Not so long ago motorcycle boots used to come in one style, they were black leather and just above wellingtons with their protective abilities.
Thankfully now for us riders, manufacturers have moved with the times and have started producing a wide range of motorcycle boots to suit all styles and purposes.
The only downside of that is now there are so many styles to choose from and it can be a huge task when shopping for a pair when it should be a simple and enjoyable process.
So, we have done the hard work for you and pulled together the best motorcycle boots across the board, broken them down into sections and laid them all out here for you to read through.
No need to thank us, let’s just get started.
Best Short/Ankle Boots
Short/ankle style boots have risen in popularity and you can now find boots for all purposes, from commuting to adventure riding.
Short boots can be just scaled-down versions of long length riding boots, such as the RST Tractech Evo 3 Ce boots, which take after the full-length version here.
There is also a new branch of short boots that are considered to be more casual and trainer like, we will cover those in a section further on.
Other short boots stand alone in their design and have been thought through to offer the most protection possible for the design, such as the Forma FORC50.
A good pair of short boots should offer adequate ankle, toe, and heel protection as a minimum, some sports style boots will add in toe sliders.
The main downside to a short boot is the lack of protection further up the calf and shin area.
There are plenty of short boots which are waterproof which makes them great for commuters or touring.
When considering a pair of short riding boots, be sure to think about your riding style and needs, to make sure they offer the right amount of protection.
Other than that they can be great for the convenience of getting them on and off, walking off the bike, wearing them to work and around town and great for those who struggle to find boots to fit around their calves.
Pros of short boots:
- Easier to get on and off compared to long length boots
- Convenient – many short boots are casually styled so can wear into work and around town as well as on the bike
- Protection in all the key areas, ankle, sole, heel and toe
- Increased comfort particularly for walking around off the bike
- Wide range is available for those who struggle due to calf size with long boots
- Wide range of styles to suit all riders
Cons of short boots:
- Not as protective as long length boots
Read more about our favourite short motorcycle boots.
Best Casual/Trainer Boots
Casual boots are made up of two approaches, the first being a leather boot that looks like a smart walking boot and the other is a trainer. Both are intended to disguise the fact that they are motorcycle riding shoes.
Before we go any further it is really important to note that these sorts of boots are not as protective as others and are therefore best suited to urban riding and slower speeds.
A good casual boot will, however, feature ankle, toe and heel protection along with a good level of abrasion resistance.
Some will have a steel shank or TPU sole to prevent twisting and flex which is a big bonus.
Some trainer style boots will sacrifice armour inserts and instead use ankle collars stuffed with padding which are intended to offer a level of protection but are not quite the same.
You will also find some waterproof trainer style boots like the J-6 Waterproof Shoe, this is perfect for commuters who ride into work every day and wear their boots at work, nobody wants wet feet all day.
If you ride a sportsbike (in a sporty fashion on those country roads) or an adventure bike then it is best to avoid these boots as they won’t give you the protection you need in the event of an incident.
Pros of casual boots:
- Easy to get on and off
- Comfort on and off the bike
- Can offer good protection and waterproof properties
Cons of casual boots:
- Not as protective as other styles of riding boot
- Not good enough for sports riders or adventure bike riders
- Grip can be compromised by normal trainer style soles as opposed to good tread
Best Waterproof Boots
You can find waterproof boots across all the styles of boots on the market, from short and casual to budget and adventure.
A boot with a Gore-Tex liner will offer excellent waterproof capabilities and allow your feet to breathe, whereas a Hipora lining is great for keeping water out but less good for breathability.
Some waterproof boots will have a waterproof liner and combine it with a PU coating on the outer material to increase the effectiveness such as the Richa Vortex.
You are best to figure out first which style of boot you prefer and need and then look for a waterproof boot within that style.
However, if you are looking for an all-year riding boot or touring boot then you should put your focus on long-length boots and prioritise the waterproof properties for maximum protection from the elements.
Pros of waterproof boots:
- Offer weather protection and keep your feet dry
- Suitable for all year riding or getting caught in an unexpected rain shower
- Offer the same amount of protection as non-waterproof boots
- Waterproof boots come in all styles
Cons of waterproof boots:
- Waterproof liners vary in quality and effectiveness, Gore-Tex is the undisputed King for its waterproof capabilities
- Some waterproof boots are not very breathable and can therefore get very warm
Read more about the best waterproof motorcycle boots.
Best Budget Boots
Just because you are on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t buy a really good pair of protective motorcycle boots, after all getting into motorcycling is an expensive business.
Fortunately, there are plenty of choices for those on a smaller budget that do an awesome job in terms of protection and even style.
It is worth pointing out though that cheap doesn’t always equal good value, we only recommend boots that offer good value for the money regardless of the price.
Budget boots can offer good levels of protection and some are even waterproof.
I have a pair of £40 boots that have had a hard life and 5 years later are still going ready for more action. They are great and protective on the bike but are not comfortable walking around or waterproof.
So remember it is the boots’ features that matter most; their protective abilities, comfort and waterproof abilities if required.
With a lot of motorcycle gear, you may find yourself with more than one pair of boots as they fill different needs, this is where budget boots can be useful.
If you have your everyday riding boots for your commute but need a more sturdy sports riding boot for occasional weekend jaunts then you don’t want to spend a fortune on something that rarely gets used.
Pros of budget boots:
- Regardless of price, very cheap boots these days come with essential protection
- Good for a backup pair of riding boots or to fill a different need
- Great value for money can be found with cheaper boots than brands’ flagship pairs
- It is possible to find some good waterproof budget boots
Cons of budget boots:
- Advanced protective features like a TPU sole may be sacrificed to save money
- Waterproofing capabilities might not be as good as more expensive boots with better liners
- Overall comfort may be reduced as the priority for manufacturers is protection, so comfort liners, insoles and materials may not be quite as plush.
Read more about the best cheap motorcycle boots.
Best Ladies Boots
Ladies’ boots have come a long way in terms of design and the vastness of range on the market.
Female riders can now buy boots in various styles that suit their riding needs.
The benefit of having boots designed with a woman in mind is that the footbed and overall design are intended to be more anatomically correct to a woman’s shape.
Many ladies have struggled with men’s boots for years being just that bit too big, so it is awesome that progress has been made to cater for the vast female market.
You can find female boots across all styles from sports boots, casual trainer style boots and adventure boots.
The general caveat I always issue when it comes to women’s motorcycle gear is that there is still a lot of pink on the market and sizing for larger ladies is still an issue with many manufacturers.
When it comes to boots you may find that they are too small in certain areas and some will not even go up to your size, this can be frustrating.
However, lots of progress has been made and each year new female-focused gear hits the market.
Pros of ladies specific boots:
- Anatomically correct to the female form for a much better fit
- Protection in the right places
- No sacrifice in features for female-specific boots over mens
- Styling is more suitable for a female rider
Cons of a ladies specific boots:
- Some manufacturers produce female boots far too small especially around the calves and too narrow in the foot
- Also, few manufacturers produce women’s boots for women with larger feet so finding boots in your size over a size 7 can be tricky and limits your choice
- There is still an awful lot of pink on women’s specific gear which may not suit everyone style wise
Read more about the best ladies’ motorcycle boots.
Best Enduro Boots
Enduro boots have really one job to do and that is to protect your feet and lower legs when riding off-road.
Off-road riding can be more dangerous than everyday road riding with more opportunities to drop the motorcycle or be involved in an accident.
There are few enduro riders if any that won’t have dropped the bike at some point whether tackling an obstacle at slow speed or when giving it some oomph to get over a jump.
Riders also ride over and into situations where there is plenty of debris, branches etc that could be quite painful to hit the legs as they move along, so enduro boots need to be extra abrasion resistant and resistant to penetration from sharp objects.
Off-road boots tend to be more robust and rigid in their construction.
This is not only for standard impact protection but should there be an impact the boots will hold any broken bones or damaged tissue in place until medical help is available to avoid further damage.
As a result of all the protective features, enduro boots tend to be the stiffest and toughest of all motorcycle boots.
They are most comfortable only in the riding position and are not suited to walking around in, neither are they good for wearing while riding road bikes as they are generally too bulky to work the controls on a road bike.
Pros of Enduro boots:
- Enduro boots offer maximum protection
- Very specific style of boots to suit the off-road riding style
Cons of Enduro boots:
- Very stiff and not suitable for use on road bikes
Read more about the best motorcycle enduro boots.
Best Adventure Boots
Adventure boots walk a delicate line between having off-road protective properties with the comfort features of good touring road boots.
Adventure bikes are built to take anywhere and through any terrain, so they need to be adaptable and comfortable for long days in the saddle and equally for walking around and wearing when at a destination.
Key characteristics of adventure boots include the following:
A good pair of adventure boots will have very similar protective properties to an enduro boot but will have more flex at the ankle and the sole to allow for easier use of the bike’s control and more comfort off the bike.
They will also be durable and be able to withstand various terrain and weather conditions, so they last more than one road trip.
There are adventure boots that are more lightweight and verge on more of a touring style boot, these are more suited to road-based adventure riding with lighter green lane riding.
There are also shorter adventure style boots which would suit those who don’t get on with long boots, but it should be noted these offer less leg protection.
Pros of adventure boots:
- Very good protective properties
- Built to take on a variety of riding terrain and circumstances
Cons of adventure boots:
- Can be quite heavy and bulky compared to touring and other riding boots
Read more about the best motorcycle adventure boots.
There you have it, a round-up of the most common type of motorcycle boots and our best picks for each category.
Hopefully, you now have a place to start with looking for your perfect motorcycle boots, regardless of your style or riding needs.