Alpinestars Jam Air Riding Shoe Review: All Mod ConsThe Alpinestars Jam Air riding shoe is a stylish option when you’re looking for modest protection on a smaller motorcycle, riding at slower speeds.If I had a street-only commute to work, I would consider making the Jam Air Riding Shoe part of my daily uniform. It certainly has the advantage of being something I don’t have to change out of once I get to work.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s talk about what the Alpinestars Jam Air riding shoe is, and isn’t.As the name suggests, the Alpinestars Jam Air riding shoe is not a boot. It is a high-top “sneaker” with limited protection and tons of style.It seems very Millennial-focused to me, something to fit into one’s lifestyle without cramping it in any way. I can attest to the comfort factor. These shoes are all-day comfortable, even if you spend your day on your feet and not in the saddle.The Alpinestars Jam Air riding shoe is a leather and suede construction with a rubber sole. Plastic “cups” embedded in dense padding reinforce both sides of the ankle. The Jam Air has CE certification, though I wouldn’t want to count on that to safeguard my ankle from more than a small scooter drop.The heel is also reinforced and has a solid, secure feel all the way around the sides and back. Similarly, the toe box has a rigid construction that provides a decent defense against smacking your toes. Surprisingly, there is no shifter pad for the left shoe, and I haven’t put enough miles on the Jam Air to know how this will wear.The wide toe box design of the Alpinestars Jam Air riding shoe has a lot to do with its comfort. Your toes have room to move naturally instead of being compressed by a tapered cut. Although I’m a female, and this is not an Alpinestars Stella product, it still fit my not-so-feminine feet.The tongue is thickly padded from end to end, as is almost the entire inner lining. It creates a nicely cushioned feeling. Once laced in, my feet feel positively swaddled and secure. These are not the kind of sneaks that you will be able to kick off without unlacing. That’s good because I don’t want them to get yanked off in a tumble.Speaking of which, I initially looked at the laces skeptically, thinking loose ends flapping in the wind near shift levers was a bad idea. Alpinestars is one step ahead of me. At the top of the tongue there is an elastic pocket where you can tuck in the lace ends, and it works. Concern alleviated.The profile of the Alpinestars Jam Air rises just above the ankle bone, so with feet on the pegs your vulnerable medial malleolus is protected from the foot mount brackets, frame, and other hard parts. With a completely flat sole and shallow tread pattern, the Jam Air riding shoe moves easily on the footpegs without getting hung up, yet the shoes have enough traction not to slip off in damp conditions.The tongue, sides of the shoe, and Achilles heel area are perforated, allowing air to flow through at speed. Not only does this add a great detail to the Jam Air’s aesthetic, but it is also a welcome feature as the shoe runs a bit warm. There is also a removable insole.Alpinestars also makes a standard non-perforated Jam shoe, as well as a waterproof Jam Drystar version. This allows you to buy precisely the right shoe for the type of riding (and walking) you do.I took the Jam Air riding shoes with me on my recent non-riding vacation to Sicily and Malta. I logged a lot of miles exploring Palermo and Malta, spending way more time on my feet than in my non-vacation life, and they never once complained—no blisters, callouses or rubbed-raw pinky toes.The Jam Air provided a super comfortable, supportive and protective safe space for my feet.It’s always a personal choice as to how much armor one is going to don. I tend to follow the ATGATT mantra, but most of the major motorcycle boot manufacturers have some kind of riding shoe, if not a whole line devoted to casual riding footwear.While I’m not convinced this is how I want to gear up for street riding, these low-rise informal boots have a place. The Alpinestars Jam Air riding shoe fills a small niche where the risk of high impact is low, and the reward of lighter, less structured footwear is appealing.Action photography by Kevin Wing
Alpinestars Jam Air Riding Shoe Fast Facts
- Sizes: 6 – 14
- Colors: Black/Black; Grey/Green; Military Green
- Alpinestars Jam Air Riding Shoe Price: $170 MSRP