by Gus Breiland
With this month’s bike review I had the opportunity to try out my new Aerostich Combat Lites. A few years back I bought a pair of Combat Touring Boots from Aerostich because I am a poser. I hang around a bunch of high milers and I wanted to fit in. My Darien Jacket has been hung in the sun to give it that 100,000 mile look and my riding pants have been drug behind my truck to give them a knee down canyon dancer look. But my hiking boots just never gave off that “I went to Memphis for some BBQ yesterday” look. The issue with the Combat Touring Boots was their height. I am so used to my over the ankle hiking boots, I couldn’t get used to the around the calf feel of a proper riding boot. I sold them for a fraction of what I paid for them thinking “Well, I tried”.
Then the fine people at Aerostich went and made a slightly shorter boot called the Combat Touring Lites. This is the same top grain leather construction with fewer parts and seams. Honestly, the Combat Touring Lites are about 2 inches shorter than the original Combat Touring Boots, and apparently that was all I needed. I tried them on, and with a sigh of disgust I knew that I would have to buy a pair.
I have never liked riding boots. They all feel thinner than my hiking boots and most have weird plastic knobs on the side or bright colors or big logos that add to leak points. Not the Combat Touring Lites. They are black, with a black sole (cleated). They are easily slipped on and use an ingenious speed lace that is so simple even I can figure it out. Fold over the front of the boot that is held in place by a generous, hook and loop pad and buckle across the ankle; your foot and leg are ready for what the world throws at you.
While not advertised as waterproof unless treated, my ride down to Memphis and Birmingham proved that it would take a heck of a lot of water to seep in. Both rain storms that hit us had the soaking power of any good lake and my feet stayed dry. With great traction from the cleated sole, gooey intersections are no longer an issue for sound footing. The boot also protects your foot from chemicals like the spraying fork oil of your riding partner’s bike as you switch rides for a bit. This is a great way to waterproof your boots by the way, as it seasons the boot with slight repeated misting instead of a single application. Since they are black, the problem of keeping them clean is not only a non-issue, but as with any Aerostich product, the more the item looks used, the greater the respect you will get from fellow riders as you regale them with your stories of adventure scootering to the ice cream parlor.
An ingenious accessory available for the Combat Boot and Combat Lites are the Greg Frazier Stash Pockets, also available from Aerostich. This fold over wallet is named after noted globe rider, Dr. Gregory Frazier. They slip in between the liner of your boot and the front gusset, or in the boot’s inner calf, for the storage of money or important documents. Seriously, would you want the cash that has been festering in someone’s boot during 11 straight days of Ironbutt riding, not to mention circumnavigating the globe?
If you want one hell of a boot, without all of the logos and goofy road racing wear pucks, the Combat Lite Riding Boots are the only boot to buy. The Combat series of boots are exclusively made for Aerostich by Sidi and will most likely out last your riding years, only to be sold at a garage sale by your non-riding kin. The Aerostich Combat Lites Riding Boots are available in any color as long as it is black with the option of the traditional wedge sole or the new cleated sole. Combat Lites are priced at $247 while the Original Combat Touring Boots are listed at $257. The Greg Frazier Stash Pockets (set of 3) are $30. Aerostich can be found online at www.aerostich.com, Duluth MN or at 1 800 222 1994. We dare you to walk in and walk out empty handed.