The life of an adventure boot is a tough one. It needs to have crash protection, naturally, but it also needs to be comfortable to walk around in. A race boot can take the need for walking comfort lightly, but an adventure boot cannot. And then there are other needs. It needs to handle a wide range of weather and temperature and prove itself. Add waterproofing to the feature list and the challenge is even bigger.
But there are some very good adventure boots out there. Prices range from Rs 10,000 for a basic motocross-style boot (usually very water resistant but never waterproof) to the full-house Gore-Tex equipped boots that offer great protection, comfort as well as guaranteed waterproofing.
The Forma Adventure boot is new to us and to India. Forma is a 17-year-old Italian brand that specialises in boots and protective armour and currently sponsors MotoGP rider Danilo Petrucci. Performance Racing has introduced them to India recently, and for the price Rs 16,000 it isn't a bad boot and promises excellent value.
The Forma Adventure boot is a fairly simple piece of footwear. It appears to have a rather thick, almost sneaker-style sole on which sits a suede boot that climbs almost to the knees' ending in an elasticated top. The top, a common feature, is expected to prevent or stave off water ingress into the boot.The boot has an uncut tongue that climbs to about 3 inches of the top, and this height is a compromise between waterproof height and the ability to get your foot into the boot with ease. A Velcro tab on top and three buckles close the boot off.
This is a comfortable, spacious boot! Despite the protective heel and toe cups, the boot doesn't need any break in and felt comfortable from the off. The sole is a little squishy for my personal taste, but people who wear sneakers regularly will notice any odd sensations. But I've walked about all day in the dry and the wet and been on many days where I walked on-road, in the dirt, through streams and ride motorcycles as well as scooters and never noticed the boot, so that's perfect.
In Ladakh, the boots proved to be flawless through multiple soakings, both from above and in water crossings. One particularly deep water crossing did penetrate the defences but this was my fault. It was deep water and I stepped in well past the height of the boot without thinking. I spend a good 3-4 minutes before stepping out and the boot was wet. But I was surprised at how little water had entered, and that to me is solid performance.
I prefer hard soles to soft ones and that's a bother for me. I think the Forma would be easier to walk about in if the insole was firmer.
The thick sole also, I think, makes the motorcycle feel a little more distant from your sensation that you will have to get used to.
As waterproof boots tend to be in our conditions, the Forma Adventure boot is also a bit warm. Just enough that you will notice and sweat a little bit. Nothing that you won't be able to live with, I assure you.
Gore-Tex is expensive but it is considered the gold standard in lasting, effective waterproofing. As new (well, it's got about 5,000km on it so far), the boot works very well.
At Rs 16,000, it is priced lower than a similar boot from TCX and is much cheaper compared to the rival full-house Gore-Tex boot. The Forma's value quotient is very high.I would want to put another 5,000km on the boot before commenting on the longevity of the waterproofing, but so far the Forma appears to be the best value waterproof adventure boot money can buy in India.
Tip: the brown colourway looks far classier than the black one I've got.