Like many products that are the originals, Aerostich Combat Touring Boots have become a classic. They were the world's first riding boot specifically intended for hard-use sport, sport touring and adventure-riding applications. This unique design is essentially a lighter, simpler MX-style boot without the hard armor, decorative styling, and multiple buckles. The boots are manufactured exclusively for Aerostich in Romania, by Sidi, an Italian company. Sidi's own motorcycle 'adventure' boot (and all other similar boots) were developed about ten years after the CBTB's were first introduced, when the market niche for this type of boot broadened. The first CBTB's are now over twenty years old, so some are now well-worn. A few questions have come up about resoling, repairs and durability.
With regular leather care Combat Touring Boots last a long time. Three areas typically wear; the soles, the inner speed laces and the hook and loop closures. Matching replacement soles are available from Aerostich, and acceptable replacement work-boot type soles are available locally at most shoe repair businesses. Replacement inner speed laces and hook and loop areas are also available from Aerostich or may also be substituted locally. The CBTB arch straps occasionally fail, and these are available from Aerostich.
As with all manufactured products, there are multiple (and subjective...) cost and design compromises and trade-offs. For example, the and upper hook and loop areas provide a reliable, easy-to-use, fast, low-profile closure which reduces the boots cost, weight and bulkiness. This helps the boot be easier to put on and remove, and works better underneath jeans and street pants. Those advantages outweigh any slight durability concerns, and in actual use the hook and loop provides an effective closure for many years of wear. And if the hook an loop areas ever need replacing (after fifteen + years?), this is a simple, inexpensive job. Good quality hook and loop lasts for tens of thousands of 'peels' before needing replacement. (The companies making this material test and rate various types for 'peel', 'sheer', durability, and many other characteristics.)
Beginning about twenty years ago I've worn three pair of CBTB's. And as you'd guess, I've been mostly satisfied with the various CBTB +'s and -'s. (I recognize this boot is not perfect.) I ride between 5,000 and 15,000mi/yr, and wear the boots mostly for all-day and longer trips, with some general wear use...but not every day. For my short three mile daily commute I usually wear a lighter ankle-high general-purpose lace work boot, which Aerostich does not sell. CBTB's were designed to function first as heavy duty 'touring' boots. (This probably means different things to different riders...) Here are my individual experiences:
My Combat Touring Boots took a little more time and effort to break in than some boots, but for me and many riders the extra work is worthwhile because these boots have no decorative styling or trim, were put together using as few separate pieces of leather as possible, have no areas of thin leather or pleated gussets, as few stitched seams as possible, and no hidden waterproof membranes. Combat Touring Boots are a simple, heavy-duty all purpose riders boot, designed to be as comfortable, protective, easy to wear and durable as possible. I hope you will give a pair a try. 6/09