Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: My Review of the Aerostich Combat Touring Lites

  1. #1
    Registered User mistercindy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    N. Dallas 'burb
    Posts
    778

    Thumbs up My Review of the Aerostich Combat Touring Lites

    In late July I ordered a pair of Aerostich’s Combat Lite boots. They were out of stock in my size, so I didn’t get them until late Friday afternoon, September 3rd. After one month and ~1,200 miles I decided I knew enough to write a review. Sorry for its length, but this is such a talked about product that I decided include all my thoughts. If you don’t want to read it all, here’s the short version:
    • Do research on the sizing before you buy!
    • They’re heavy. But you get used to it.
    • They’re boxy. But you get used to it.
    • They’re stiff at first. But wear them every day and after a few days you can feel that they are breaking in. They’re basically comfy after couple of weeks of near daily wear. Don’t be scared away by people who say it takes a year to break in, and you don’t need to soak them in water or anything else too strange. A good leather conditioner and time on the feet is enough.
    • I got a bad blister on the back of my right achilles tendon just over my heel. All seems well now, but I’m still concerned about it.
    • Assuming the blister problem doesn’t return, these should be great for many years.
    .
    Okay, long verson...

    First Impressions:

    MY GOODNESS the box was heavy! The heft of the box and the heft of the boots themselves were a surprise. The leather in the box smelled beautiful, and the new boots smelled great, too. Did I say they were heavy?

    Sizing:

    The first big test was sizing. I ordered Aerostich’s size 10, which their website defines as a Euro 45. I was worried about sizing, as I haven’t worn a size 10 in anything since I was in 7th or 8th grade. I usually wear an 11D or an 11 medium. My running shoes are a size 12 to give my toes more room, but when asked I’d say that I’m an 11 to 11 ?ยข. But, I ordered the 10 (or 45), because Aerostich suggested it as their boots are sized large. Many reviews said the same thing. Most importantly, a number of people told me via PMs here and at ADVrider, that they ordered the same size in the Combats or the Combat Lites as their Oxtars. I wear a 45 in Oxtar, so that’s what I ordered.

    So, I wore them around the house for 15 minutes or so to convince myself that the size was okay, and it was. There were stiff, but okay. Aerostich size 10 fits me. And if you wear Oxtar and/or TCX, then get the same size and you ought to be fine.

    The First Day of Riding:

    The day after I got them, Saturday Sept 4th, was beautiful so I rode to an air show at a local suburban airport wearing the combat lites. I had them on my feet for about six hours which included probably a mile of walking on pavement and ~100 miles of riding. The only problem was that I felt some uncomfortable rubbing on my achilles tendon above my right heel that I thought might turn into a blister. When I took the boots off the spot on my skin was red, but no blister.

    The Blister:

    Ultimately, though, a blister formed and broke, and that portion of the right boot was very painful. The inside of the right boot now has a nice little blood stain where it blistered above my heel, but I kept wearing them since I wanted this initial break in period to happen sooner rather than later. As of today the blister has healed and there is no pain at all. They feel great! I hope that part of the reason is because the boots have broken in a bit, but it could be because my skin has formed a bit of a callous.

    Breaking In:

    I’ve read all these reports about soaking them in water then wearing them until they dry out, etc… I won’t do that since, regardless of whether it works, it breaks down the leather. So, I decided to break them in the old fashioned way; by wearing them. After a 300 mile day of off and on-road riding, the boots got pretty gunked up, I washed the nastiest stuff off with an old toothbrush and a touch of damp saddle soap. Then, using my fingers, I cleaned and treated them with Bick-4 conditioner (LINK). Then I applied Sno-Seal, again with my fingers, for helping the water resistance. That’s all I ever plan to put on the boots. A little saddle soap (not much, and rarely) when the need arises, a good leather conditioner, and some Sno-Seal once or twice a year.

    Otherwise, I’ve now had the boots for a month and just over 1,200 miles of riding, probably five or six miles of walking, and just being on my feet for around 15 full days. I have a 60 mile round trip commute, and most of my work day is in a chair staring at a computer, or walking on carpet. However, after just a week I could tell that the leather was molding nicely to my feet. With the exception of the blister on my right heel, these were becoming those boots that “fit like a glove.” After a month I’m convinced of that. I’ve read all these horror stories about the CTB or CTB Lites taking a year to break in with all manner of oddball treatments. IMHO that’s just not the case.

    Riding:

    They’re definitely bigger around the toes then the boots I was wearing, TCX X-Fives (formerly Oxtar Matrix), which are great boots, BTW. I missed a few gears here and there for a couple of weeks, but it hasn’t happened in quite a while. The problem is less stiffness than getting used to the boots’ size. Its really no big deal, as you have to get used to being on a bike with any new boot, and these are no exception. I haven’t tested them in a serious rain yet, but I’ve been through a couple of sprinkles and a puddle or two, and they’ve been fine. The CTB Lites have a stiffer sole than other boots I’ve worn, so standing on the pegs is easier.

    Walking:

    With the exception of dealing with that blister, these are comfortable walking boots. As I said, they’re fine now. I don’t know if it’s a result of the boots being more broken in, or if its because of a callous on my heel, or a little of both. Keeping them on for 14 hours on a work day is easy. They remain comfortable all day.

    Miscellaneous Stuff:

    • I like the speed laces, but as many reviews say, the laces you get from Aerostich cling to the velcro, which is a minor PITA. After just a month, the laces are frayed from being peeled from the velcro. After a while I’ll just replace them with something that won’t do that. No biggie, but you’d think that Aerostich would have switched to something better by this time.
    • Speaking of the laces, you have to figure out where to put the excess after you tighten them. No biggie, but you do have to figure out your own little system.
    • I got mine with the cleated soles. I kept reading that the wedge could get slippery on certain surfaces, and that the cleat was better for walking off of pavement. They do not get hung up on the pegs, which was my only concern. I like ‘em.
    • The buckles work, but I can’t get over my not trusting them. I heard a few stories of their breaking. I’m considering buying a couple of spares just in case.
    • The first couple of weeks that I wore them it was still pretty hot. Mid-90s, etc… But they don't feel as hot as my gore-tex lined boots. Sure my feet were sweating in the CTB Lites, but they also sweated in my Oxtar mesh boots with gore-tex. This morning I rode to work in 42 degrees, and my feet never felt cool. My guess is the CTB Lites can be an all weather-four season boot.
    • I know it’s a heavy leather, but I would like some armor on the shin and the ankles.

    The People at Aerostich:

    They're nice and helpful. They'll talk to you and answer your questions on the phone, and they promptly respond to emails. When they found out that my size wasn't in stock, they told me via email within hours after I placed my order. From my limited experience, the folks at Aerostich deserve their reputation for excellent customer service.

    Conclusion:

    These are very well constructed boots using wonderful leather. If you can find a pair that fits, and don't mind the weight, then they ought to be a great pair of boots.
    Grant
    '05 R1200GS
    Former owner of an '03 R1150R
    BMWMOA #113847

  2. #2
    Tame Racing Driver Stig's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Hudson Valley, NY
    Posts
    262
    Wow, that's a great review! I can't imagine how heavy the "regular" CTBs are in comparison. You should submit your review for a future issue of ON.
    Craig
    New York's Hudson Valley Region
    2009 R1200RT
    MOA #146131 IBA #55715

  3. #3
    John. jstrube's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Atwater, CA
    Posts
    977
    The thing about the sizing I think is that it is a UK size, vs. a US size. So, a UK 10 would be a US 11 or 11.5 (not sure) I wear a Euro 44, or US 10.5, which would be a UK 9.5 give or take... They really should make the US size the big one on the box & the UK size smaller...

    That said, I can't wait to order some myself... In Euro 44... Which seems to always fit.

  4. #4
    Dee G flymymbz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Central WA
    Posts
    521
    Thanks for the review. I am needing a new pair of boots and I just wasn't sure about them.

    I tried on a pair two years ago at the VBR, and I kinda liked the way they fit, but the heaviness of them and the eventual break in period had me hesitant.

    guess i should just bite the bullet and order them up!
    Too damn many bikes to list

  5. #5
    Registered User talmadge_w's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    100
    Great review! What caught my attention was the part about these boots being big in the toe area. What has scared me away from the CTBs so far has been the catalog photos which appear to show a very flat/low/sloping toe cap. I've always ridden in steel toe boots to date that have LOTS of room under the toe cap.

    Can you elaborate a bit on the fit there? Is the toe area roomy vertically or just horizontally? I've been searching for the best combination riding/walking boots and these do seem tempting!

    Thanks!
    Talmadge Wright
    '12 R1200 GSA
    '14 R nine T

  6. #6
    Registered User mistercindy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    N. Dallas 'burb
    Posts
    778
    Quote Originally Posted by Talmadge_W View Post
    Great review! What caught my attention was the part about these boots being big in the toe area. What has scared me away from the CTBs so far has been the catalog photos which appear to show a very flat/low/sloping toe cap. I've always ridden in steel toe boots to date that have LOTS of room under the toe cap.

    Can you elaborate a bit on the fit there? Is the toe area roomy vertically or just horizontally? I've been searching for the best combination riding/walking boots and these do seem tempting!

    Thanks!
    Either the toe is bigger, or the sole is thicker than my Oxtars. One of the two, or both, is the reason for missing gears for the first week that I rode in them. I was too slow in getting my foot under the shift pedal because there was more shoe there. Its not a big deal, though. I just needed to get used to making a more deliberate effort with my left foot when shifting. After a week and a few hundred miles it was second nature. It otherwise has no impact in walking or riding, and for me, anyway, it doesn't impact comfort at all. Actually, I don't really notice their being big vertically when walking. But it could well be that the thicker sole is the reason.

    They also seem big horizontally. I say "seem," but then my Oxtars also seemed big horizontally. Not so much as to be too big, to me they're just comfortably roomy horizontally. The fit is a lot like the Oxtars. But the Combat Lites are certainly roomier horizontally than BMW and regular Sidi boots.

    As a comparison, I find regular Sidi boots in size 45 snug enough around the toe that they're uncomfortable. The only "real" Sidi's that I've owned were a size 46 because the 45 was so pinched. I never bought another pair of Sidis because I'm hopelessy between sizes. I know that these Combat Lites are made by Sidi, but the toes on the Sidi 45 are snug enough to be uncomfortable, and the toes on these size 45 Combat Lites fit roomy but well. Even though the Combat Lites are made by Sidi, I'm convinced its a different last than Sidi uses for its own brand.

    Hope this answered your question.
    Grant
    '05 R1200GS
    Former owner of an '03 R1150R
    BMWMOA #113847

  7. #7
    Seattle-area Rounder OfficerImpersonator's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Just north of Seattle, WA
    Posts
    2,806

    I'm wearing mine right now.

    I don't see it mentioned that these boots are made for Aerostich by Sidi, so you're getting a very high quality boot.

    I have three years and 50,000 miles on my CTLs. They are so comfy and broken in that sometimes I forget to take them off when I get to work - like I did today. Some days I wear them all day long.

    Yes - like ANY QUALITY STOUT WELL-CONSTRUCTED leather boot, they require breaking in. Yes, they might hurt your feet a bit while this process is underway. Yes, it's worth it.

    In addition to the 50K miles of year-round Seattle rain riding I've done in my CTLs, I've gone hiking in my boots several times. I've had to walk five miles in them on a 90 degree day when I got on the wrong bus trying to get back to my bike at the mechanic's shop.

    I love these boots.

    Once a year I rub a liberal amount of leather conditioner into the uppers. Once a year, I polish them with black shoe polish to fill in all the creases and cracks. One of the soles started peeling back from the midsole a year ago. A local cobbler stitched and glued the sole back in to place for $20. I habitually only put my left foot down at stops, so my left sole is more worn than the right. Maybe in a couple of years I'll need to get them re-soled.

    Did I mention that I love these boots?

    Only boots I have that are more comfortable than my CTLs are my Scarpa plastic mountaineering boots.
    Seattle, WA
    2012 R1200GSA
    2002 R1150RT-P
    1992 K75S sold

  8. #8
    Dum vivimus vivamus ted's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    2,586
    After my accident a while back I wanted the beefiest, strongest boots I could find - so I went with the regular Combat Touring Boots (bought them slightly used which was nice as someone else did most of the breaking in...) Anyway, if I didn't know better I could have sworn your excellent review was for the regular ones.

    I will say while I was adamant about getting the high up the leg protection of the regular CTBs I too experience my share of missed shifts due to the generous toe box and the lack of "shifter feel" due to the thickness of the leather. That said, these boots are substantial, I think much more so than my BMW Gore-tex boots and their extra knee and ankle armor. With Sno-Seal they have also been completely waterproof for extended riding in heavy downpours, they have not leaked yet even walking in water.

    I did not find walking as easy as you - even with the wedge pattern and plenty of breaking in I found the sole remained quite stiff and until I got inserts (at REI) uncomfortable for walking any distance. I think this is a compromise between superior protection and comfort, and I would advise folks to look at the heavy duty hiking boot inserts at REI if they find the boots uncomfortable.

    Also like you, I wear an 11.5 US and fit the 45 Combat Touring Boot just right, if not a little on the large side. I fit the BMW boot just right in a 46.
    Ted
    "A good stick is a good reason"
    1994 K75RT
    Moto Pages

  9. #9
    Kbiker BCKRider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    B.C. Canada
    Posts
    751
    I appreciate what you guys are saying about heavy leather boots. I have a pair of hiking boots from REI which must be nearly 40 years old. They took quite awhile to break in. I've had the soles replaced twice and other repairs over the years. They were my first riding boots. They still get used when I am cutting wood for the stove and have concerns about dropping a log on my foot.

    But I'm delighted with my BMW Allrounds, purchased last spring, for both riding and walking. They were comfortable from the moment I stepped into them. At age 63, that means more to me than the cost per year.

    Ain't it great to have all these choices!
    Doug
    1992 K100RS

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    35
    I have had these boots for 2 years and honestly until last spring have avoided usage because of stiffness.....I did not "waterboard" these guys preferring the routine approach....walk and suffer. They are now at the point of smiling comfort. I did use a gel pad inside which resulted in a perfect fit.
    I have a size 13 or 47 euro which is a monster in this boot. hard to fit shift lever on my Triumph during break in ....far too stiff.
    I would recommend this for Dual Sport or long distance touring.....still alittle tough to walk and shop with the wife.

  11. #11
    Seattle-area Rounder OfficerImpersonator's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Just north of Seattle, WA
    Posts
    2,806
    Quote Originally Posted by Ted View Post
    I did not find walking as easy as you - even with the wedge pattern and plenty of breaking in I found the sole remained quite stiff and until I got inserts (at REI) uncomfortable for walking any distance. I think this is a compromise between superior protection and comfort, and I would advise folks to look at the heavy duty hiking boot inserts at REI if they find the boots uncomfortable.
    I neglected to mention that I too replaced the stock footbeds with SuperFeet footbeds (got mine at REI as well), and that one little change made the boots all-day-long comfortable.
    Seattle, WA
    2012 R1200GSA
    2002 R1150RT-P
    1992 K75S sold

  12. #12
    Registered User lionheart33's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    56
    I know it’s a heavy leather, but I would like some armor on the shin and the ankles.
    The above is the primary reason I don't know if the CTL is going to be my next boot. I don't care for gimmicks or looks, I just want the most protective functional boot for the riding I primarily do - touring/commuting - and the small chance I might do a track day to improve my skills or do some trail riding now that my son is expressing an interest in a dirt bike, either way nothing extreme for me. I am getting away from"saving" money buying inferior products every 2 or 3 years - How big of a regret is the armor issue, or is it trivial given everything positive about the boot?

    In addition to armor other brands occasionally reference a "lateral crush" resistance. In photos of the CTL it appears the sole is measurably wider than the foot in part due to the stitching, which seems to be a better set up and more protective than boots that only have the sole bonded. Is the Sidi sole the same standard in the boots they make under their brand?

  13. #13
    Registered User mistercindy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    N. Dallas 'burb
    Posts
    778
    Quote Originally Posted by OfficerImpersonator View Post
    I neglected to mention that I too replaced the stock footbeds with SuperFeet footbeds (got mine at REI as well), and that one little change made the boots all-day-long comfortable.
    +1

    Eventually i'll put Superfeet greens in my Combat Lites. That may be a chore for this weekend.
    Grant
    '05 R1200GS
    Former owner of an '03 R1150R
    BMWMOA #113847

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •