Two steps on the water: Best waterproof motorcycle boots

A decent pair of waterproof motorcycle boots should be essential kit in every biker’s armoury. There’s nothing worse than riding with wet feet, regardless of how far you’ve got to go, as not only can it make you feel pretty miserable, but it can also rob you of vital elements of concentration. That lack of focus could make all the difference in dealing with a situation, especially when conditions are less than ideal.

Thankfully there’s a waterproof version of every type of boot on the market, from lightweight urban sneakers to track ready sports footwear and year-round touring boots. Deciding which is the best depends on the kind of riding you do, for example a pair of ankle high commuter boots may keep your feet dry on a short ride to work, but they certainly won’t cut the mustard if you’re on tour and run the risk of being in the rain and spray all day.

Here’s what MCN’s testers are currently wearing

Price: £224.99 (was £250.99)
Tested by Ali Silcox for 8 months, 3,000 miles. I’ve been a fan of Sidi boots for years and have worn many different pairs in their range. From sports boots through to touring boots, I have always found them hard-wearing and decent value for money and these are no exception.

Specifically designed for ladies, the boot is a slimmer fit and I thought they would be uncomfortable, as the foot is narrow and sizing small but surprisingly, after a couple of wears, they’d broken in and are now incredibly comfortable.

I’ve previously been a bit of a runner, no Paula Radcliffe I hasten to add, but this has resulted in very solid calf muscles, so I regularly find it difficult to do boots up, but that’s not the case here. The zip and velcro closure is snug but not tight and there’s a natty stretch panel, that runs along the side of the zip, when enables a little extra ‘give’ when zipping up.

Made with a leather upper and GoreTex membrane, these CE approved boots are both waterproof and breathable, so ideal for year round wear. There’s a concertina stretch panel at the front and rear, both add to the comfortable fit.
There’s protection at the ankle and heel, along with a gear change pad. One slight criticism, is the area around the gear change pad is incredibly firm and sometimes rubs the top of the my foot, which can be an irritation on a long journey.
Quality: 5/5
Value: 4/5
Sidi Gavia Gore-Tex Ladies waterproof motorcycle boots side
Tested by Justin Hayzelden for two years, 10,750 miles. An effective pair of waterproof boots can be worth their weight in gold, and the RST Paragon 2 comes pretty damn close. The styling is quite sporty, but lacks details like toe sliders, so they're really more of an all-round, touring type boot. Construction is a synthetic microfibre for the upper with TPU armour and a non-slip rubberised sole. There's no mention of any animal products involved, so they may well be vegan friendly.

A triple layer Hipora membrane is where they gain waterproofing and it has mostly kept moisture out, only becoming overwhelmed when subjected to a sustained period of intense motorway spray. They actually managed to hold up for a couple of hours before I noticed the damp creep in, and that's as good as any in my experience.

The Paragon 2 isn't the warmest in the depths of winter, probably due to the exhaust vent doing its job to let heat out. The flip side to that, of course, is that breathability is excellent and my feet don't get sweaty at all. I tend to wear thick socks and adventure boots when it's really cold anyway and at the height of summer perforations is where it's at, but if I was limited to just one pair of boots, the Paragon 2 could just about manage it all.

Despite not having the highest CE rating (2-1-1, for abrasion resistance, impact cut and transverse rigidity), the Paragon 2 feels strong and durable. They're wearing very well, with little indication of 10k+ miles on the sole or gear shift pad - the scratches on the toe are just superficial scrapes from when I'm scrabbling around on the ground taking photos or fiddling with my bike. Internal padding around the ankle and shin is suitably generous, which adds to both the comfort and sense of security.

With a single zip and velcro secured flap for entry, there's no faff in slipping into these as I'm heading out the door and on most occasions I'm likely to choose them over anything else. I can happily wear them all day on and off the bike, so they've proved themselves to be a very worthy all rounder. Great value too.
Quality: 4/5
Value: 4/5
RST Paragon 2 waterproof motorcycle boots front
Price: £114.03
Tested by Saffron Wilson for nine months, 3,777 miles. I’m not a big one for sporty bike boots, so these Forma boots ticked all my styling boxes. They’re very casual and perfect with riding jeans. I’ve ridden in these boots for nearly 4000 miles, and it was only recently that I noticed the odd bit of damp on my sock after getting caught in rainstorms. Otherwise, my feet were kept bone dry. I’ve topped it up with a waterproof spray and they work like a dream again.

The zip closure is a nice design detail and makes them easy to get on and off which is a must-have for me when it comes to motorcycling footwear. Overall overall they are very comfortable. The soft polymer padding with memory foam works well on and off the bike and the boots are made with a special footbed which is designed solely for women. They also feature TPU ankle protection, TPU Dual Flex with anti-shock EVA midsole and are CE certified.
Quality: 5/5
Value: 5/5
Tested by Ben Clarke for two months, 1,000 miles. Duchinni kit never fails to impress me with the quality you get for pretty sensible prices, and these boots are no exception. Despite having a waterproof liner, they don’t leave your feet too hot and sweaty. I wore these on a balmy 36-degree ride to the office during the recent super sunny spell without any overheating issues and they’re warm enough for chilly early-morning starts, too.

There’s definitely a ‘first day of school’ vibe with this polished black finish but I suspect that’ll fade as they continue to break in. The zip and lace combination is perfect for me as I love the practicality of a zip but the look of laces. I feel like the heel cup will fold in eventually, though, as it bears the brunt of the force of pulling them on.
Quality: 4/5
Value: 5/5
Tested by Simon Relph for three years, 12,000 miles. These are my go-to boot, especially if it is wet. My life with these boots began with a trip to Altberg headquarters in Richmond, Yorkshire where I had my feet measured by one of their technicians. From my measurements Altberg made me a custom-fit pair of boots.

I am very happy to say these are the most comfortable boots I have ever owned, and they have not let a drop in yet. Made to military specification with safety and comfort in mind these are top quality leather boots. If you are into touring where storage is at a premium, these boots double up for riding and walking, doing both jobs superbly. Well worth every penny.
Quality: 5/5
Value: 5/5
Tested by Gareth Evans over 3000 miles and four track days. Read Gareth's in-depth review here
Quality: 4/5
Value: 4/5

What makes a boot waterproof?

Leather boots were traditionally treated to a liberal coating of dubbin, a concoction of natural wax, oil and tallow, for weather protection. It actually works pretty well in keeping water out, after all it’s been around for almost as long as shoes have, but does need regular application and its use is limited to leather. There are various other coatings and treatments on the market designed to waterproof, however the most effective solution is to utilise a technical membrane during construction.

The technical membrane sits sandwiched between the outer upper of the boot, the sole and the inner lining. Its job is to act as a ‘one way valve’, preventing moisture from getting in, whilst allowing condensation to escape. This is achieved through hundreds of thousands of microscopic pores which are smaller than water droplets but larger than vapour molecules, making the material both waterproof and breathable. There are almost as many different membrane manufacturers as there are bootmakers, including such registered names as Gore-Tex, Hipora, Drystar, D-Dry and so on.

It should also be noted that the effectiveness of a membrane’s breathability is reliant on what you wear beneath it – that is to say, if you don’t wear socks made of a wicking material, your feet will be more prone to stay damp due to condensation build up next to the skin.

More waterproof boots to consider

Price: £69.99 (was £99.99)
Highly visible waterproof and breathable touring boots
Price: £164.98 (was £189.99)
Price: £266.38 (was £349.99)
Waterproof touring / enduro boot with Gore-Tex membrane, Velcro strap closure and two buckles.
Price: £139.98 (was £199.99)
Full grain leather boots with waterproof lining and vintage design.

How MCN tests products

At MCN, our team of expert journalists have decades of experience gained over hundreds of thousands of miles. We don’t test our kit to destruction; we use it exactly how you do, in the real world and in all conditions. That means we can deliver impartial buying advice you can rely on.

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