Motorfist Alpha Boot Review: First Impression on Snow 2018
Patrick Garbutt | On 28, Dec 2017
I like testing the best gear, because hey, who wants to test gear that could be better? So I had high expectations for the Motorfist Alpha Boot going in. It’s the best boot Motorfist produces—the lace-up Carbides and Stomper boots come in at a lower price point—and it’s had some improvements made from the prior generation. I’ve never tried the previous Alpha Boot so I can’t comment on those specific improvements, but I can tell you if the current model is any good. So let’s get started!
What I Like Right Away About the Motorfist Alpha Boot
Supportive, yet Flexible Enough for Good Movement
Before even putting the boots on, I could point out a design element that I liked right away. Although Motorfist claims that the Alpha Boot has a stiffer chassis than it used to, it’s still a bit flexy. And that’s a good thing. You have GOT to be able to flex your ankles when you’re riding in the mountains, otherwise you might as well be wearing casts on your legs. If you want to be able to perform, you have to be able to bend and flex those ankles to stay balanced and adapt to changing snow. Even if all you do is sit-down ride on trails and lakes—if you ever want your feet below your butt—flex-y ankles are where it’s at.
Quick, Customized Fit with Dual-Zone Boa Control
Out on the snow, another factor that really helped achieve the range of motion I need while riding is the Alpha Boot’s dual-zone BOA control. Dual-zone adjustment allows you to crank on the lower BOA so your foot doesn’t slop around inside the boot while tailoring the upper cuff zone separately so your ankle can actually do its job over its full range of motion.
BOA systems are by far the fastest and easiest way to get in and out of your boots. Some people don’t trust them because they are worried about the mechanism failing and becoming trapped in your boots. Sure, that can happen on very rare occasions. You could also die in a plane crash. Does that mean you’re going to start riding the bus across country? Probably not. BOAs are sweet.
On some other boots I’ve noticed it can be hard to get the BOA system tight enough. The Motorfist Alpha Boot BOA closure system has an improved 4:1 gear ratio, and I didn’t have a problem getting the boots nice and snug. The BOA makes it super easy to snug them up a little more as your feet settle in throughout the day.
The Motorfist Alpha Boot checks a lot of boxes. Warm? Check. Comfortable? Check. Waterproof? The boot comes with an eVent waterproof/breathable membrane. Waterproof so far and no reason to suspect otherwise. Check.
Look good? Who doesn’t like black? Check. The boot has a small D-ring for connecting to your pants/bibs/monosuit. Works like a charm. Durability? We’ll get back to you on that with our long-term review, but the boot looks bulletproof and so far so good.
One other factor of the Motorfist Alpha Boot that impressed me is the overall size. The boots are low-profile, which is great because they don’t get caught up in footwells or feel clunky. And they feel quite light! I don’t want a bunch of weight dragging me down when I’m frantically hopping around trying desperately not to pile my sled into an old-growth Doug fir, so that’s a big plus for me. The fit is true to US shoe sizing.
Now, What I Don’t Like
Slippery on Ice
The sole of the boot is really rugged, like a mud terrain tire. It’s got big, blocky lugs that are great for gripping running boards and stomping around in mixed snow. But, like a mud tire, these boots are not good on ice! That was a problem for me while walking around an exceptionally slippery parking lot my first day out with them. I nearly cased it about a dozen times!
However, parking lots in the mountains are usually more snowy and less icy, so I don’t think this will be a reoccurring problem. And it’s a non-issue once you start up the trail. But if for some reason you spend a lot of time walking around in really icy conditions (are you an ice fishing guide?), you might want to think twice.
While we’re talking about the sole, I couldn’t help but notice that it’s got a fairly tall, work-boot style heel on it. I don’t know why this is necessary. I can’t help but think that a lower heel would improve the interface between my foot and the sled. Having said that, I honestly didn’t notice any ill effects of the heel while riding, so maybe that’s a false assumption on my part.
Upper BOA placement
The only other thing I didn’t particularly love is the placement of the upper-zone BOA on the tongue of the boot. It’s mounted on a stiff plastic base near the cuff (just like BOA boots from TOBE, FXR, Klim, HMK, etc). Unfortunately the BOA mount can be felt slightly through the tongue when you’re flexing forward in the boot. That issue might resolve itself once the boots break-in a little more, but for now it’s slightly noticeable. However, the placement only becomes a problem when your shins slam into the sled, which tends to happen on rough downhills. After a few shin-ings, I started to wish the upper-zone BOA had been placed on the lateral side (outside) of the boot instead of the tongue. A minor gripe.
Motorfist Alpha Boot Review: First Impression on Snow
So far, the Motorfist Alpha Boot has been awesome. It’s got everything I want in a boot, and I have high hopes for its performance in the long run. Stay tuned for our long-term test to see how the waterproofing and durability hold up over the course of the season!
Technical info on the Alpha Boot can be found on the Motorfist website.