By the time Sante Mazzarolo had the idea to start making hiking boots, he already had an inkling what his future would hold – he was, after all, a third generation cobbler. But, what Sante may never have imagined back then was that some 50 years later the company he founded, Alpinestars (named after a flower that grew in the Alps mountain range), would become a global phenomenon. From the cockpit of Formula 1 cars to the back-flipping antics of the X-Games, the A-Star logo can be found.
It is, of course, the sport of motocross to which the Italian company can trace its most enduring roots. Although photos of an early Alpinestar off-road boot give proof of the brands earliest days in the sport, it really wasn’t until the early ‘70s that the Alpinestars name became synonymous with motocross champions.
And what may have begun with the R&D and race winning efforts of Italian National MX champ Emilio Ostorero, it was all soon eclipsed by the race winning efforts of a young Belgian rider by the name of Roger DeCoster.
For many American off-road riders, the Alpinestars boot was better known under its imported “Hi-Point” name, and it became iconic for the steel plate used as added shin protection.
In the years since, Alpinestars have been used by every great champion and it was to that legacy that Gabrielle Mazzarola and his sister welcomed the many fans and friends of the brand to a party at the Petersen Museum in Hollywood. With a view looking over a wide swath of city that knew little of names like Mikkola, LaPorte, Roberts, McGrath, and Villopoto, attendees gathered to share stories, laughs and gaze at the wide collection of Alpinestars memorabilia.
|Though many of Alpinestar’s best known riders of today were not present, a handful of past champions made the effort to attend. David Bailey is still revered by one and all and Gabrielle was pleased to have the former factory Honda star in attendance.
Although the essence of the Alpinestar boot has remained the same in five decades, the technology has certainly come far.
Unfortunately, long-time Alpinestars stalwart Roger DeCoster wasn’t in attendance, he did loan one of his factory Suzuki race bikes to stand in his place.
What better way to pay homage to all that Sante Mazzarola created that to enter the penthouse room and find an oversized image of him still crafting in leather?
Named after an Italian design award that Sante had won in the late 60’s, the “Oscar” was the name of the boot first worn by Roger DeCoster.
Ricky Johnson was pleased as punch to point out his promotional efforts for the Italian boot maker.
No telling of the timeline of Alpinestars is complete without mentioning the Man, the myth, the legend – Roger DeCoster
In the years since their early MX days, Alpinestars has of course become a recognizable brand of performance and safety wear for everything from rally car racing to MotoGP. The display of driver/rider suits was impressive.
An early pair of car shoes used by the Fittipaldi team was the perfect segue to the current drivers using Alpinestars shoes which include World Champion Sebastian Vettel of the Red Bull team.
From early road racing boots used by Randy Mamola to the pink boots made for 250cc World Champion Jacky Vimond and the mountain bike shoes made famous by Johnny O’Mara, Alpinestars have played a role in championship winning footwear for decades.