Alpinestars Supertech R Boots | MC Tested

By Ari Henning, Photography by Ari Henning

Today’s riders have a bounty of boots to choose from, covering everything from casual wear to serious competition gear. Roadrace boots are one of the most specialized categories, and of the many different pairs I’ve tried in the last few years, Alpinestars’ Supertech Rs have become my favorite for track testing and racing. Inside and out, they’re complete with armor and bracing to keep your feet, ankles, and shins protected in a crash, yet they offer freedom of movement and are comfortable enough to walk around in. It’s a divine balance.

The Supertech Rs are unique in that they use separate inner and outer boots. The inner boots (“booties”) are made of a breathable nylon mesh that plays host to lots of low-profile hard-plastic plating. Armor cups the heels and soles, extending forward to shield the sides and toes of each foot, while hinged panels protect the Achilles areas. Inner and outer ankle armor is connected to perforated calf armor via hinged torsion bars designed to absorb rotational forces and also help reduce the risk of hyper-extension. The inner booties are intended to be worn under the cuffs of your leathers and secure with a slick lacing system that employs self-locking sliders.

The outer boots pull on like a pair of galoshes. They’re made primarily of leather with robust hard armor covering the front and back of the calves and heels. There are also replaceable toe and heel sliders. The outer boots go on over your suit cuffs, and accordion panels along the main zippers allow the boots to zip up easily and fit snugly. Final closure is by way of ratchet straps with aluminum buckles.

Inner and outer boots combined, the Supertech Rs offer excellent impact, abrasion, and hyper-extension protection without undue bulk or weight, and without sacrificing flexibility or feel on the bike. Accordion panels, flexible soles, and numerous other small details are the key to the Supertech’s dexterity. Compared to other similarly appointed boots I use, the Supertechs are considerably slimmer, and there’s no obtrusive exo-armor to scuff your frame spars or inhibit feel.

During three years of use I’ve only had one minor issue with the Rs: a lace eyelet tore out of one of the inner booties. Also, the unnecessarily long laces were annoying. A minor complaint, but I was pleased to find that the booties in the 2012 Rs have shorter laces, and use a new “3D” mesh material for increased airflow. These are minor changes, but it says a lot about A-stars that it thought these small details were worth addressing.

These are pretty committed boots, with no evident compromises in terms of safety. That Alpinestars also made them exceptionally comfortable and flexible is impressive. The Supertech Rs go on easy, but due to the fact that they are meant to be worn with leathers they may not be a good choice for commuting. But if you go full-kit for weekend rides or frequent the racetrack, these are the boots to buy. The Supertechs are some of the most expensive boots on the market, but the quality is outstanding. Sizing runs big—out of line with the rest of Alpinestars’ footwear—so try before you buy.

Alpinestars Supertech R Boots
PRICE: $449.95
CONTACT: Alpinestars
www.alpinestars.com
Verdict: 5 out of 5 stars
World-class footwear for those that demand uncompromised protection and comfort.

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