The 180 boot is Fox’s brand new offering for 2018. The 180 boot comes in at a lower price point than the Instinct and has a couple new features we haven't seen yet from a mid line boot. Completely redesigned and built off of one of my favorite boots to wear, the Instinct, the 180 boot aims at getting the rider a precise performance fit at a lower cost. Some of the features of the 180 boot is a floating cuff system that aims to provide lateral support & fluid linear movement while locking out before the hyperextension of ankle, aTPU shin plate, calf guard, heel cap & full toe coverage, an exclusive silicone closure system on shin plate allows the shin to flex with the motion of the boot, a rubber medial and burn guard provides excellent grip, a rubber outsole with internal steel shank, two Instinct style lower buckles for a secure zero heel lift fit and a break in period that aims to give the rider instant step-in comfort. The Fox 180 boot comes in four different colorways and a MSRP of $249.95.
The floating cuff system allows the boot to move naturally while riding on the bike, but also locking out to prevent hyperextension.The closure system is also designed for support and rider movement with 3 closures: two lower Instinct buckles to lock-in your fit, plus Fox’s exclusive silicone strap at the calf, the boots are designed to fit ultra-snug while providing flexibility where you need it. To get the boots on, set the two lower buckles using the set-it-and-forget-it memory settings, and pull the top closed with the silicone strap. The silicone strap has four size settings for a precise fit just in case you have calves like Gary Sutherlin (that is big, just know this). When it comes to coverage, the 180 boot has plastic plates at the shin, calf, heel and toe box. The rubber medial and burn guards are there to provide maximum grip and long-lasting durability.
So what does all this mean in the real world of riding? Well…On some mid level pricepoint boots at times the feeling that I come away with is that I don’t get the protection I am looking for when riding. The boot is either so stiff I can’t feel the shifter and brake pedal or they break down so quick I feel like I am wearing a pair of Vans when I land from a jump. I was leery about the silicone strap system when I heard about it from Fox, but I can say with confidence that it’s a very good system. Once my foot was in my size 11 boots and both buckles and silicone strap were secure, it stayed that way over the course of every ride I took them on. It's wide enough for my foot and does not create any hot spots while I ride. 180 boot is true to size and fits similar to the Instinct. In fact I feel like I can get a snugger fit with the 180 boots than I can with the Instincts. The bottom buckles can seize up after some use so make sure to have some WD-40 on hand to give them the spritz every now and again. As far as the top strap, just know this. I am on board with the silicone strap people! Don’t be surprised to see more of this on other boots as well in the future. It's easy to take on and off, never gets seized up, will not get clogged with mud and gives me a snug enough fit around my shin plate (which I like). However, the one draw back is that if you are in the heat of battle and someone runs it in on you and hits your boot, it could be more susceptible to un-latching itself. This didn't happen to me when my buddies thought it was funny to play take out one day, but I can possibly see this happening in some extreme cases. The break in period is a little longer than the Instinct, but not so bad that you can’t feel the brake pedal or shifter on the very first outing. The Instincts are good to go out of the box, so it’s tough to hold a candle to those.
Once riding I felt the Duratac rubber sole had tons of traction and found it very easy to get locked down in on your pegs. The sole is “very grabby and sticky”, but it does take some getting used to. The sole is on thicker side on the 180, but once you ride in them a couple days you will begin to get used to it. After spending a lot of time landing hard off jumps, my ankles were in one piece and not sore the next day. Like I said earlier, when going down in pricepoint on some boots you can lose protection, but with the 180 boots that never happened. The toe box feels feels bigger than the Instincts, but I never really noticed it while riding. The inside rubber burn guards have great traction against aluminum and steel frames and gave me a positive feel while gripping the bike. The 180 boots are slightly heavier than the Instincts at almost 10 pounds per pair, but that doesn't correlate when you ride in them. They feel light and the only negative that I could find is the lack of ventilation. The 180s are on the warm side when the temperature outside rises. My feet were all sorts of sweaty after the first moto of the day, but once cooler temps prevailed in Southern California, the boots provided my feet the warmth that they were looking for. Wearing thin socks on a hot day helps combat some of the heat that I was feeling with the 180s. The good news is that they don't stink to high heaven after a few rides like the old Instincts used to. What about durability you ask? The Fox 180 boots have been great in that department as well. So far, the Duratac rubber sole is holding up with only minor teeth marks. The silicone strap and buckles haven't been a nightmare and are still intact. Fox provides an extra buckle inside the box of every 180 boot, so that is very cool, just in case you need them. The downside is that Fox doesn't have a replaceable sole you can go out and purchase for yourself. You can however send your boots back into Fox and they can replace the sole for you. Just make sure to send them back before they get too damaged or else they will not be able to re-furbish them for you.
So at $249.95 are these worth purchasing? The answer is a resounding yes! For about half the cost of Instinct’s you are getting a very comfortable and durable boot. Yes, the Instinct’s are slightly lighter, a little more comfortable in the footbed area, takes less time to break in, but are much more expensive. For the average blue collar working type of rider the Fox 180 boots are a great buy. I even gravitate to these over the Instincts at times when I go to grab a pair of boots off the shelf in the garage for a day of testing. To me that says something!