Just in case you haven't listened to episode 7 (Boot Comparison) of the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC Keefer Tested Podcast we are here to explain the Fox Instinct boot and how it performs on your feet while riding. When the top designers, engineers and product wizards at Fox set about designing a new boot, they didn't just shoot for "almost perfect", nor did they accept that a finished product had to be flawed. They spent countless hours designing, developing and testing various components, and after several years of gathering feedback from the top riders in our sport, they came up with a design that was as close to perfection as they could manage. Meet the Instinct boot. The Instinct boot is going on its seventh year of production and to me it’s one of the most comfortable boots out there today.
The key goals in developing this boot were to combine freedom of movement with the highest level of protection possible; in other words, safety and comfort were a must for Fox. This starts in the guts of the boot where five key components have been utilized to create the perfect fit: An athletic insole provides running shoe-like cushioning, a steel shank supports the arch, a polyurethane midsole offers energy absorption, a TPU support is in place for impact protection and stability, and Fox's exclusive rubber outsole provides grip on the peg and is backed by lifetime durability guarantees.
The rest of the boot is just as highly developed as the inside. A patented floating ball-and-socket buckle makes for easy operation with gloves on. Flexion is provided by a stabilizing hinge, which also ensures that the ankle cannot hyperextend past the predetermined lockout points. A host of other technical materials grace the boot to help create a solid weld between ankle and bike, and the overall build makes for one of the lightest boots on the market. Fox truly left nothing on the table when developing these suckers.
Once slipping them on I do notice the fit is a little small to me so I go up to a size 11 (usually I am a size 10 in almost all other brands of boots), the toe-box is a little smaller than a Tech 10, and the buckles are so much more easy to operate than those found on some of the biggest brands in the sport. The first aspect of the boot you will notice is there is definitely a lightweight feel to the Instinct and my legs certainly do feel less fatigue when riding tracks that force you to ride leg high through corners. The feature that I was most happy with was the inner comfort of the boot. Like a good running shoe, the insole has a ton of cushioning and support without feeling too rigid or bulky. The sole also has a ton of grip which provides excellent absorption/cushion to my ankles when slamming into jump faces or when I really screw up and case the crap out of something. Off-road riders will love this boot based on the fact that it truly can be worn all day, but Fox also offers the Instinct in an off-road version as well with a more aggressive sole. So just know that. The protection level certainly feels sufficient for the usual battery of rut-snags and rock-hits that I encounter on any given day of testing. However, to me, the Instinct is built for performance and comfort, but breaks down quicker than other boots on the market. This is the only boot that I can wear straight out of the box and feel my pegs and controls without any issue. I can’t pull a set of Tech 10’s out of the box and feel “good” straight away. It takes time for them to break in, but the Fox boot DO NOT need any break in period. They are ready to rock! The flip-side/bad news is when the Instincts get worn in, they get somewhat flimsy to me and I feel my ankles flex too much when landing hard off of jumps. I usually keep boots for a long time (around 50-60 engine hours), but the Fox Instincts felt flimsy around 35-40 hours of engine time. Other pieces to the boot like the sole, buckles, insole, and hinges never broke or failed, but I just feel the boot to be super soft (in ankle area) after some time of usage. The sole of the Fox Instincts have lasted long past the 50 hour mark, but have only seen stock pegs and not super sharp titanium oversize pegs.
Overall, the Instinct features an impressive level of performance and comfort that definitely lives up to Fox's claims. Coming in at $549.95 the Fox Instinct is in the same ballpark as a Gaerne SG-12 and Alpinestars Tech 10, so the decision to purchase shouldn't be about price. In my opinion the Fox Instinct boot is the most comfortable boot out of the three, but hold its integrity slightly less than the other two brands. I look at the Fox Instinct boot as a factory spec tire that provides maximum comfort and performance on the track, but it just doesn't last quite as long.
If you have any questions about this test please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I am here to help!