to set and heal. Our feet are also quite often the first point of contact in a crash... and yet we don't want to spend money on proper boots. Boots which can make the difference between walking or a wheelchair.

When our Rossi boots were up for replacement, we wanted something much better. They had to provide proper protection, be waterproof and comfortable both on and off the bike. By pure luck I found an article about a traditional boot maker from Yorkshire, called Alt-Berg. The story was intriguing but the determination of the man who started it all, and still runs it today, showed an unquestionable love for making good boots. 'Good to read there are still people who do things just because they love it' I thought. 

Alt-Berg is known for top quality hiking boots, but... the owner also rides a motorcycle! Of course he couldn't find any properly made motorcycle boots and thus started making his own. I've written about Alt-Berg before here. It's a story well worth reading, one of the classic 'never give up' cases whereby one man had a vision and against the odds did the impossible. We're glad he did as we're enjoying the boots he made!

Just about 35,000 km later we love them even more than we did then. The quality of workmanship is second to none and they don't show any signs of being used at all. Despite having used them in all sorts of weather and not exactly under favourable conditions. After all, our boots hardly get time to dry after rain as we are camping. We have used them from -10°C to +38°C too. Did we have sweaty feet? You bet! And yet they are still comfortable to wear. At the end of the day we pitch the tents first, stash all our gear in the tents and only then do we take our boots off. Sometimes we don't even take them off until we go to bed, simply because they are so comfortable.

The most amazing thing to me however is that they are waterproof... I know there are quite a few motorcycle boots for sale which promise being waterproof, but in well over 30 years of motorcycling these are the first which actually are waterproof. So we don't need overboots anymore, which are dangerous and horrible things. As I found recently, the sole allows me to stand on the pegs on bad roads without getting sore feet. But most importantly they saved Mike's ankle and foot when he fell on that bridge in Norway and his foot became trapped under the corner of the pannier. Had he not had these boots then it would have been hospital.

We love these boots and we love the people making them! They are not just good boots, they are better than good.