Best Motorcycle Boots: Be Stylish and Protected on Your Next Ride
Discover the top motorcycle boots for different types of riding
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PUBLISHED ON June 23, 2019
Cool motorcycle boots may look good, but they won't necessarily offer the best protection. We've narrowed down some of the best motorcycle boots on the market that will help you get to your destination in style and with safety in mind. No matter what type of biker you are, riding boots are an essential part of your riding apparel.
- Best OverallSIDI Adventure 2 Gore-Tex BootsSummarySummaryThese boots are made of full grain microfiber and Cordura. They're breathable, waterproof and feature a shock resistant heel. Calf panels protect the Achilles tendon and reflective panels aid in nighttime visibility.ProsProsThese boots mold to your feet, provide great grip and keep your feet dry. They are easy to walk in and provide excellent dexterity when riding on or off-road.ConsConsThe boots squeak when you walk whether they are wet or dry. The sole may separate after an extended period of use, and the "robotic" styling may be unappealing to some.
- Best ValueHarley-Davidson Men's Abercorn Motorcycle BootSummarySummaryThese moto-inspired boots are 100-percent full-grain leather with a rubber sole. The shaft measures approximately 7 inches from the arch. The boots are also oil and slip resistant.ProsProsThese boots fit well, are easy to put on, and are comfortable to walk and ride in. The side zipper allows for fast removal, and the finish makes them water-resistant.ConsConsThe stitching may come apart by the toe or by the sole, causing it to separate from the boot. The strap on the back may also break if pulled too hard.
- Honorable MentionGaerne Balance Oiled MX BootsSummarySummaryThese boots are made with a full grain oiled leather. The breathable Gaerne Drytech liner makes them waterproof, and the gum rubber sole gives you maximum control and more comfort.ProsProsThese boots are comfortable, stylish, and easy to walk in. The straps are simple to adjust, and the soles are nice and grippy. The leather quality is excellent.ConsConsIf you don't keep the top oiled, the boots will suck in water through the dry spots. There is no shift protector, they're very warm, and they're a little pricey.
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience with each product we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Motorcycle Boots
- Safety. If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident, you’ll want sturdy boots that offer foot, calf and ankle protection. Sneakers and other shoes offer significantly less protection and little ankle support.
- Grip. Top-rated motorcycle boots will have non-slip, high-traction soles. You do not want to slip when you're getting on and off your motorcycle. You’ll also want traction when you ride in the rain.
- Warmth. Many bikers ride even when it's cold outside. A good pair of insulated motorcycle boots will keep your feet warm when the temperature drops and the wind chill is high.
- Support. The best motorcycle boot brands have a stiff construction and are designed to brace your foot, ankle, and lower calf. This enables you to better balance your bike when you come to a stop.
- Repel moisture. Waterproof and water-resistant motorcycle boots will keep your feet dry when you're on the road. It makes riding more comfortable and significantly less distracting. You can ride in the rain or through puddles without worrying about getting your feet wet.
- Repel debris. Thick leather or armored boots can protect your feet and ankles from road debris. The best motorcycle boots also protect your lower legs from heat generated from your bike's pipes.
Types of Motorcycle Boots
When selecting the best motorcycle boots for cruising, you need to balance comfort and protection. These boots should feel good when you're riding a long distance. While they offer a marginal amount of protection, they typically don’t offer superior protection as racing boots do. Many cruiser boots are lightweight with stiff souls.
Heavy-duty boots are essential if you do motocross or participate in extreme sports on your motorcycle. Protection is a number-one priority if you ride a dirt bike because rough terrain and high speeds can wreak havoc on your feet. Motocross boots are designed to safeguard your lower leg. They typically feature flexible TPU plastic, steel, and aluminum inserts for the toes and heels.
Touring boots are in between cruising and sport boots. They are usually weatherproof and comfortable for long rides as well as walking around. They're also more understated than motocross boots. Many have protective features such as shin plates and reinforced toes. These boots are also usually lightweight and are made of a variety of materials.
Casual or Commuter
If you ride your motorcycle for your commute to work, you'll likely want a pair of motorcycle boots that you can wear both on the bike and off. The best motorcycle footwear for commuters is smaller boots that resemble regular boots. They are lower in height than race boots, have flexible soles, and are comfortable to walk around in.
One of the most popular materials among motorcyclists is leather. The best leather motorcycle boots are treated to withstand water and snow. They also protect your feet when you ride at high speeds. However, some manufacturers don't include a treatment on their leather boots, so they may absorb water instead of repelling it and develop an unpleasant odor.
Kevlar, Gore-Tex, and Other Fabrics
Boots come in a variety of different materials besides leather, including, Kevlar, microfiber, and other durable fabrics. Typically, these types of motorcycle boots are more breathable than leather ones; however, they usually aren't as sturdy and strong. When purchasing protective motorcycle boots, select a pair that features a resilient and long-lasting material.
Forma Boots USA
This motorcycle boot company, based in Henderson, Nev., was founded in 1999. It manufactures a wide range of boots geared towards motocross, race, casual, and cruiser riders. Its products are both comfortable and durable. One recommended item is the Forma Adventure Off-Road Motorcycle Boots.
Leather craftsman Sante Mazzarolo founded Alpinestars in the small Northern Italy town of Asolo in 1963 as motocross started gaining popularity in Europe. The company manufactures a variety of road racing products, including boots and leather suits. One popular product is the Alpinestars SMX-1 R Vented Boots.
Italian motorcycle boot manufacturer TCX is part of the Novation Group. The company produces everything from cruiser to racing to motocross boots. Two recommended products are the TCX Mens Street Ace Street Motorcycle Boots and TCX X-Blend Waterproof Mens Street Motorcycle Boots.
Ernesto Gazzola founded Gaerne in 1962 in Italy. The company designs some of the highest-quality boots and motorcycle apparel in the world. Its products are geared towards both beginner and professional riders. One top product is the Gaerne Balance MX Boots.
Italian company SIDI was founded in 1960 by current president Dino Signori. The company manufactures cycling footwear and boots for off-road and on-road motorcycling. One popular product is the Sidi Adventure 2 Gore-Tex Waterproof Leather ADV Motorcycle Touring Boots.
Childhood pals William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson founded Harley-Davidson in a small shed in Milwaukee, Wis., in 1901. In addition to motorcycles, the company also designs clothing and protective equipment, such as boots. Two top products are the Harley-Davidson Men's Chipman Motorcycle Boot and Harley-Davidson Men's Scout Boot.
Motorcycle Boot Pricing
- $100 and under: Even the best cheap motorcycle boots typically cost at least $100, but you can find some brands for a little less money. They tend to have fewer features (i.e., no waterproofing capabilities) and are geared towards the casual rider.
- $100-$200: Many decent-quality motorcycle boots are available at this price point. However, they're generally not heavy duty and only provide medium protection in a crash.
- $200 and up: The safest motorcycle boots are often the most expensive. Boots in this price range are geared towards motocross and adventure riders who need rugged footwear. Some brands have steel inserts for added protection, and most are waterproof boots.
Fit and Comfort
When choosing the best motorcycle boots, it's important that you buy the right size. This will prevent you from experiencing discomfort and pain. You should never wear a pair of bike boots that bother your heel, ankles, or toes. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it can also be a safety problem if they're too small and make your feet numb.
- Height: The best boots for motorcycle riding come in several different heights. Some reach up and over the shin, while others stop above your ankle or a little bit higher. In general, taller boots provide better protection in a crash because they safeguard more bones and muscles. They also offer more stability. Lower boots expose more of your legs if you hit the pavement.
- Heel Height: This is often an overlooked feature, but it's important because a modest amount of height on the heel allows you to rest your foot on your foot pegs. This prevents your foot from slipping off the peg. If you want a versatile boot you can wear both on and off the bike, choose one with a lower heel.
- Tread: It's essential to have good traction when you're on your motorcycle and walking around. The best motorcycle boots for walking and riding should have a pattern on the bottom with one line of tread around the edges as well as tread in the center of the sole.
- Closure System: The most comfortable biker boots are easy to put on and remove. Motorcycle boot manufacturers use a variety of closures on their products. Many incorporate laces into their designs for a snug fit, while others use buckles, snaps, Velcro, or zippers to keep boots in place.
- Waterproofing: The best waterproof motorcycle boots are perfect for riding in all types of weather conditions. They often have waterproof liners such as Gore-Tex, DryTex, and HiPora. These boots keep your feet dry in the rain. The membranes also make them breathable, so your feet are less likely to sweat.
- Armor: If you race your bike, you will need boots with built-in armor made of Kevlar, carbon, or plastic. The safest motorcycle boots will protect your feet in a high-impact event. Street boots also commonly feature steel plates or steel shank on the toes to protect them and prevent them from getting crushed.
Best Motorcycle Boots Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best Overall: SIDI Adventure 2 Gore-Tex Boots
Constructed of full grain microfiber and Cordura, these Gore-Tex boots are highly breathable and waterproof. They feature a rigid, shock resistant heel, a replaceable micro adjustable cam lock buckle system, rear calf panels to protect the Achilles tendon, and a non-slip sole with memory retention straps. Reflective panels on the heels aid in nighttime visibility.
These adventure boots feel secure and comfortable and fit better over time. They mold to your feet, provide great grip, and keep your feet dry in adverse conditions. They are easy to walk in, are rugged, and provide excellent dexterity when riding on or off-road. In addition, they're flexible and not stiff like motocross boots. They provide great protection for your feet, ankles, and calves.
One problem is these boots squeak when you walk regardless of whether the boots are wet, dry, clean, dirty, hot, or cold. Also, there have been complaints that the sole can separate from the boot at the heel after an extended period of use. Some also don't like the "robotic" styling.
Best Value: Harley-Davidson Men's Abercorn Motorcycle Boot
These moto-inspired, lace-up boots have a 100-percent full-grain leather upper and feature silver-tone hardware, a quilted collar, and a rubber sole. The shaft measures approximately 7 inches from the arch. The boots also have a YKK locking inside zipper and full-length cushioned sock lining. In addition, they are oil- and slip-resistant and have Goodyear welt construction.
These boots fit well, are easy to put on, and are very comfortable to walk and ride in even though they appear stiff and rigid. The side zipper allows for fast removal. The leather is soft and has an oil finish that is water resistant. Overall, they're good quality and feature a cool design. The HD branding is subtle but classy.
These boots may take a day or two to break in, and they may be a little narrow for some riders. Also, there have been some reports that the stitching may come apart by the toe or by the sole, causing it to separate from the boot. The strap on the back may also break if you pull it too hard.
Honorable Mention: Gaerne Balance Oiled MX Boots
These boots are durable and are made with a full grain oiled leather. The breathable Gaerne Drytech liner makes them waterproof, and the gum rubber sole gives you maximum control and better comfort. The boots also come with three alloy replaceable buckles.
These boots are comfortable, stylish, and easy to walk in. The straps are simple to adjust, and the soles are nice and grippy. The leather quality is excellent and thick enough to provide protection against most issues and for basic trail riding. In addition, the toe box is compact enough to easily fit under the shift lever, making shifting a breeze. The boots have memory foam inside to accurately adjust to your foot size, and the lining lets perspiration out but does not let water in.
One downside is that if you don't keep the top oiled it will suck in water through the dry spots. Since there is no shifter protector on the top of the boot it will get dark rather quickly. Also, the boots don't offer the same level of protection as a focused motocross boot and even some touring boots. In addition, they're very warm and a little expensive for a non-Gortex boot.
- Some of the best motorcycle boots may require a short breaking-in period. Some brands require you to wear them for a few days, and they will eventually mold to your feet.
- Not all motorcycle boots are waterproof, and some can lose their waterproofing abilities over time. You can solve this problem by purchasing a waterproofing product and applying it to your boots.
- Some motorcycle boots are easier to clean than others. The easiest pair of boots to maintain are leather boots. You simply remove the padding and footbeds and wipe the leather clean with a cloth and a solution of warm water and dish soap. Motocross boots are more challenging to clean because of the dirt they accumulate from racing.
Q: What size motorcycle boots do I need?
A: Sizes may vary depending on the brand. It's important that the boot has a snug fit around the ankle and toes, but it should not be too tight or uncomfortable.
Q: Do I need to wear boots when I ride my motorcycle?
A: Motorcycle boots provide much better protection in a crash for motorcycle riders than sneakers or other shoes. They guard your feet, toes, and ankles. Some also have pads and inserts for extra protection.
Q: Can I stretch a pair of motorcycle boots to make them fit better?
A: It's not recommended. Even though some leather boots can be stretched slightly, they will conform back to their original shape if they get wet and then dry.
Our pick for the best motorcycle boots are the SIDI Adventure 2 Gore-Tex Boots. They mold to your feet, keep them dry, and are easy to walk in. They're flexible and not stiff like motocross boots and provide great breathability as well as protection for your feet, ankles, and calves.
For a less expensive option, consider the Harley-Davidson Men's Abercorn Motorcycle Boot.