The Aerostich Combat Touring boots I’d requested last year arrived too late for my big ride to Alaska and the American mid west.
Fortunately, like the proverbial rolling stone, I rarely gather moss and now have put about 10,000 km on the boots, including my annual winter ride to Daytona Beach. I feel I now have enough time in the boots to give a more thorough evaluation.
I’d only ridden in brief showers prior to my trek to Daytona and had found the boots to be watertight in light rain conditions. On the return from Daytona, however, I rode for five hours in heavy rain before it turned to snow and I chose to stop for the night. (Sissy! – Ed.) During the deluge, I intentionally did not use the waterproof boot covers fitted to my Darien pants so I could assess how the boots would fare in biblical flood conditions. In heavy rain, there was eventually minor leakage – not enough to give that squelch, squelch feeling as I walked into the motel but my socks were damp when I took the boots off. The boots were not soaked through, however, and dried quickly over night.
It was -22° C in Toronto when I left for Daytona so I fitted my Gerbing heated insoles and wore heavy woolen socks. Unfortunately, the plug for the insoles became disconnected somewhere deep inside my riding gear (being an idiot I’d forgotten to tape it) and the insoles weren’t functioning. I rode south for twelve hours straight in temperatures below 0° C so it was an excellent, although unplanned, cold weather test. With just the woolen socks, my feet were cold, but not cold enough to make me want to stop and try to fix the insoles. Maybe next year I’ll just double up on the socks.
Ten more hours the following day and I was leaving footprints in the sand on Daytona Beach in + 25° C. The boots are a bit warm in hotter conditions but breathe reasonably well and my feet were never sweat-soaked.
Fully broken in now, the boots are really comfortable to ride in with one noticeable exception. One I arrived in Daytona and switched to shorter socks for the hot weather, I found the Aerostich label sewn onto the inside calf area chafed badly against my leg. The stitching and edge of the label may soften with more use, but in the meantime I’ll have to wear taller than average socks.
The boots are comfortable to walk in, but can be a little awkward when climbing or descending stairs because of the stiff sole. I’m assuming this will improve slightly with additional use but they are riding boots, not walking boots, and the stiff sole is appreciated while riding, especially when standing on the pegs.
Luckily I still haven’t had to test the crash protection capabilities of the boots, but I have banged my shins into the footpegs numerous times riding off-road and really appreciate the heavy-duty construction in this area.
Having used the boots extensively now I can say they are very easy to live with day to day. Easy to put on and take off, comfortable, low maintenance, and they don’t even smell yet – what more can you ask for? The speedlace getting caught up in the Velcro closure for the front flap is still annoying so I may opt for laces made from a different material (Aerostich offer some).
The wedge sole continues to impress with good traction on pavement and reasonable ‘bite’ even in deep sand and mud.
The “Combats” do look a little too “Dakar” in the city making you feel like one of those clowns that wears spandex to ride their bicycle to the mall, but hey, some folks are into that. I just pull my jeans down over them and try not to look too militant.
It’s still a little early (my other boots have close to 250,000 km on them) but the Aerostich boots are holding up well; the finish hasn’t worn off anywhere and there’s no noticeable wear on the sole. The uppers have got more flexible with use but are not at all floppy. The only noticeable deterioration is the fraying of the laces from continuously getting caught up in the Velcro.
The more I wear these boots the more I like them, I’m sure they will serve me well for years to come.
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