Alpinestars Supertech "R" Review

The Supertechs from the Alpinestars Website.


I have a pair of Stella SMX-4s that I wore the soles out of. I wrote to Alpinestars about my predicament, and they did a re-sole for free. I was incredibly happy with my Stellas, (size 43) and the customer service at A-Stars. When it came time to shop for a more technical boot than my SMXes, it was easy to look at A-Stars.

Before I talk about the Supertechs, and my eventual purchase, a little background on me, (as a sportbike rider) is in order. I own a few motorcycles and I realize not all boots are designed for all situations. The SMXes were perfect for Sport Touring with my mesh gear, and wearing under my jeans and relaxed sport riding. The SMXes are not the best choice for the track, although they are fine if you are starting out. Personally, my SMXes were not perfect with my leathers because, the SMXes have a zipper on the inside of the boot (along my medial Malleolus/Tibia) and my leathers, have a zipper on the same side. When I wore my SMXes, with my leathers, I had to make sure that the two zippers were aligned perfectly or that I had some Under-Armor to provide a cushion. Most times, my SMXes and leathers did not mix for long periods of turn'n and burn'n and aside from some blisters where the two zippers might come in contact with my skin, they "worked". The SMXes and leathers made a few trips to Barber and JenningsGP along with the Georgia/NC/TN mountains. Aside from the occasional chaffing, I always felt that I was not protected enough given the risk of a tumbling fall or something that might happen at the track or serious technical roads in the Mountains. In short, I loved the comfort of the SMXes, but my older generation SMXes did not have enough protection. Comfort - awesome, confidence, not so much.

After the re-sole of my SMXes, my Kawasaki ZX10R's stock foot pegs started to eat up the soles (again) and I decided it was time to retire the SMXes to my relaxed rides with bikes that don't have cheese-graters for foot pegs.

In looking for a replacement for the SMX-4s I set out with the following criteria/observations/knowledge.

Looking at the Sidis, I was happy to see that 43s are offered for women. Most online retailers have the Sidis for around $300. I was ready to pull the trigger and order a set, but I decided to go to my local Cycle Gear and try on the boots they have there.

I knew that the SMXes had gone through a revision, as my Husband has a pair of SMX-5s. Yes, the SMX-5s are much better than the SMX-4s and I was tempted to get another pair of SMXes. However, I needed a technical boot and while the SMX-5s were better protection, they weren't *that* much better.

Cycle Gear had the SMX-5s, SMX+es and they had the Supertechs - in size 43.

Here are some pictures of the SMX+es.

Older version I saw at Cycle Gear (Below)

Newer boot that just showed up on the Alpinestars website! (Below)

The SMX+ boot was a nice boot, and had great protection, but there was one feature that caused me pause. The zipper had no elastic. Without some elastic in the zipper pull, the boots are going to put a great deal of stress on the zipper until they are broken in. The boot - once on - felt very firm and stiff. My foot felt like it was in a ski boot and the boot itself was very rigid. I liked everything about the boot and was just about convinced they would be mine.

Then, I decided to take a look at the Supertechs. Not so much as a realistic option, but as a thorough shopper, I needed to eliminate them from the decision process. First in the elimination was their price. Over $450. Way more than I wanted to spend on a pair of boots. Their appearance? Not nearly as cool as my friend's Sidis. Looking at the Supertechs, they looked really plain.

How on earth were these boots worth the money? I called the manager over, who I know is an avid track rider, and asked him about the boots. He laughed that even he did not have a pair of those, but that soon he'd have a pair when he saved his pennies. He then explained some of the features of the boot. The features, once explained to me, made perfect sense and were obvious - and started me down the path of no return.

Here's how I am going to explain it - and not how the manager explained it to me.

Your foot is like your Brain. Your brain sits/floats in a bath of fluid. Your skull surrounds both the fluid and your brain. The fluid in your skull acts to dissipate energy if your skull is knocked around. The fluid that surrounds your brain will transmit the force of impact over a greater area than if there was a direct connection to your skull and your brain.

With a rigid boot (SMX+es or Sidis or many others), the energy of impact has fewer options to dissipate the energy. Many times the energy moves up your leg and into your knee. Sometimes your foot will shatter if the energy has nowhere to go.

With a dual boot, the energy of impact has several different layers to go through and because there are two separate objects that are not permanently connected, the energy has different paths to dissipate. It's like people who are asleep when in a car accident vs. the people that brace for impact.

As we went over the features of the Supertechs, more light bulbs started to go off. The smooth "plain" exterior of the boot is more aerodynamic and makes for a lighter boot. The Supertechs have an full length elastic zipper!!! The ankle supports in the Supertechs are articulated in both the vertical and rotational.

There were other technical factors too, and when I tried them on, I was amazed at how light they were. I was amazed at how comfortable they were - like my SMX-4s. It was very hard to grasp the concept of a boot that was comfortable/light and protective as this boot was. It was a hard boot to put back on the shelf and dismiss as being too "over-the-top".

Price be damned. The features were too overwhelming. I bought them.

Pictures of my boots after a full day riding

In the image below, you can see the venting and the full length zipper. The upper boot "skirt" seals against my leathers.

The buckle goes into the boot and you don't feet it against your calf. Another good shot of the full length zipper with elastic/accordion.

Here is the inner boot. Notice that there is additional heel protection even in the inner boot below and in the image above. Notice the 5th metatarsal (Little toe) protection. Notice the calcaneus (heel) protection. Look at the malleolus (ankle) protection

More shots of the protection of the inside boot.

The cord is kevlar and the eyelets are plastic.

Very comfortable inner boot.

The inside surface of the boot is smooth and feels great against the bike frame.

A shot of the boot with the cord sticking out - which is normally tucked in.


I took the Supertechs out for a shake down in preparation for an upcoming track day. I had no idea how awesome these boots would be in real life! On my Kawasaki ZX10R, when I accelerate hard, the g-force makes my legs heavy and it's usually hard to get my feet onto the pegs under hard acceleration. With these boots - being lighter and more aerodynamic, I am able to get my feet on the pegs faster! Even moving my feet around to shift is easier as there is less wind pulling at my feet. Comfort wise, it feels like I am wearing socks and it's hard to believe I am wearing such awesome protection.

My feet size are 10ww or 10.5w (USA women's sizes)

I wear a 43 in the SMX4s and a 43 in the Supertechs, so the sizing is perfect for me. I also wear very thin socks made of technical fabric that are about the same thickness as Under-Armor. The boots and their full length accordion/zipper took some technique to get over my leathers, but once over, they stretched and were able to be zipped and un zipped with ease.

Wow. I love these boots. Very expensive, but worth it.

Questions I have been asked about the Boots

Q: "So, you had a short comment about fitting the boots on around your suit. How did that end up working out? You tighten the inners, then put on the leathers and zip them, then close the shell around them? Is that as big a PITA as it sounds? How does it feel?"

A: For me, I have large calves from my cycling days - the pedal kind of cycle - so that I am already on the upper limit of what the boot's designed "Calf Diameter" is. My leathers are custom - Syed - and were not designed around these boots. The zippers in my suit are heavy-grade brass and HUGE and have no elastic in the lower leg part where they zip. I am able to zip them around the inner boot just to the point above the ankle joint. After that, the boot zipper pull *could* go over it, but at $450 dollars I am not going to risk ripping the zipper accordion before the track day coming up. I have no doubt that after a little while there will be no problems with my mega-size leather's zippers in the boot. Closing the shell now, and tightening the boot with 90% of the leather's leg zipper closed is no problem - even with my large calf size. The PITA comes from having a new boot that has not been totally broken in. Once on, even now, they feel fine and I can wear them all day.

Q: "I like the elastic zipper feature. Does that really help with getting them on over your leather? Also, does the boot have any adjustment, like the thing on the Sidis where the calf part can be pulled back then tightened down? Or is all the adjustment in the elastic?"

A: Absolutely, the accordion makes the boot feel like it was made for my foot. The outer boot has adjustment on the external shell - on the calf. Most of the adjustment for the boot is in the inner boot when you are pulling the cord tight around your foot. I suppose then, that there are really only two places where there is any adjustment. On the outer boot calf, and inner boot cord. The elastic is elastic. I would also point out that it's the design philosophy of the boot to NOT be so rigid. The more you think about the protection, the more it becomes a paradigm shift. Rigid protection or a subtle dynamic one? My husband got into an off-road motorcycle accident a few years ago. He fell off the bike, and the bike came down on his leg. Because his MX boots were so hard and rigid, the fall, and limited twist of his leg caused not only his ankle to be broken, but the torsion traveled up to his fibula and he had a spiral break because the twisting. I'm thinking the Supertechs are like airbags vs. rigid racing harnesses. It's a design difference.

Q: "Did you get to try on any of the Sidis' themselves for a comparison?"

A: No, and because I like the look of the Sidis, if I had, and they fit, I would own them now. Sidis would have been cheaper and looked better. However, I am glad that I didn't because I am convinced of a different design paradigm. I would not have been exposed to the difference if Sidis were available. I'm also wearing a "Men's" boot and I wish I could have spent money on a woman's product as the manufacturers would know that a woman was buying a technical boot and would gain more R&D money to make better woman's equipment. With me buying a Man's boot, the Alpinestars statistics will never know that a woman bought them, and for us, we will continue to have Stellas as our only option. In THAT regard, I should have bought the Sidis.

Update: 3/21/2001

I just finished a track day with my SuperTechs. WOW. I was able to shift and move around like never before! I had to rethink my shifting and foot placement because they were so nimble and supple. So comfortable! Fantastic boots!