MXA PRODUCT TEST
FOX F3R BOOT
WHAT IS IT? A new and improved generation of Fox’s F3 motocross boot line.
WHAT’S IT COST? $279.95.
CONTACT? www.foxhead.com or (888) 369-7223.
WHAT’S IT DO? Fox is a company that knows the value of attention to detail. A company that’s in a hurry might not think that all the little facets of a product add up to much, but Fox has been in the game long enough to know that the little things determine a big portion of the product’s overall quality.
Nowhere is this more evident than with the Fox F3R boot. Evolving from the popular Forma Pro, the first Fox F3 boot was introduced in 2007. It has been given a firm massage over the last two years, and while Fox hasn’t changed the name (to F4), you gotta know that the 2009 F3R is an evolutionary step up the ladder (the lower cost F3 is still available).
In a world where product names, marketing approaches and ad campaigns change every week, consumers are less likely to know that a product has been improved when the name of the product and its looks are largely unchanged. The MXA test crew decided to put the latest F3 boot though the wringer to see how much Fox’s little tweaks really accomplished.
WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the Fox F3 boot.
(1) Construction. The chassis of the F3R is molded in one piece, something Fox calls the Biomorphic Chassis, which effectively prevents intrusive and obtrusive folds from forming. The molding process keeps the boot comfortable and ergonomically exact.
(2) Plastic materials. The one-piece, molded plastic pieces come in multiple densities. The protective and structural parts are hard, while the conforming parts are soft. This year’s F3R has seen the area around the buckles softened for a tighter fit. Also, to help the boots conform to the legs, the F3s only use genuine full-grain leather (even a higher grain than last year). No synthetic cows.
(3) Buckles. They are slim, sleek and out of the way. They work well, providing the straps aren’t too loose.
(4) Rigidity. In our opinion, previous F3s have been on the stiff side—and the new ones continue with that trend. Rigidity offers greater protection against rolled ankles and tweaked feet, but sacrifices some tactile sensations under braking and shifting. A three-quarter steel shank (from the heel to the ball of the toe) helps keep the base of the sole from folding over on hard landings.
(5) Price. Not only has Fox been able to continually improve the F3 boots, but they have also been able to continually streamline production efficiency enough to drop the price. When the F3 was introduced two years ago, the retail price was $329.95. Last year, the F3s retailed for $299.95. This year, the entry-level F3 is offered at $199.95, while the advanced F3R is $279.95. That is $50 less over a three-year period; A pretty good deal.
(6) Soles. The F3R’s soles are soft enough to provide good traction on the footpegs and hard enough to last a long time. The outer soles also feature multiple tread patterns, including a unique herringbone pattern on the instep for peg teeth.
(7) Replaceable soles. Fox has replacement soles, toe caps, buckles and straps available for when the time comes. It’s a positive that the boots will last long enough to need replacements for these common-wear items.
(8) Weight. Our size 10 F3R boots weighed 4.45 pounds (each).
WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? Two quibbles: (1) Break-in. Test riders accustomed to hinged or full-leather boots complained about a loss of rear brake and shifter feel due to lack of flexibility (especially during break-in). (2) Colors. F3Rs are only available in black or white this year. (We thought last year’s red and white or silver and black boots were pretty hot looking.)
The latest improvements to the Fox F3R add up to a noticeable improvement over last year’s version. Imagine that, a better boot at a better price.