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ThrottleJock 03-28-2012 08:07 AM

Trials boots that offer the most "feel"?
Hi guys, newbie here. Been riding my new-to-me Raga around for a few weeks and trying different foot protection out; I haven't sprung for a set of dedicated trials boots yet. Here's what I've learned:

I have zero feel/control in my motocross boots. Brake is either 100% off or 100% on if I'm lucky enough to hit it at all. They suck.

I tried my well-worn set of Alpinestars GP Plus roadrace boots. These have 4yrs worth of street riding, roadracing, and track days on them and they're beat to a wonderful, glove-like, soft, and compliant pulp. I ride trials in these exclusively now, as it's sort of like being barefoot but protected. I can feel everything, the ends of the pegs, precisely where and how hard I'm pressing on the brake, etc. They're awesome. But I'm ruining them. Poor boots went from a life of controlling immaculately clean Ducati's on a race track to slopping around in the mud and mire on a trials bike. I feel like they're mad at me and now I need to retire them and buy a "real' trial boot.

So my question is... now that I'm completley hooked on a boot setup that has nearly endless "feel", what's my best bet to replicate that flexibility and fit in a trials boot? Gaerne? Novagar? Sidi?

Appreciate your advice, this forum has been a huge help to getting me (or at least my feet) off the ground.

walstibsf 03-28-2012 08:24 AM

My bike shop talked me into trying a set of the Gaerne "oiled" trials boots. Man, This guy has always shot me straight, so OK.

Best move I ever made. They are comfortable. I have to remind myself to take them off after riding(all day sometimes). AND the feel for brake control is outstanding IMHO....

What more could I ask for? Guess they'll never be free:D

Good luck and laters.....


lamotovita 03-28-2012 08:31 AM

Any Trials specific boot should give you the feel you need. The most popular brands in the USA seem to have been Alpinestar and Gaerne in recent years, Recently the SIDI Trial Zero boots have become available here, I expect that they are top notch and will probably try them next.

motojunky 03-28-2012 10:51 AM

I was originally using some old Sidi street boots that are very similar in protection to my Alpinestars roadrace boots. I loved the feel but just wasn't comfortable with the level of protection. I recently purchased a pair of Alpinestars No-Stop trials boots and am very happy with them. It took a few rides for them to break in to where I liked the level of feel and I think they have a reasonably high level of protection.

Buying trials boots is a little bit of a crap-shoot unless you're one of the few lucky enough to have a local dealer with boots in stock. My parts guy could get the A-stars and that factored heavily into my decision. The Gaerne seems to be the most popular choice in my area followed by the Alpinestar and then the Novogar. I don't think you can really go wrong with any of them. I think that the Gaerne is pretty well regarded as "the best."

The Sidi sounds interesting - I love my Sidi MX boots and the aforementioned street boots. I'm curious to see a pair in person.

Good luck!

As an aside, it pains me to think about the total cost of the 4 pair of boots I mentioned owning in this post. :lol3

AteamNM 03-28-2012 12:29 PM

Sidi will be the most comfortable and likely the best made trials boots. But any trials specific boot will be great once they are broke in a bit. First ride in a new boot, submerge in water - saturated. Ride them for a while while wet. They will break in perfectly for your foot and the next ride will feel great. Also use Snow Seal or similar on the seems and all leather. They will last a while. I bought my son a pair of Fox boots, a hybrid type of off road boot and they go way up his leg, not ideal trials boots but they were like $90 bucks on



lineaway 03-28-2012 02:51 PM

2whlrcr 03-28-2012 04:42 PM

I have used the Sidi Discovery Rain boots with good sucess. Once they are well broken in, I think they make decent trials or trail riding boots. I've had several pairs of trials specific boots, the latest being Hebo's, but I'm never comfortable with the lack of protection they offer. Seems I'm always bashing my toes and the Discovery's have heavier leather.

walstibsf 03-29-2012 03:24 AM

The Gaerne's were instant literal "out of the box" comfort. I picked them up on my way to go riding. They had me doing the "where have YOU been" thing first time out.

joe cool 03-29-2012 07:22 AM

+ on the Gaerne oil balance boots. You could walk the entire earth in these right out of the box.:wink:

motorcyclemark 03-29-2012 08:03 AM

Gaerne ballance, feel perfect right out of the box. If you get the oil model you will have to treat the leather on a regular basis but well worth it.

wilkinsonk 03-29-2012 10:01 PM


Originally Posted by AteamNM (Post 18325308)
Sidi will be the most comfortable and likely the best made trials boots.


As indicated here and in many other threads, your going to get a lot of different opinions on trials boots. I'm not differing with Tony's statement above, on the high-end of the market all of the boots are going to be very well made. Both Sidi and Gaerne are Italian and make great boots/shoes for a number of different sports. What you may not get in most conversations is how the boots fit (i.e. what kind of foot shape are they made to).

To the best of my knowledge Sidi makes footwear to a narrower foot profile, what I'd call a European foot. That's not to say that all Euros have narrow feet, just that the footwear manufacturers decided that the narrow foot was the average foot in their market. When I raced bikes I thought Sidi was the shizzle. All of my idols wore them and they had just the amount of bling factor that an impressionable young guy needed to impress the ladies at the races (it doesn't hurt to be fast either). Anyway, for a few years I raced in Sidi until one day I tried on a friend's Carnac, the brand made famous by Greg Lemond. It was like night and day. All of a sudden I realized that the Sidi and Diadora and other shoes were all too narrow for me. The Carnac shoe was built on a wider last and fit my feet 100% better. I just never realized that I had confined my feet to the wrong last. A lot of climbing boots are also built on the narrow last and I went through a few different brands before coming across La Sportiva.

Gaerne makes a boot with a wide forefoot, what I'd call an American foot (although I'd wager the Australians have on average a similarly wide foot). The difference between Sidi and Gaerne moto boots (like the Crossfire and SG12) is about the same for me as the Sidi and Carnac cycling shoes. In both cases the boot/shoe was of excellent build quality but made for different shaped feet.

It boils down to whether you have a narrow, mid, or wide foot. You wear Sidi road boots, so you may find the Sidi trials boots fit you well (or Alpinestars for that matter, which I find a little on the narrow side). Or you may find that like me you wore a narrower shoe/boot for a long time simply because you had not been exposed to another, perhaps better, option.

I think that any trials boot is going to give you as good a "feel" for the pegs as your road boots. Some may be a little more sensitive than other, but they're all going to be more sensitive than street shoes (although maybe not as sensitive as a good pair of Vans or flip flops or bare feet, but you have to draw the line somewhere).

Good luck in your search.

ThrottleJock 03-30-2012 07:21 AM

This is awesome information guys, thanks for taking the time to respond.

I'm in love with my Alpinestars road boots, though I've not been in love with their motocross boots. All motocross boots hurt though, I think that's just the way they're built. They're too stiff when new, then they break in and get weird hot spots where the thick leather bends. In cycling shoes I've always worn diadora's after trying just about everything BUT Sidi's (I was always too cheap to spring for a pair). I think I'll try a set of the Gaerne's and if they don't fit right I'll sell 'em to my dad and spring for the Sidi's. Same size foot, both into bikes. Very convenient!

wilkinsonk 03-30-2012 07:42 AM


Originally Posted by ThrottleJock (Post 18339557)
I'm in love with my Alpinestars road boots.

I stand corrected! How did I end up thinking you were wearing Sidi boots previously? No bother. As far as the Gaerne boots are concerned, the Balanced Oiled fit like a glove (if the fit) right out of the box. My Gaerne SG12 moto boots also fit very well right out of the box, especially compared to A-stars.

- Ken

ThrottleJock 03-30-2012 09:42 AM


Originally Posted by wilkinsonk (Post 18339715)
I stand corrected! How did I end up thinking you were wearing Sidi boots previously? No bother. As far as the Gaerne boots are concerned, the Balanced Oiled fit like a glove (if the fit) right out of the box. My Gaerne SG12 moto boots also fit very well right out of the box, especially compared to A-stars.

- Ken

The oiled Gaerne's look so cool too. That's got to count for something. :D

Gordy 04-02-2012 02:08 PM

I may be too late here but I just got a week in with my new Alpinestar "No Stop" (or something like that) trials boots and they are great.
Good feel, better shin protection than the Gaerne (taller) and the soles are fantastic for traction when walking a section.

I have been using Gaernes but got tired of the sole peeling off from the front. The Alpinestars are molded up and around the front.
I have no idea how they will wear, but most guys around here say that the leather around the ankle will wear out before the soles. :dunno

Oh yeah, like all trials boots, they are expensive as hell for what you are getting. :cry

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