They are called shoes in the Alpinestars sales and marketing literature, but the Faster 3 shoes are truly a hybrid crossover between shoes and boots. The Faster series of footwear has been in the Alpinestars line for some time, and this third iteration is a substantial upgrade from earlier offerings.
Gear selection is an exercise in personal preference and compromise. The Faster 3 shoes are an object lesson in this concept. I have both high-top and fully armored riding sneakers and several types of high-rise boots in my gear closet. The sneakers are extremely comfortable both on and off the bike but are very light on protection. The boots are supremely protective, but are rigid, awkward, and semi-uncomfortable for extended walking. The Alpinestars Faster 3 shoes can be boot-horned directly between these two extremes.
The Faster 3 shoes are an armored, over the ankle, lace-up model with a substantial cutout in the Achilles area for enhanced mobility. I am sure you can already see the advantages.
Let’s start with the safety features. The Faster 3 shoes now carry the important CE certification in each of their variations: the Rideknit, Drystar, and the standard version (as tested). There is a subtle, low-profile TPR toe slider and an extremely protective and supportive TPR heel cup out back. Dual density ankle protectors are inserted between the microfiber upper and padded lining on both sides of the shoe.
On the comfort end of the spectrum, the aforementioned cutout in the rear of the boot gives a level of front to back mobility that full-rise boots can’t match. The sole is semi-rigid with an integrated support shank, providing a solid riding platform while also affording comfortable walk-ability. The boots feel supportive and comfortable both on and off the bike. I identified no pressure points or comfort quibbles on day-long rides. Ventilation is more than adequate.
The lace-up design is another advantage of this shoe. I really like the ability to fine-tune the fit with laces; however, loose laces on a motorcycle boot can cause problems if the laces are allowed to whip around. Alpinestars has provided a solution by including an easy-to-actuate Velcro strap to secure the boot laces for riding. The design works well and is easily adjusted with gloved hands.
The Faster 3 shoes really shine on the bike. That semi-rigid sole gives good riding feedback while spreading the pressure from the foot pegs over the full arch. The ankle mobility makes shifting and braking seamless and nimble. The low-profile toe box facilitates movement between upshifting and downshifting.
I am calling the Alpinestars Faster 3 shoes a winner for urban riding and light touring. While not as protective as full boots, the compromises are well-balanced and carefully engineered. The $169.95 retail price point places Faster 3s in the ballpark with other premium riding shoes.
The Alpinestars Faster 3 shoe is available for $169.95 in six color options and sizes 6-14.