Alpinestars Faster-3 Rideknit Shoes Review

Looking for high-flow footwear?

A+ The right balance of ventilation, comfort, and protection for hot-weather riding. $180Jeff Allen

With around 250,000 sweat glands between them, your feet are one of the sweatiest regions of your body. On a hot day, those puppies may pour out half a pint of coolant, but if that sweat isn’t given the chance to evaporate, then you won’t get any cooling effect at all. You’ll just have gross, soggy dogs and primo conditions for a case of athlete’s foot.

Planning a sidecar tour of Thailand—where the weather was expected to be over 100 degrees and I would be doing a fair amount of walking in my riding shoes—I was pretty concerned about footwear. Thai locals wear flip-flops, but rider safety is a big priority for me.

Eventually, I settled on a pair of Alpinestars' new Faster-3 Rideknit shoes. It's a high-top, so it has that all-important ankle coverage and integrates basic toe, heel, and ankle armor, and the chassis makes extensive use of a knitted material for ventilation in areas less susceptible to abrasion. A 3D mesh liner improves airflow and sweat dissipation. I was also drawn to the subdued style and sneaker­like design, and secretly hoped the Faster-3 would be as comfortable to walk in as the hiking shoes I was considering as an alternative.

The Alpinestars were a good choice. Ventilation is on par with the fully perforated, full-height leather boots I usually wear during the summer, but the comfort, especially while walking, is significantly better. The shoes have a rigid sole and solid structure, but enough flexibility to permit natural movement. Climbing temple steps, and even pushing our anemic sidecar rig up steep mountain passes, was done without a thought for my feet. Sure, they got sweaty on occasion, but the Faster-3’s abundant airflow and a pair of thin wool socks ensured my feet dried out quickly. As hot-weather kicks, the Faster-3 Rideknits are hard to beat. I’d like to see a heel strap added so they’re a little easier to pull on, but that’s my only complaint.