PRODUCT: Forma is an Italian maker that makes its products in Italy rather than farm the production out to Asia. The Predator is the company’s top-of-the-line MX boot designed to go head to head with other premium European boots like Alpinestars, Sidi and Gaerne. It features a double-pivoted ankle design that allows front-to-back movement, but is very stiff laterally to prevent rocking or twisting. Construction is of full-grain leather with injected-molded guards. There are four buckles that have a locking feature to prevent accidental unfastening. There are two additional Velcro closures.
OUR TAKE: There are several features that really stand out about the Predators. First, the flexibility is excellent when it comes to the motion required to shift and use the rear brake. There’s very little break-in time, because the ankle pivots in all the right places. Forma claims that the ankle design still provides support and protection in other planes of motion to prevent injury. This seems legit; there’s virtually no way to twist the boot without a true calamity. We performed some mild crash testing, as usual, but never dropped anyone from a helicopter to be sure. We also like the buckle system. Not only are they difficult to unintentionally flip open, they’re easy to unbuckle at the end of the day by pushing a little button. It’s also easy to adjust the length of the straps because of a clever locking design.
NEGATIVE: The Predators aren’t cheap. The MSRP of $535 a pair means you have to make a real investment in protective gear. By the same token, they are less expensive than other European boots of similar quality. Those companies extract a higher price mostly for name value. We also have a mild complaint regarding larger sizes (we tested a pair of 48s). The ankle opening isn’t proportionally upscaled, meaning it’s hard to slide a great, big foot through a small opening. This is a very common issue, even among premium boots.
BOTTOM LINE: Predator boots deserve a rightful place alongside the very best boots in the world. Forma might not have an especially recognizable name in the U.S., but that only serves to the benefit of the consumer in terms of value. The company also offers a 12-month warranty.
PRICE: $535 CONTACT: www.formabootsusa.com