Starting at $169.95 for the standard Faster 3, $179.95 for the Drystar, and $189.95 for the Rideknit, these Alpinestars Faster 3’s are definitely not cheap shoes. However, if I was to spend my own hard earned cash, I would definitely splurge for the Rideknit technology. There are fierce competitors for the Faster 3 standard and Drystar versions, however, the Rideknit has the stage all to itself in terms of the style, breathability, and CE level protection it provides. If you’re looking for a daily commuter that can comfortably take you where your two wheel machine can’t, add these Faster 3 Rideknit to your list of considerations.
Value for Money
True to size
Virtually no break in due to Rideknit technology
Excellent CE level protection
Comfort padding all around
Bold colors but also includes traditional colorways
Thin outsole results in lower mileage if really using these to walk
Weird bunched material on top of right big toe area
At the time of this review, Southern California is under another excessive heat advisory, with temperatures hitting highs of 105 ºF (40 ºC for the rest of the world) in the Los Angeles area. I’ve ridden in the hot and humid conditions in the beautiful county of Taiwan when I was an expatriate there, so this heat is nothing compared to that. However, with the engine heat right there at your feet, having a lightweight and high breathable shoe is still a must.
There are plenty of short boots and riding shoes out there, but none carries over the genetic code of the lifestyle shoe we are familiar with. Comfortable and responsive, the Alpinestars Faster 3 Rideknit shoes became my first shoe to be as useful for my day-to-day style as it is in riding performance.
With a commute of 100+ miles round trip everyday, the Alpinestars Faster 3 Rideknit got to be in the exact environment it was designed for. Find out more about my experiences below.
Alpinestars is a truly world class brand of motorcycle apparel. Founded in the early 1960s by Sante Mazzarolo, Alpinestars has grown to be a world leading manufacturer of professional racing products such as leather jackets, jeans, boots, and 1 piece suits.
Whilst their leathers are worn by some of the biggest names in bike racing, they also specialize in high performance textile jackets, jeans, and gloves. From F1 to Karting, the World Rally Championship to NASCAR, Alpinestars work with the very best drivers and riders to bring design innovations to all aspects of professional motor-sport.
Where the Faster 3 really shines is when discussing fit and comfort. All the Rideknit coverage allows the shoe to flex and bend naturally. With other high-top riding boots and shoes of this style, you still get that stiff and bulky feeling from the get-go.
The Alpinestars Faster 3 Rideknit shoes out of the box were the complete opposite. I found them to be immediately comfortable for riding the moment I took it out of the box. Even walking around the house, they felt like traditional high-top sneakers you get from Converse.
The fit is true to size. In past years, the Faster shoes fit small by about one size, but these new 2019+ Faster 3 shoes fit more true to size. I am a 10.5 in my Nike Pegasus and Adidas Ultraboost; the Faster 3’s size 10.5 fit spot on. The toe box can accommodate wide foot riders as well. I am standard—the toe box is a comfortable fit, but it will loosen a touch when broken-in.
Throughout the mileage I’ve put into the Faster 3 Rideknit, I’ve been very happy with the comfort and breathability, and I’m overall extremely satisfied with the shoe. The airflow is truly amazing. The Rideknit upper is comfortable and very breathable, which helped my feet stay cool.
The traditional lacing system gives ample adjustability and support. There is also a hook and loop strap reaching across the top of the laces to help hold them away from moving parts and your kick stand.
The Faster 3 Rideknit shoe is styled to make the outsole look thin—however, they don’t feel that way wearing them. From what I can feel and see, the midsole is designed with a thinned-out portion where the pedal and shoe come in contact. This provides an excellent pedal and controls feel. The rest of the sole is well-cushioned for a comfortable off-bike experience.
The Faster 3 Shoe upper is crafted from Rideknit and Alpinestars to be made from superbly lightweight, durable and abrasion-resistance microfiber. I might sound like a broken record, but boy, does it breathe.
The medial (inside) of the shoe does not have Rideknit, but rather the advanced microfiber compound (which includes a small amount of padding comfort for when your foot is pressed against the bike).
Along the top of the toe box, asymmetric toe design gives protection around the shift area. The toe box is reinforced, but only about 1” back from the tip. This more than enough toe protection should you end up going down.
The outsole looks thin—but as stated above, the minimal material between the foot and the pegs gives a great feel on the controls. It also helps provide stable footing once your feet are on the ground, as you wont feel any flex from the sole.
The embedded support shank in the sole helps the bottom of the shoe keep its shape and provide rigidity. All of this improves the riding experience, which I appreciate compared to my full sport racing boots.
The insoles are lush and comfortable. Not something you see everyday are air channels like in the EPS of a helmet on the bottoms of insoles. With the airflow of the Faster 3, I feel this working by circulating the air within. Oh, and did I mention they are removable and replaceable?
Lastly, there are a multitude of TPR sliders and protectors, which we will get into in the Protection section of this review.
Alpinestars Faster 3 Rideknit Shoes Protection
These Faster 3s are now CE rated. You would think the tradeoff for comfort and breathability is the protection, but seeing that these Faster 3 shoes obtained the CE EN 13634:2017 certification shows you can get comfort and protection all in one.
The material science that incorporates abrasion resistance and breathability is astounding. The TPR sliders are placed strategically for optimal protection. What a time we are living in!
Working in the industry, part of my job as a Product Developer is to see through the testing of our PPE to certain standards as regulated by the European Union. The CE EN13634:2017 standard does a good job testing for resistance to abrasion, penetration by sharp objects, and lateral crushing.
We are going to get a little technical here, so if you’re not interested, you can feel safe knowing that these Faster 3’s will protect your feet not if, but when you go down. It happens to just about everyone eventually.
For testing, the boot is divided into two areas: Area A covers the sole, front and back of the boot, and everything else is Area B.
For basic Level 1 approval, materials tested on area A must last 1.5 seconds, and samples from area B need to last 5 seconds on the abrasive belt. To reach the higher Level 2, area A samples need to last 2.5 seconds or longer, while area B must survive at least 12 seconds without wearing through.
Next, the boots are tested to see how they’d hold up if they came up against a sharp object. For this, a blade attached to a mounting block is dropped onto a sample of the boot, and an apparatus measures how far the blade goes through the boot. The tests use the same areas (A and B) as the abrasion test above.
When testing area A, the knife will be dropped at two meters per second (m/s). For a Level 1 and a Level 2 rating, the knife can’t protrude through the material by more than 25mm.
Area B is tested by dropping the blade at 2.8m/s. For Level 1 approval, the blade can’t go through the sample by more than 25mm. To pass Level 2, the maximum it can go through is 15mm.
The transverse rigidity test determines how strongly the boot can resist your foot being crushed if a bike’s weight falls on it. This is extremely important when you are in a low side. I had a low side last year where my leg was stuck under my Suzuki GSXS-750. The boot I was wearing at the time saved my ankle from being crushed as well as keeping my toes from burning on the exhaust pipes. Thank goodness!
The boot is laid down with the widest part of the foot positioned between two plates, which compresses at a rate of 30mm per min. Apparatus records the force required to compress the sole at that rate. If it took less than 1kN of force to compress the sole to 20mm, the test failed. If it took 1kN-1.4kN, the boot takes a Level 1 pass, and if it needed 1.5kN or more to compress the sole, it achieves a Level 2 pass.
There are other optional tests that I won’t get into, since the Rideknit does not have these ratings. However, passes in these optional tests would be represented on the label with additional letters underneath the mandatory testing ratings.
After reviewing the CE testing breakdown, you can see how the Faster 3’s are strategically designed to keep your foot safe. You can feel safe knowing that even though this is an ankle-high boot, it will still give you the proper protection you need.
The Faster 3 is an aggressively-styled sport riding shoe. Their design is based heavily on those from Alpinestar’s automotive racing division, which you can see in the low profile design and the extended rubber soles to the heel.
Immediately these shoes grab my attention with their “in-your-face” styling, bold colors, and appealing sport/sport touring riding features. They look like traditional high-top motorcycle boots that went to Nike’s design center for a makeover, and I am in love with it.
With the Rideknit technology, Alpinestars were able to introduce a copious amount of color combinations and patterns. Although, if you like more traditional colors, those are available too.
Alpinestars Faster 3 Rideknit Shoes Build Quality
Faster 3 Rideknits are built well. They give the clear impression of being a well-made piece of kit. The combination of advanced materials does make for a complicated shoe from an assembly standpoint, but when looking over the stitching and trim work, everything seems neat and tidy.
The outsole to midsole lamination looks great, glue is applied cleanly. Stitch work is flawless and Rideknit construction implementation is executed pretty well. If I do have a gripe, it’s on the right shoe, the liner/foam material above the big toe seems to be bunched up a bit. So you can feel a bit of pressure, but after a couple hundred miles, you get used to it. Overall, Faster 3 did not disappoint in this category.
Alpinestars Faster 3 Rideknit Shoes Value
These are available for both men and women and come in three versions: a traditional solid microfiber style, a waterproof Drystar version, and finally, this “Rideknit” version built with breathable mesh material for the hot summer months. Here’s a quick breakdown on the versions available:
The standard Faster 3: This shoe is an upgraded version of the Faster V2. The upper material on this shoe is an advanced solid microfiber material. It will be good for mild and dry weather use. Available in both men’s and women’s sizes/colors.
The Faster 3 Rideknit variation basically turns these into a pair of mesh motorcycle short boots. The Rideknit in the name of this version refers to the breathable panels on the side of the shoe. Basically some of the solid microfiber is substituted with a sturdy breathable mesh fabric.
Air blows literally right through the Rideknit panels, so this version would be the choice for use in summer months and in dry weather (not waterproof). The Faster 3 Rideknit is available in both men’s and women’s sizes/colors.
The Faster 3 Drystar: A waterproof layer is added behind the solid microfiber upper in this boot to keep water from coming in around the shoe. As with all waterproof motorcycle footwear, they don’t vent/breathe as well as the other 2 versions above—so choose this shoe if you think you’ll be riding in wet weather or if you want a more “airtight” shoe for cooler weather. These are also available in both men’s and women’s sizes/colors.
Starting at $169.95 for the standard Faster 3, $179.95 for the Drystar, and $189.95 for the Rideknit, these Alpinestars Faster 3’s are definitely on the more expensive side of the pricing spectrum. If I was to spend my own hard earned cash, I would definitely splurge for the Rideknit technology.
There are fierce competitors for the Faster 3 standard and drystar version, however, the Rideknit has the stage all to itself in terms of the style, breathability, and CE level protection it provides. If you’re looking for a daily commuter that can comfortably take you where your 2 wheel can’t, add these Faster 3 Rideknit to your list of considerations.