Call me a late convert. It used to be when gearing up to go riding, I would look at my several pairs of boots and choose between serious fast riding protection, mid-level canyon-sprint defense, or casual commuting boots. It never occurred to me to ride without proper footwear, and that meant at least mid-length boots. Alpinestars got a toehold in my life with their Jam Air Riding Shoe two years ago. Now, the Alpinestars Stella Faster-3 shoes have kicked the door open.The lace-up high-top design of the Alpinestars Faster-3 shoes is stylish, yet functionality and protection were not left by the wayside. Microfiber, mesh, and TPR elements combine for a vegan-friendly motorcycle riding shoe that is super-light and comfortable. Spongey padding pillows both sides of the ankles and generously runs all the way up the entire length of the Faster-3 tongue. The tops of the metatarsals have thinner but effective cushion. I can almost hear my feet sighing and smiling as there are no pressure points anywhere in these shoes.
Despite the almost slipper-like feel of the Faster-3’s uppers, the supportive shank in the sole makes them sturdy enough to kickstart a small-displacement engine. The rubber outsole provides good traction at the pegs and security when touching down at a stop. As with any shoe—riding or otherwise—I appreciate the secure non-slip sole when walking.Protection in the Stella Faster-3 shoes is discreet, with the most obvious hard parts being the TPR toe sliders guarding your pinky toes. Small TPU elements are strategically positioned at vulnerable parts of the medial side of your foot from heel to ankle. There are also plastic protectors embedded in the padding on the same side (the non-bike side) of the ankle to protect against falls. Heel and toe counters reinforce the front and back of the shoe and supply rigidity. Although the fortification for shifting may look like a styling detail, it is effective.In addition, I really like the low-cut profile of the Alpinestars Stella Faster-3 at the Achilles heel. It gives my feet excellent maneuverability on the pegs, whether I’m shifting or using the rear brake. Plus, it looks darn cool. Accenting the low-cut is a small horizontal reflective dash—a great safety detail for those who ride after the sun goes down.In general, I’m not a fan of laces on riding shoes or boots as they’re something to keep track of. However, the Faster-3 has a wide strap that snugs across the top of your ankle for support, and it secures with hook-and-loop. It’s easy to tuck the laces under this strap, and lace-ups allow a more custom fit than zipper closures.Anatomically cut for women’s narrower feet, the Faster-3 shoes have a petite feel that is a far cry from the burly presence of traditional motorcycle footwear. While I would not want to drop a bike on my foot while wearing the Stella Faster-3 shoes—or any footwear, for that matter—I find them an excellent choice for specific occasions.If I’m zipping to work and won’t be changing into office shoes, the Faster-3s are vastly superior to wearing traditional commuting boots. The riding shoes are flexible, light, and have a clean, crisp profile. In fact, they are stylish enough to grab when my day doesn’t include two wheels, and they are easily all-day comfortable, even if I have to be on my feet.For casual around-town rides and easy laps through the canyons, I feel appropriately outfitted and secure in the Alpinestars Stella Faster-3 motorcycle riding shoes. However, if I’m planning on riding through the hills at an aggressive pace, I’m still going to put on full-length sport riding boots.Action photography by Drew RuizAlpinestars Stella Faster-3 Shoes Fast Facts
KTM Super ADV R + Lightning Motorcycles’ Richard Hatfield
byMotos and Friends by Ultimate Motorcycle
Hello everyone and welcome once again to Motos and Friends—the weekly Podcast brought to you by the editorial team at Ultimate Motorcycling. My name is Arthur Coldwells.
In this week’s first segment, Editor Don Williams rides KTM’s new 1290 Super Adventure R. This hardcore ADV bike is big, powerful, and a true expert-level machine. Interestingly, it has multiple points of adjustment within its highly capable electronics package, and Don discovered several big surprises where the bike changed personality completely. His is an intriguing look at one of the most capable off road ADV bikes on the market today.
In the second segment, I chat with Richard Hatfield, CEO of Lightning motorcycles. This silicon valley based manufacturer was founded in 2006, and having racked up several notable race victories (including Pikes Peak in 2013 with the late Carlin Dunne on board) Lightning have certainly dominated in racing terms. In another first, Lightning has just announced a new rapid-charging battery technology that may well bring electric motorcycles into becoming real-world, practical transport.
So from all of us here at Motos & Friends… we hope you enjoy this episode!