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I get a lot of emails on which boot should I choose. A Tech 7 or Tech 10? The answer is not as simple as you might think. I have recently switched back to a Tech 7 in the last few weeks so I thought I would write about my thoughts on each and which one might be better for you. Below is a quick evaluation of each boot and near the end of this article will be some info on why you may want to choose one or the other.
The Alpinestars Tech 7 is one of the more popular motocross boots in the states as it’s lucrative price point seems to gel more with the blue collar rider. The Tech 7 and 10 is designed and developed in Italy, but the Tech 7 is manufactured in Alpinestars’ facility in Asia in order to keep the cost down. In doing so, the Tech 7 comes in about $230 less than the company’s top-line boot, the Tech 10. The most noticeable difference between the two is the fact that the Tech 10 uses an inner bootie, while the Tech 7 does not. The Tech 7 boot features several flex points and four aluminum buckles on plastic straps (instead of 3, like the Tech 10). There is also a Velcro closure at the top with a gaiter for sealing. The Tech 7 has undergone some changes in the past couple years which include a redesigned dual-compound sole, as well as the instep and the Achilles accordion flex zone.
The Tech 7 requires almost no break-in as it will literally take a moto or two to get used to the feel of the boots on the track. The pivot and flex zones are well thought out, so you can unbox them for the first time on the morning of a race and have no problem. Another bonus is the fact that they are easy to put on, even for those of us with bigger calves/ feet. This is often a problem with inexpensive boots; manufacturers will resize the foot compartment for larger feet but use the same upper section. That means you can’t get your foot through the ankle opening or secure the top of the boot, but not so with the Tech 7. The Tech 7s are easy to put on and once the four buckles are fastened, they fit well and are comfortable. Sizing of the Tech 7 are true to size. I wear a size 10 and the Tech 7s fit just like my Tech 10s due, but with a slightly more ankle room.
In terms of shape, the Tech 7s fall right between Sidis, with a narrow toe box and Gaerne SG-12’s, which are wider. I still think if you have a wider foot, you can still appreciate the toe box area as well as how protective that area is when hitting objects on the track or trail. Protection is outstanding even without the inner bootie. I am more of an inner bootie type of rider, but not having one with the Tech 7 didn’t leave me wishing for more ankle protection. The sole is moderately flexible and wears very well. This is always a difficult balance; too much rigidity and you can’t feel the shifter or brake pedal, too much flex and the footpegs can beat your feet into submission very quickly. Wear can also be an issue with softer boot soles, but the Tech 7s have tougher material right where the footpeg comes in contact with the soles as well as a steel shank. The sole and footpeg inset are replaceable, which is nice if you plan on living with these boots for more than a couple seasons. I like that the inside grip material on the Tech 7 actually works when squeezing the spars of the frame and do not wear as quickly as my Tech 10 inner grip panels.
Once my foot slipped into the Tech 10 it felt snug enough in all the right places, but the area that I felt the Tech 10’s needed help in was “break in” and flex in the ankle. A few summers ago when I tested the first version of the new Tech 10’s I couldn’t even move my feet or feel the shifter/brake pedal. It was like wearing a cast and I was feverishly looking for the older Tech 10’s like a child looking for candy. The latest Tech 10 is not as tall as the old boot, but that never really came into play (good or bad) when I rode with them.
It still takes a little long to break in the Tech 10’s compared to the 7’s (one full riding day or 4-5 engine hours compared to the same day with the 7’s), but once broken in I felt like I could bend my ankles freely, feel the shifter and brake pedal without an issue. The Tech 10 is still on the stiffer side compared to Gaerne’s/Sidi’s/Instinct’s as well as the 7’s, but I have grown to appreciate the support that I am getting when I send it off jumps to flat or come up short. There is more plastic to the new Tech 10 than the older one and that results in a lighter weight boot, but not as light as the 7’s. When pinching with my legs I get more locked in with the Tech 10’s versus the 7’s as the grip on the side of the 10s are better for squeezing. This is something that some of you may not notice, but to me was worth noting.
A huge plus for me with the Tech 7 is that it doesn’t get water logged and or heavy as quickly as the Tech 10. The Tech 10 can get heavy after a few months of washing but the Tech 7s DO NOT. The toe box is taller on the Tech 10s than the Tech 7’s and that could take some time to get used to if you’re coming from either side. The high impact, cold forged aluminum buckle system is easy to adjust and can actually close shut or open even when muddy.
The Tech 10 boots are a little more comfortable on hard landings and have an incredible soft feeling sole compare to the Tech 7. The shock absorbing quality of these boots are second to none and the older I get the more I appreciate this. My ankles and feet have never been sore after a long day of riding with the new Tech 10’s (or the 7’s for that matter). The Tech 10’s weigh in at roughly 8.8 pounds and while they are still not the lightest boot on the market (Fox Instincts hold that honor), the protection I do feel on the track is so good I am willing to overlook the heavier feeling with the Tech 10’s.
One other standout of the Tech 10 is that if you don’t ride on the balls of your feet—like you should—the sole will feel a little awkward because it is shaped to almost make you ride on the balls of your feet. I don’t know if Alpinestars designed the sole to help the rider in this aspect, but I like that this boot helps proper rider technique! When standing on the pegs it feels as if the front and rear of the sole is raised, and this makes you ride in that sweet spot (the balls of your feet). It took sometime to get used to this feeling when I first started riding in these boots, but now it’s second nature to me and forces me to ride like we all should. When I ride with other boots I really have to pay attention to scoot my feet back on the pegs, but with the Tech 10’s my feet get in the correct position much easier.
So Which One’s Should You Purchase?
Here’s the deal… If you like a lighter feeling boot go with the Tech 7. If you need a little more protection and a tighter/more secure feel around the ankle, go with the Tech 10. The Tech 10’s will last you longer than the Tech 7 (integritry of boot) but the Tech 7 is a little more comfortable for me to wear on a long hot day. The Tech 10 is the pinnacle of the boot world, but not all of us need all of that boot. Some of us can get by with the Tech 7 and that technology/support is just fine for me and I ride 5 days a week. The cost is also a factor. A Tech 7 is $379.95 compared to $619.95 for the Tech 10’s so you’ll be getting a slightly less ankle protection for almost 250 bucks less. Now, I have good ankles and feet, so not going for the full protection doesn’t hinder me. If you do have some ankle/feet problems then go with the Tech 10’s as they will give you a more secure feel. The Tech 7’s also weigh in just over 1.1 pounds lighter than the Tech 10s but when the Tech 10s get more worn as you wash them, they get waterlogged more than the Tech 7s. If you power-wash your boots, make sure you hang dry them upside down on a safety cone or something so they don’t get waterlogged as quickly. I am not usually good at this but now that I know that boots do get heavier over time, I will watch out for this more. Overall, both boots are excellent and I will go back and forth with each over the next few months but to me the Tech 7 is a great boot for the price!
Winner Of Particular Categories:
Feeling Secure: Tech 10
Lightweight Feel: Tech 7
Grip: Tech 10
Sole/Peg Feel: Tech 7
Sealing: Tech 10
Sole Wear: Tech 10
Durability: Tech 10
Comfort: Tech 7
Buckles: Tech 10 (Because there is less of them per boot)
Sizing: Both are true to size