Aerostich Combat Touring Boots
- Product Review (submitted on February 10, 2011):
Last September (it's now February) I got over the sticker shock, and ordered a pair of CBT's. Like everyone said, they were very stiff and difficult to break in. I opted not to "case" them by soaking in water, and instead just wore them and oiled the hinge lines with Neatsfoot oil. After three weeks of daily wear, going to class and work, walking around the house, etc, the blisters on my feet had healed and the boots were quite comfy. I proceeded to wear them on a daily basis on my commute, and was very happy with them overall.
Then, about a month ago, the soft, white leather lining began to disintegrate, for no apparent reason. Perhaps I got a bad pair. Perhaps a bit of moisture got in behind it. Who knows. Regardless of why, one day when I took my foot out of my boot, there was tacky white gunk on my sock. It looked like the kind of thing you'd hang posters on a wall with. I reached my hand down inside, and the leather lining had turned into some kind of sludge stuff. When the boots cooled off after a few hours without my feet in them, the edges of the hole in the lining had turned brittle and hard. My $350 boots weren't going to last very long at this rate.
So I called up Aerostich, and they said "send 'em back." So a trip to the post office and $25 later, I had sent the boots in for an inspection. They called me up a week later, and told me that they couldn't repair them, but that they'd send me a new pair for free.
Well darn. I was growing rather attached to those boots. On the up side, I've got a pair of intact boots. On the down side, they're very, very stiff and very, very new. Which means that I'm now breaking in my second pair of CBT's in six months. Hopefully these will last longer.
I've learned some lessons breaking in this second pair: train the leather. Sit down on the couch for an hour or so, right when you take the boots out of the box, and bend the leather by hand to establish crease lines exactly where you want them. Because where the first crease lines form is where they'll stay, for the rest of the boot's life. I opted to give mine an "X" pattern at the ball of the ankle, much like the pattern you'd see on a pair of police motorcycle boots. One of my last pair of boots did this naturally, and it was much more comfortable to break in than the other boot, which had some strange Z pattern to the creases. Now, both of my boots have been trained, and are behaving properly. The crease at the heel breaks straight across, and the outside crease comes right under the buckle.
So my first pair may have been a bust, but Aerostich fixed the problem. My second pair, after careful crease pattern consideration and training, are breaking in nicely. If anything goes wrong with this pair, I'll be sure to post something here.