Off-Road Test: Alpinestars Stella Tech 3 Women’s BootsMuch as I endeavor to keep my feet on the pegs, riding off-road means I will invariably dab at some point, mixing it up with rocks, roots, and other unforgiving obstacles. Clad in Alpinestars Stella Tech 3 women’s boots, I feel fully protected and am able to keep my focus on my lines.Constructed of full-grain leather with generous plastic reinforcements in all the vulnerable areas, Alpinestars Stella Tech 3s are quite formidable-looking. Despite their heavy-duty construction, they are supremely comfortable out of the box. The interior is well padded, including the gaiter; along the top of the foot, the generous toe box is welcome. My socked feet feel nicely cushioned from the moment I slide the Tech 3 boots on.
Slightly shorter than the men’s (standard) Alpinestars Tech 3 boots, the Stella Tech 3s have three instead of four buckles. You’ll have to fiddle with the adjustable sawtooth end of the straps to get the fit right initially. Once you’ve found a comfortable setting, you’ll simply secure the boots by latching down the buckle ends…at least that’s the theory.In practice, the aluminum-and-plastic buckles are more often than not quite obstinate about closing and releasing. I’ve taken a flat edge screwdriver to the buckles more than once, trying to pry the two pieces apart so I can get them off. Sometimes, it takes two people to snap the buckles into the closed position. This is the only flaw in the Stella Tech 3 boots, but it is incredibly frustrating, and I look at the buckles on Alpinestars’ Tech 1 boots longingly.Improvement in the releasing action can be had by applying Bel-Ray Silicone Detailer & Protectant Spray to the plastic buckles affixed to the Stella Tech 3. It isn’t a total fix, but it makes a big difference in getting the buckles to fully release.On the upside, the three straps alternate closure direction and definitely don’t unintentionally get unbuckled, even when doing battle with rocks, branches, or other boot-grabbing hazards. The two reverse buckles are out of harm’s way and keep the Stella Tech 3 narrow, while the center buckle goes with the flow of the action and stayed locked in, regardless of conditions.Though the Stella Tech 3 boots are not as tall as the men’s version, the design has been tweaked in various places to better-fit women’s lower leg anatomy. Importantly, they are tall enough to keep my Leatt C-Frame knee braces securely in place. The wide Velcro closure above the top buckle has enough range to accommodate braces, or lack thereof, and still give the wearer a snug fit against the calf.It’s hard to feel graceful walking around in the Alpinestars Stella Tech 3 boots, despite flex zones in the ankle and metatarsal areas, which aid flexibility. After all, these boots are liberally reinforced with polyurethane panels along the shin, heel, calf, both sides of the ankles, and toe box for impact protection; they’re a stiff package. The steel shank embedded in the sole provides additional defense against twisting, landing, and crunching action, and the rubber outer soles keep the boots from slipping off the pegs. Once my feet are on the pegs, what I feel is well bolstered against off-road elements, allowing me to ride hard with plenty of confidence.Feel at the shift and brake levers is reasonably good, even with the reinforced shift pads (on both the left and right boots). The pad on my left boot shows lots of scuff action–a downside of the (mostly) white/purple color choice–but not wear. In fact, after over a year of frequent use, the Alpinestars Stella Tech 3s are proving to be quite durable.One of the few motocross boots specifically designed for women, Alpinestars Stella Tech 3 Women’s off-road boots provide quality protection for any off-road riding short of serious motocross racing.
Location photography by Don WilliamsAlpinestars Stella Tech 3 Women’s Boots MSRP: $220.