Published June 06, 2013
Ever wondered what it’s like to drive in Danica Patrick’s shoes?
No, not the stilettos she’s so fond of pairing with bikinis on her days off from the track, although, now that you mention it…
Actually, I’m talking about the Alpinestars racing gear that she and many of the world’s top drivers get paid gobs of money to wear in competition.
The Italian motorsports apparel company focuses on the high end of the market, cranking out some very stylish, but pricey equipment. And that includes its fancy footwear.
Looking for a pair of kangaroo leather kicks with fluorescent yellow highlights for your big F1 test? Yea, it’s got that, for about $300 a pair.
More accessible to the up and comer, club racer or Tony Kanaan bandwagoneer is the Alpinestars SP.
Priced at $179.95, the SP is still plenty snazzy and has a top SFI 3.3 rating, so feel free to pack them for Le Mans.
Constructed from a variety of suedes, the boots slip on snugly, but quickly stretch to conform to the shape of your foot. A roomy toe box is a nice touch, and very welcome during a long day behind the wheel.
In proper racing shoe fashion, the soles are ultra thin under the balls of the feet and thicken toward the heels. The custom rubber formulation grips the pedals fantastically and offers great feel.
Granted, I tested the SPs at Monticello Motor Club in a 2013 BMW M5 with a manual transmission and some of the most well-spaced pedals in the biz, which is kind of like cheating, but they proved to be more than a match for that thoroughbred, nonetheless.
Compared to the top Alpinestar models, the main feature missing is a Velcro strap to hold the laces in place, but know how to tie a double knot, don’t you?
The SPs actually look less obnoxious in casual settings without it, although the orange/white/black version will make a statement wherever you go. Mine were blue/black/white, and, and the look quickly grew on me, but predominantly white and black models are also available if you want to keep things simple.
Regardless of the color, I found the SPs’ best asset to be their breathability. The large, perforated panels of the uppers cool your feet so effectively that when you’re strutting around the paddock you can practically feel a breeze.
You won’t want to do much of that, however, as these boots were definitely not made for walking. At least not all day. For those 24-hour endurance races, you’ll want to bring along something a little more comfortable to slip into between stints.
I wouldn’t recommend high heels.