I managed to get a pair of the Durban boots to test last summer (link) and now that we’re in the depths of a particularly snowy and bleak winter here out east, I thought it was high time to write up a little something on what I thought of them.
During my tenure I’ve used the boots for a couple of long tours as well as a few off-road excursions on the trusty KLR, so I have a good feel for how they perform in their claimed environments.
Despite the largest available size being 13 and therefore one size too small for my boats, the Durban’s do seem to be made on the large size, and with the insoles removed I was able to squeeze my behemoths into place.
It must be said that they did remain on the tight side, although with the lower buckle set looser and thinner socks they remained comfortable. After an initial break-in they could be walked in too (though hiking boots they do not make).
They also fit snugly to the leg so they’re not a pants-in-boots set-up but that’s fine unless you hit a puddle at speed and then you’re liable to get a rather wet leg or two.
Talking of water, so far the boots have proven to be 100 per cent waterproof; the only time water did get in was when my so-called waterproof pants let go allowing rain water to soak my pants and then dribble down into the boots!
However, I find the real test for this kind of thing to be several seasons of abuse, which we can guarantee will occur. Hell, it’s February and they still have the mud on them from my last ride in November …
As speculated in the original piece, the sole insert that covers the arch of the foot is thick enough to make riding a bike with cleated pegs and all day comfortable affair. I was also surprised that the sole also offered some grip in muddy-ish conditions despite looking anything but.
So that’s a yes to Alpinestars’ claim for light-trails usage, though I have yet to hit anything hard with them so I cannot attest to the effectiveness of their built-in armour.
Comfy, waterproof and usable on the trails, what more do you need?
Well, the price is definitely on the steep side at $479.95 but the required quality seems to be there to help justify it. The only thing I couldn’t get my head around is why the Durban costs so much more than their Scout boot, which is very similar in spec but sells for a hefty $200 less.
According to Alpinestars, the main differences are that the Durban contains a Gore-Tex membrane, while the Scout uses an Alpinestars 100 per cent waterproof membrane. Also, the Durban is full grain leather while the Scout is PU coated leather.
Otherwise they appear to be the same but the Scout comes with a replaceable (and grippier) stitched sole which in my books is a big bonus.
But then maybe that’s a test for another day.