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Just how important can a humble (or less humble) motorcycle boot be?
It doesn’t fuel your machine.
It won’t pay for its add-ons, customization or maintenance.
Nor will it protect it from thieves.
In fact, a motorcycle riding boot doesn’t have anything to do with the motorcycle itself. It just sits on your foot, giving off that bad-ass look.
Or does it?
We’ve said it before: good footwear is one of the most important aspects of motorcycle safety gear. Your feet and lower legs are always in a vulnerable position, and statistics show that this is where you’re most likely to sustain serious injury.
Because of this, you should leave your trainers and sports shoes in the closet when riding your bike. Instead, you need to put on something that offers much more protection.
There are hundreds of options on the market so we’ve reviewed our favorites here with different options for various types of use.
Welcome to our best motorcycle boots round up and review.
Best Motorcycle Boots Review 2021
1. Best Overall – Durango Men’s 11-Inch Harness Boot
As far as harness boots go, Durango Men’s 11-Inch Harness Boot is a relatively short boot with 11 inches in height. The rugged design is similar to engineer boots, which motorcyclists traditionally love because they are 1) practical and protective, 2) not very showy.
But if you want them to be showy, they have it in them too. Just put your jeans over the boots instead of tucking them in, and you’re all set.
(They look better like that anyway.)
However, when you go out to ride, it’s advisable to tuck your pants in so they don’t get caught in case of an accident.
What makes this model especially suitable as a rider boot is that the rubber outsole is oil and slip resistant. The heel is very tough, with a metal shank that guarantees it won’t decay or lose shape from everyday abuse. Plus, it protects your foot from injury if you should step on a nail or something.
The toe box is square, so it won’t be tight to wider feet.
The sizing is quite comfortable, so you might consider getting half a size smaller.
2. Top Street Smart Motorcycle Boots – TCX Hero
The vintage café racer look has made a serious comeback over the last few years with bike manufacturers like Triumph, Ducati, and Yamaha releasing a number of retro models that have sold very well.
Well, if you wear a check shirt and sport a long beard, TCX Hero might just be for you.
Available in a vintage black, full grain leather upper, this waterproof motorcycle boot features an external and internal construction for all-weather use.
There is also an additional piece of leather over the shift lever point for added durability which is soft enough that it doesn’t reduce gear change feel.
The height of these boots is great with protection that will extend halfway up your shins, acting as a brace should the worst happen.
Both the internal footbed and the external rubber sole are replaceable, so these should last you for years to come.
3. Best Budget Option – Bruno Marc Motorcycle Combat Oxford Boot
If I told you that the Bruno Marc Motorcycle Combat Oxford Boot will last a lifetime, I would be lying.
It’s not the most durable or rugged moto boot.
It’s not very protective either.
But the truth is, it wouldn’t be fair to expect that in this price range.
For what it costs, this motorcycle shoe is a very decent pick. It’s a stylish piece of footwear that you can use to dress up or down, as a motorcycle riding boot or merely a walking shoe with a comfy cushioned insole.
(A great pick for a motorcycle date, by the way.)
Get the black variety and you’ll have a dirt cheap combat boot! It really doesn’t get any cheaper than that.
It’s made up of synthetic materials entirely. But the construction is surprisingly sturdy. They might not withstand a severe thunderstorm, but they will keep your feet warm and dry in light to medium rain.
When it comes to protection, the highlight is arch support.
However, I wouldn’t get this pair for more aggressive riding if I were you. It just wasn’t made for situations with a higher risk of getting injured.
4. Top Street Casual Motorcycle Boots – TCX Street Ace Waterproof Boots
TCX is a company that focuses solely on protective motorcycling boots, and it shows in the quality of their products.
These booty sneakers (or sneakery boots) are a personal favorite as I often wear jeans when riding so an out and out race boot would look slightly out of place.
Luckily these also make a great boot for walking around in and are more comfortable than any other pair of shoes I own.
TCX Street Ace Waterproof is available in both waterproof and ventilated versions giving you a couple of options depending on your local climate. I opted for the ventilated ‘Air’ version and they work very well in keeping your feet cool and sweat-free.
Best of all, they still offer great protection due to a number of reinforced sections at the important areas such as the heel, ankle, and toes.
They are CE certified as protective footwear. This means they have withstood actual testing against the sort of forces you might experience in a crash and met the required standard.
Despite the premium protection, note that this street shoe will act more like an ankle protector than a shin guard. (If you need the latter, look for tall riding shoes.)
5. Best Touring Motorcycle Boots – Alpinestar Roam 2
Our pick for those long trips away or all-weather commute is the Roam 2. These are very sturdy and offer just about as much protection as you’re going to get for a non-race or off-road boot.
A 100% waterproof membrane is present and backed up with 3 adjustable Velcro closure straps to ensure a good fit and that nothing gets in that shouldn’t.
The dual-density ankle cups offer great protection, and the accordion stretch panels mean that these should remain comfortable as long as you’re on the bike.
The internal materials are microfiber which should assist in wicking away sweat and add a small element of breathability. The anatomic EVA sole is designed to mold to the shape of your feet and can be replaced if and when worn out.
CE certified with protection just about everywhere means we wouldn’t hesitate to take these on those 1000 mile cross country trips.
6. Best Off-Road Motorcycle Boots – Forma Adventure Boots
The R1200GS has been BMW’s best selling motorcycle for years. That tells us that off-road adventure riding is just as popular as ever. If you enjoy getting stuck in the mud, then this Forma Adventure Motorcycle Boot is for you.
These feature the same great attention to detail as previous models. Fastening is achieved via a rugged 3 clasp system (which Forma claims is unbreakable) that braces your feet and ankles into place.
To ensure flexibility, a multi-flex rubber sole is utilized that allows you enough natural movement to be able to comfortably walk around when off the bike, while still offering flex and crush resistance to a CE level 2 standard.
Their full height design and injection molded front shin plate means that you will be protected no matter what happens when out on the trails.
Waterproof, lightweight, breathable – if you don’t already have a pair of leather motorcycle boots, then you should seriously consider this pair. Although designed for off-road dirt bike boots use in mind, there is no reason you couldn’t also use them for touring or city riding.
They are not as tall or stiff as your average motocross boot. But that’s about the only function they don’t meet.
7. Best Track Day Motorcycle Boots – Alpinestars SMX 6 V2
A lot of riders in this category will be looking for something that looks as good as their bike does while matching their leathers and offering great protection. A tall order.
That’s why we simply have to include the Alpinestars’ SMX 6 V2 on this list. Available in a number of different colors as well as featuring a vented model, these offer a great combination of reasonable price and top of the line features.
Protection begins at the toes with the replaceable injection molded toe slider, extending to the shift pad on the upper foot and the reinforced heel counter at the rear.
Ankle support is provided via a bio-mechanical lateral ankle brace which protects against impact and abrasion whilst still allowing enough movement with the use of stretch accordion panels for added flexibility and comfort.
The shin and calf area are protected by the use of TPU plates and are fitted with vent panels to improve overall comfort levels. These boots do run a little large so it might be worth going down a size from your usual footwear depending on the sort of socks you use.
Whether track or road, the technology this racing boot offers will make sure you are always protected in the event of a crash.
8. Top Ankle Boots – Harley-Davidson Men’s Brake Light Boot
Harley-Davidson Men’s Brake Light Boots are not only super bad-ass looking, but also incredibly comfortable ankle boots.
Especially when you consider the bulky looks. Indeed, it’s a huge leather boot.
Unlike some other Harley-Davidson models, these really scream Harley. Logos everywhere, zippers and rivets and other metal hardware, plus the huge sole which you can replace in case it ever goes bad.
Certainly not your average casual boot!
The Goodyear welt construction means the outsole has a hell of a stitch!
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you really need motorcycle boots?
Yes, you do.
Ask any active biker with even a couple years’ riding experience and they’ll tell you how many times those boots made a difference between a sprained ankle and a lost foot.
Of course, high quality boots won’t save your life. (That’s why premium motorcycle helmets are for.)
But they may easily save your limbs, and that’s why you need to get a pair ASAP.
Here are just a few examples.
Most of the time, you’ll be riding your motorcycle on asphalt. If any, even the mildest accident were to happen, asphalt can be very unforgiving at high speeds.
You don’t want your foot to get between the foot peg and the asphalt, or under your bike. But it does happen since falls are relatively common even with seasoned bikers. A pair of rugged boots will protect your ankles and, if they are tall enough, your shins. The point is to restrict your feet and act almost as an exo-skeleton.
If they have a steel toe, they will also protect the front part of your feet.
So yeah, motorcycle boots are not just about your visual image and the looks. Their primary function is to protect you from various types of injury. Shattered bones and twisted or dislodged ankles are not fun. If anything like that should happen, your foot will never be what it was before the accident, and pain will haunt you for the rest of your life.
Are cowboy boots good for motorcycle riding?
It depends on their making, but the most accurate answer is no.
At first glance, they meet all the necessary preconditions: tall enough to protect you from the exhaust heat, (usually) leather-y and durable enough.
However, there’s much more to a motorcycle boot than just the height.
You’ll need a non-slippery and tough rubber sole that provides traction. Also, high heels can get in the way. (More on that below.)
The long and short of it is, feel free to choose from various motorcycle boot styles. But make sure they are motorcycle boots.
Are combat boots good for motorcycle riding?
They can be, but only if they offer great ankle support.
Which, in most cases, they don’t.
When you’re in doubt, just ask yourself what is the primary purpose of the boots you’re eyeing. Combat is one thing, but riding at high speeds, where crashes and falls are very real, are something entirely different.
Combat boots will be much more comfortable for walking, but they are not reinforced enough to protect your feet in high-impact accidents.
Why do bikers wear harness boots?
Originally, the harness strap was there to help with the fitting. With motorcycle boots, the gist is to enable a tight fit that keeps your legs and feet in place.
Even though the fitting aspect is still there today, most harness boots will sport it just for the looks.
Can you wear heels while riding a motorcycle?
Heels are fine, but high heels are an absolute no-no.
In this game, the point is to always have free and uninterrupted access to your foot pegs. High heels can really complicate things, especially in a situation when you have to react urgently.
Besides safety, there’s also the question of ergonomics and foot posture when you’re taking longer rides. High heels would position your feet unnaturally and may cause foot cramps.
So, ladies, your best bet are dedicated women’s motorcycle boots.
Along with your protective motorcycle gloves and helmet , motorcycle boots are one of the most important forms of protective equipment you can wear and really can save your feet and ankles in a crash. Make sure you’re always wearing suitable footwear.
And that concludes our round up and review of the best motorcycle boots on the market today. Feel free to send us a comment with your experiences.
Last update on 2021-06-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API