Dainese’s Axial Pro In boots have sat at the top of the race boot pecking order since 2011. The Axial Pro In has proven itself by staying virtually unchanged since then, and with the advent of an alleged revamping coming up in a year or so, now’s your chance to pick up an amazing boot at a substantial discount.
The things that make the Axial Pro In a winner were abundantly clear when I got my hands on a pair that Dainese sent over for review. To start off, the exterior materials are top notch. With Lorica and TPU covering most of the lower, and Dainese’s D-Stone fabric covering the upper that fits under your leathers, the abrasion resistance is some of the best in the business. You’ll also notice a lack of protrusions, making for a sleek design that allow your feet to slide in the event of a crash. Not having hard parts sticking out lessens your chance of getting snagged and having your foot pulled somewhere it shouldn’t be.
The stainless steel toe slider is simple and effective, with recessed fasteners to make sure the only thing holding the slider on doesn’t get worn away. On the bottom is a sole that continues to surprise with its longevity. Reinforced with a steel insert at the heel, the sole provides plenty of grip and rigidity on the bike while remaining functional when walking around the paddock.
Stepping into the boot from the rear makes so much sense that I don’t understand why more boots aren’t like this. Once unzipped, you’re greeted with the glorious D-Axial system consisting of carbon and DuPont Kevlar fiber. This system encapsulates your heel and locks your ankle into place to protect against lateral movements, while allowing completely unencumbered up and down motion for shifting and braking. The result is a boot that feels more broken in than anything I’ve ever worn, straight out of the box.
The internal bootie is made up of a 3D fabric that helps wick away moisture and heat while also providing a place for the quick-lace system. The quick-lace tightening strap is fairly easy to use—simply pull the string and cinch down the plastic lock and you’re all tied in. My only complaint is that it’s easy to over-tighten, but I’d rather it be too tight than not tight enough.
Speaking of fit, I found the Axial Pro Ins to run true to size. I wear an 11 US and got the Euro 44. The boot fits tight like a race boot should, but not cramped. Where so many people go wrong is when they say the Axial Pro In runs small when in fact it runs slim. This is a narrow boot that may have some folks with wider feet screaming fitment blasphemy, but as long you understand that it’s meant for on-bike action and not galavanting around the countryside, you should be fine.
With a boot this well-thought-out it’s hard to find fault anywhere, but the Axial Pro In isn’t flawless. With its incredibly sleek design, the only replaceable piece is the toe slider. All other portions are one-time use, which is a far cry from Sidi’s Mag-1. Then there’s the fact that this boot needs an accompanying Dainese suit to go into. Unless you’re already rocking Dainese leathers that have the corresponding velcro patches, this boot doesn’t work as intended. Last, but not least, is the price. Luckily with the new boot coming, discounts are heavy and make now the best time to buy for cost-conscious shoppers.
If you do decide to make the investment, the Axial Pro In is a boot that you forget about when on the bike. The range of movement is a real eye-opener for how good a pair of full-on race boots can feel. With your suit taking on some of the bulky protection duties, it frees you up to make more precise inputs on the bike—and precision is good. At the end of the day the Axial Pro In is a streamlined boot that offers as much style as it does protection—as only the Italians can do. Your only hurdle is getting a pair before they’re all sold out.