Motorfist Alpha Boot Review – Long-Term Test 2018
Fit and Comfort9.5
Patrick Garbutt | On 11, Jun 2018
So after a full season of riding in the Alpha Boot in Winter 2018, it’s time to tell you what’s good, what’s bad and everything in-between, here in our long-term Motorfist Alpha Boot Review.
Motorfist Alpha Boot Review – Long-Term Test
Fit is arguably the most important aspect of a snowmobile boot. If you’re slopping around inside a pair of boots, that’s going to translate into poor control of the machine. Without good control of your snowmobile, you’ll be fighting it all day to get it where you want it. And that means you’ll be damn tired by home time. So fit not only plays a role in your comfort, but more importantly in your ability to ride and your overall stamina. That’s pretty important.
This is where the Alpha Boot’s dual-boa tightening system comes in handy. You can independently adjust the snugness of the foot area and the ankle/calf area. That’s awesome. I personally prefer to have a very snug foot zone so my foot isn’t sliding around, toes smashing into the front of the boot on downhills. Meanwhile, I like to leave the upper zone a little less tight for easy ankle flexion and mobility. The Motorfist Alpha Boot pulls this off very nicely. A lace boot simply cannot do this.
Another point worthy of mention is that the boa, with its 4:1 gear ratio does a good job of pulling the boot tight. Not all boa boots are equal in this regard.
The fit is very comfortable for me personally. As always, we recommend that you try-before-you -buy, so you can test the fit for your own foot shape. The boot does however fit true to US Shoe Sizing as a guide.
Regardless of how well they start out, all boots will eventually lose their waterproofness eventually. This is simply a function of their usable life. However, I’m happy to report that after a season of use, the Alpha Boot is still 100% waterproof.
The boot features an eVent brand waterproof and breathable membrane. Nice to know, but the point of this review is not so much to regurgitate product information that can be found on the manufacturer’s website, but rather to let you know how well it works. The answer is, it works great.
I know this because I had the unfortunate experience of accidentally parking my sled in an overly-deep puddle this winter. Extrication required standing ankle deep in icy cold water for several minutes while we made a plan, attached pulling straps and yanked it out.
The result was that not a single drop of water made it inside the boots. I guess that means they are plenty adequate for regular use in snow, and they have proven to be just that.
The Alpha Boot features 800g Primaloft insulation. I have no idea what this means in terms of temperature rating, nor do I really care since I personally think temperature ratings are pretty bogus anyway. What I do know for sure is that they are plenty warm enough for riding during an average winter in Interior BC. Not once did I feel like I had cold feet, and there were a few cold days out there to be sure.
The insulation isn’t overkill like you’ll find in some other snowmobile boots. For example, these probably aren’t rated to -50ºC like some boots claims to be. By why on God’s green earth would you want to go sledding in -50ºC anyway? That accounts for exactly 0.0000% of the average mountain rider’s use. The Alpha Boot is built with just the right amount of insulation to keep you warm and cozy without adding unnecessary bulk and weight to justify an extreme temperature rating.
Okay, this is where the Motorfist Alpha Boot review takes a bit of a nose-dive. The sole on the boot is beefy, with big, chunky cutouts. So far, so good. They work awesome on runnings boards and for walking around in loose snow. The sole does provide a little bit of feel on the running boards. Yet it remains thick enough for good protection.
However! The soles are shit on flat, icy surfaces. Imagine a frozen lake. Or a packed, smooth parking lot. The floor of your mudroom. The surface of your sled deck. Or your enclosed trailer. You get the idea. You’ve got to tread lightly on these surfaces. I nearly bailed many times on these this winter. However, when I remembered to treat flat, smooth surfaces with respect, the slippery nature of the sole became manageable. So if your normal use includes more time walking around on flat surfaces than riding, this might be a dealbreaker for you. Otherwise, it’s just something to be aware of.
The Alpha Boot features rubber toe and heel caps. These are great for preventing damage to the boot, especially when kicking snow out of running boards. The sole has held up nicely, with just a few minor scrapes but nothing of consequence. The boots are in great condition and still look good after one season of use.
I’d like to say, “who cares” and move on. But some people care. So here you go.
All three variations of the Alpha Boot are primarily black. If black is good enough for Johnny Cash, it’s good enough for you. The least flashy of these has some grey highlights on it. The other two have either bright orange or neon green. They’re actually pretty cool looking I think, especially if the highlights match the colour scheme of your Arctic Cat. There’s also a bit of a Storm Trooper vibe about them, which is kind of neat.
Boa Placement Could Be Better
The upper-zone boa is placed on the top of the boot tongue. Although this placement is very common on boa-closure boots, I wish it was elsewhere. For example the lateral cuff of the boot. The reason is that the boa base can be felt on the shin slightly through the tongue of the boot. And when you invariably smash your shin on the body panel of your sled (say, going downhill), the boa is driven into your shin. Not awesome. I know, I know—just be a better rider, right?
I actually broke off one of the faceplates on the upper-boa this way. The good news is that the damage was completely cosmetic. The boa still works perfectly without it. This is likely due to the fact that the boa is pretty well protected by plastic bumpers above and below the dial. All things considered, this is a pretty minor gripe.
D-Ring is Small
The Motorfist Alpha has a D-ring for securing the gaiter of your pants/bibs/monosuit. This crucial feature prevents your pants from riding up your leg when you step in deep snow. The only problem is that the D-ring itself is quite small. Too small in fact to allow a snap (which is the most common fixture on pants/bibs) to pass through easily. I had to resort to looping my pant attachment point around one of the boa wires. This worked out okay, but it isn’t an ideal solution.
The Motorfist Alpha Boot runs CAD $489.99. That’s right up there with premium offerings from the other brands (and on the lower end of that spectrum even). So that makes the Alpha Boot very good value for a top-of-the-line product.
Motorfist Alpha Boot Review Conclusion
I love the performance of the Alpha Boot. It provides everything I want in a boot for mountain sledding. In fact, I liked the boots so much that I used them for all kinds of winter activities including shovelling the driveway, taking the kids tobogganing, winter hikes and more.
They’re comfortable and extremely functional. What more could you want? Well, I think there’s a tiny bit of room for improvement in terms of sole grip, boa placement and D-ring function. But none of these minor complaints is a dealbreaker for me. In fact, the Motorfist Alpha Boot has overall been my favourite snowmobile boot that I’ve worn to date, and for that reason it comes highly recommended.