Thinking on your feet: Best motorcycle boots as chosen by MCN

There’s a dizzying choice of motorcycle boots on the market these days, covering every type of two-wheel activity, from urban scooter commuting to on/off-road dual-sport adventure.

As with other kits, some bike boots are designed for maximum protection with comfort as an afterthought, while urban motorbike boots aim to be as light and casual as possible, but they usually sacrifice some protection capability. It’s down to you to decide where your priorities lie.

The best at a glance

Even so, choosing the ideal footwear for the kind of riding, you do can be a tricky task. We gather a selection from right across the board to help steer you in the right direction and provide some helpful advice on what to look for, along with links to specific MCN buyer’s guides and in-depth reviews from our expert testers.

Here’s an overview of the different types of motorcycle boots available, showing one of the most popular examples and a link to the specific MCN buyer’s guide.

Best short motorcycle boots

Price: £168.99
Amazon

Description

This short boot or riding shoe from Alpinestars uses all the protection and technology of a full version, but it stops at the ankle. Your foot will stay just as protected as in a standard boot but with added levels of comfort. Obviously, you sacrifice some ankle and all of your shin protection.

MCN's guide to the best short motorcycle boots

Pros

  • Comfortable cut
  • High levels of foot protection

Cons

  • No shin and limited ankle protection

Best motorbike boots for summer

Price: 215.99 (Was £299.99)

www.sportsbikeshop.co.uk

Description

These ventilated road/track boots use a Teflon mesh to stay cool without sacrificing integrity. The Techno 3 iron closing mechanism guarantees a good fit, and there's a shock-absorbing heel cup and anti-twist ankle braces, too.

MCN's guide to the best summer motorcycle boots

Pros

  • Keep you cool in summer
  • Excellent protection

Cons

  • Not waterproof

Best for sport and racing

Price: 512.99 (was £539.99)

www.sportsbikeshop.co.uk

Description

Alpinestars Supertech boots have been around for generations and have long been right at the top of the sports bike tree. There have been lots of racer rep versions, too, so you can emulate your favourite rider.

MCN's guide to the best sports and racing motorcycle boots

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Top-notch protection

Cons

  • Might be overkill for more casual riders

Best for adventure

Price: 228.49 (was £349.99)

www.sportsbikeshop.co.uk

Description

Despite their intimidating appearance, the Sidi Adventure 2 Gore-Tex boots are actually very comfy on and off the bike. The Gore-Tex means they're waterproof and breathable, too, so perfect whatever the weather throws at you.

Pros

  • Waterproof and breathable
  • Excellent protection

Cons

  • Quite bulky

Best for motorbike touring

Price: 199.99 (was £269.99)

www.sportsbikeshop.co.uk

Description

These super comfy touring boots from TCX are designed to be sleek and comfy without the bulk of adventure-style boots. You don't get ostentatious exoskeletons, toe sliders or buckle systems, just simple, waterproof and breathable boots to rack up the miles in.

MCN's guide to the best touring motorcycle boots

Pros

  • Waterproof and breathable
  • Protective
  • Vegan

Cons

  • Touring design isn't to everyone's taste

Best urban motorbike boots

Price: 208.99 (was £219.99)

www.sportsbikeshop.co.uk

Description

Urban boots give you most of the comfort of standard boots but with added protection. These from TCX look like smart casual leather boots and won't look out of place at work or the pub paired with riding jeans.

Pros

  • D3O protective inserts
  • Look like casual boots

Cons

  • Not as protective as a proper boot

Best waterproof sports boot

Price: 142.49 (was £149.99)

www.sportsbikeshop.co.uk

Description

Whether you're expecting a shower on a summer ride or the weather isn't great for your chosen trackday date, a waterproof pair of sports boots can come in handy. These from RST have all the features you'd expect from a sporty boot, but they won't let the weather in.

MCN's guide to the best waterproof sports motorcycle boots

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Great value

Cons

  • Not the most supportive

Best vegan motorbike boots

Price: £221.99
Amazon

Description

It can be tricky to find an animal-free bike kit, but for some reason, plenty of boots fit the bill. These from TCX look like cool, sporty boots, but with the added bonus that no animals were harmed to make them.

MCN's guide to vegan-friendly motorcycle kit

Pros

  • Top-notch protection
  • Sporty looks
  • Vegan

Cons

  • Not waterproof

Best winter boots

Price: 184.99 (was £249.99)

www.sportsbikeshop.co.uk

Description

Touring boots like these from Sidi are often a good bet for winter riding, thanks to being waterproof and fairly well-insulated. Lightness, toe sliders and flashy designs don't feel necessary in grotty weather where practicality and comfort take centre stage.

MCN's guide to the best winter motorcycle boots

Pros

  • Warm
  • Dry
  • Simple

Cons

  • Not the best looking

Best for kids

Price: £147.99
Amazon

Description

All the enduro-stomping protection of an adult Alpinestars boot but available in youth sizes. Just the ticket if your little one is showing an interest in taking up motocross or if you want to take them out as a pillion on your road bike.

MCN's guide to the best youth motorcycle boots

Pros

  • Great protection
  • Cool designs

Cons

  • Will be grown out of quickly
offroad

Protection

As with all kits designed to offer protection, motorcycle boots are subject to CE approval and undergo a series of tests in order to be certified. The three main tests are for abrasion resistance, impact cut and transverse rigidity, where a boot can score either Level 1 for a basic pass or, if they exceed that, Level 2. These results will be printed on the label in that order, along with a pictogram of a bike and rider to show that the item is intended for use on a motorcycle.

Abrasion resistance – The ability of a boot to survive during a slide
Impact cut – how well the construction holds up to penetration by a sharp object
Transverse rigidity – the structural strength when subjected to a sideways crushing force

There are currently two CE standards for motorcycle boots, EN 13634:2015 and EN 13634:2017. The main difference between the two is that the more recent includes a separate provision for boot height. Any boot certified to EN 13634:2017 will show four scores on the label, with the first being either 1 (for short boots) or 2 (full height).

Manufacturers can also request that their boots are subjected to additional tests in order to receive further accreditation. If a pass is achieved, the relevant marking codes from the following list will appear on the label.

IPA – ankle impact protection
IPS – shin impact protection
WR – resistance to water penetration
FO – resistance to fuel oil
WAD – water absorption/desorption of the insole/sock
B – upper permeability to water vapour (breathability)
SRA, SRB or SRC – slip resistance

Ventilation

Keeping your feet cool can be paramount to comfort on a hot day. There are two methods of encouraging airflow around a boot-enshrouded foot, either by engineered intake and outlet ports or perforated panels. Both are effective, even more so when combined.

Waterproofing

There’s nothing worse than wet feet, so if you’re likely to ride in the rain a lot, waterproof boots are a must. Thanks to technologically advanced membranes such as Gore-Tex, Hipora, Drystar and the like, waterproofing and breathability are not mutually exclusive, so it is possible to have the best of both worlds.

Fastenings

Zips, clips, laces or Velcro? Most boots feature a combination of closure methods, so choose which has the best balance of convenience and security to suit your needs.

Gear change pad

If you’re riding a manual bike, reinforcement on the top of the boot for up changes is essential – without it, you’re guaranteed to get a sore toe. Some of the urban styles may not feature one as they’re more suited to scootering, so bear this in mind before you buy.

About the author: Justin Hayzelden is MCN’s resident products guru and keeps a finger on the pulse of all that’s new and important in bike kit and accessories.

- Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this page, we never allow this to influence product selections.