A waterproof, comfortable and protective boot is the minimum specification you should be looking for in a touring boot, and RST’s new Pathfinder covers all those bases.
Built from hard-wearing microfibre with a synthetic sole, the Pathfinder features stretch panels for comfort and double zips to make getting the boots on and off easier — and there’s also a microfibre loop to pull them on.
The Pathfinder boots are fully CE-approved to the latest standards, with a large protective shin plate, heel cockpit, toe-box to reduce crushing and a nylon shank in the sole. These features are there to provide protection in the event of an accident, but they also add to the boot’s durability over time.
There’s a waterproof and breathable Sympatex liner built in to stop the rain getting to your feet yet letting the sweat out. Sympatex has a three-layer construction to “actively move water vapour away from your body” to keep your feet dry and comfortable. Sympatex is claimed to be the most breathable membrane liner in the world, working particularly well at wicking away sweat, which will keep you more comfortable in warmer weather.
There’s a change pad of course, with RST saying it’s positioned slightly differently for different-sized boots in the ideal position to actually match up with your gear lever. The textile motion panels provide comfort and ease of movement for your ankle while reflecting light at night.
Probably the most unique feature are the dual zips with Velcro “wings”. A zip on each side of the boot makes it easy to get on, and having large wings of material to fasten with Velcro means these boots will fit nearly any size calf — or you can tuck in your pants if you prefer to ride this way.
RST sent ARR a set to try out, which we did on our Tamworth trip. Not a lot of rain, but cool weather, warm weather, mud and bitumen were all experienced. Without even breaking them in they were OK and only got more comfortable the more we rode and walked around to get the pictures. No blisters, no dramas. Walking around in the gel-filled sole is comfortable too, something particularly important to me as I trek off to shoot the pictures I need to fill each issue of ARR, and they seem to be getting better with each wear.
Of course, no boot is perfect, but after a couple of weeks’ use, including that four-day tour, I haven’t really found anything to criticise. The zips still have that tightness a good zip has when new, there is lots of Velcro which could lose its stickiness over time and they are still bedding in — but they look and feel great.
Compared to boots of twice the price, they don’t have the slick design and bling, but I don’t need that in a touring boot.
– NIGEL PATERSON