Forma Arbo Dry review | These boots will keep you warm and dry - but won't win any fashion awards

The Forma Arbo Dry boots
The Forma Arbo Dry boots
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The Forma Arbo Dry sit at the lighter end of the Italian firm’s waterproof touring motorcycle boot range with the shorter Latino boots below them, and the Frontier, Jasper and Voyage above. Despite being lightweight and exceedingly comfortable right out of the box, they achieve a 2-1-2-2 CE rating, meaning they meet the upper safety level in all but abrasion testing.

Tested by Ben Clarke for 3 months/400 miles

Pros

  • Completely watertight
  • Warm
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Not the best-looking
  • Comfort
    5.0
  • Looks
    2.0
  • Quality
    4.0
  • Protection
    3.0
  • Value
    4.0
  • Verdict
    4.0
Construction Synthetic material and Cordura
Type Touring/winter
CE Rating 2-1-2-2
Armour Double density rubber sole, shin and ankle TPU moulded plastic protection, soft polymer padding with memory foam
  • Waterproof and breathable Forma Drytex tubular lining
  • Gear pad protection
  • Hook and loop, and zip closure
  • Anti-bacterial replaceable footbed with A.P.S (Air Pump System)
  • Rear reflective insert

Sensible, dependable, waterproof boots are worth their weight in gold when the weather is at its worst and these certainly fit the bill. It doesn’t really matter what type of bike you ride, either, as they are so devoid of style, they will go with anything.

Comfort

These boots are designed for comfort and I give them full marks in that department. The synthetic and Cordura blend upper is soft and supple and feels a lot like plush leather and despite their double density sole and anti-shock EVA midsole, they’re really easy to walk around in off the bike.

As with many of Forma’s boots, the Arbos use an antibacterial replaceable footbed with what they call a ‘foot pump system’, which basically means it circulates air when you squish it with your bodyweight. It may sound like a bit of marketing guff, but it genuinely seems to work and previous Forma boots I’ve done much bigger miles in have stayed fresh.

The Forma Arbo Dry boots

Despite feeling quite lightweight, the gear change pad on the boot is tough enough to stop you getting sore on longer rides and, although you can feel the footpeg through the sole, it’s not to the point of discomfort.

Looks

Touring boots aren’t about looking good, but I don’t see why they need to look quite so dreary. The Arbos aren’t the worst-looking on the market but the best I can say for them is that they’re discreet and inoffensive.

I recently reviewed a pair of TCX S-TR1 WP boots that are easily comfortable and practical enough to tour in but also look really cool, so it’s possible. There must be a market for this style of boot, though, because most manufacturers have at least one pair in their range.

Ben Clarke riding a 2023 model BMW M1000R

Quality

I will be putting more miles on these boots to really test the quality, but so far I’ve been impressed. 50 of the 400 miles I’ve put on them happened to be through Storm Babet, so they took an absolute pounding.

I can report that when I got home, my socks were absolutely bone dry. Oddly, despite having ‘Dry’ in the name and having passed the optional waterproofing test for a WR on the CE label, Forma list the Arbo boots as ‘water resistant’.

Close up of the CE label on the Forma Arbo Dry boots

In my experience they’re being a bit humble here, unless it’s a breakdown in translation somewhere.
As I mentioned earlier, the synthetic uppers on the boots feels a little flimsy but I’ve thought the same about previous Forma boots I’ve tested that turned out to be thoroughly hardy.

I will update the review once I’ve put more miles on them.

Protection

The Forma Arba Dry boots are CE rated to level two in all areas except abrasion resistance, but that’s a bit of a biggie for me and that’s why I’ve scored them at 3/5. I’m more than happy using them for commuting through winter and nipping around on shorter journeys, but if I were buying for a proper, all day every day riding trip I’d go for something with twos across the board.

Value

At £159.99 full price, the Forma Arba Dry isn’t the most expensive option on the market, but there are some heavyweight touring options available if you pay slightly more and some viable alternatives that cost even less. One of the best-established boots in the sector is the Alpinestars Web GTX, a dependable leather boot that uses a GoreTex liner to stay waterproof and breathable.

At full price, the Webs come in at over £200 but they’re on offer for £165.84 at Sportsbike Shop at the moment, which is a tantalising deal.

Price: 165.84 (was £219.99)
Tried and Tested by Jim Blackstock - A great all-round pair of boots. They're comfortable, have the highest CE rating for their size, Gore-Tex waterproofing, and easily tuck under your trousers. Just be sure to layer up the socks for colder rides.

Read our Alpinestars Web GTX review

Pros

Cons

The cheapest boots in RST’s range are the Axiom Mid CE Waterproof touring boots, which cost £89.99 and come highly recommended by MCN deputy editor Emma Franklin, who has has been wearing a pair for 8000 miles.

Tried and tested by Emma Franklin - An excellent pair of boots for anyone who wants comfort and ease of use. Absolutely spot on for daily use, they’ll keep your feet dry, warm and happy on the daily grind or during UK touring trips. Top quality at a brilliant price - you can't go wrong, really.

Read our RST Axiom Mid review

And a pair of TCX Airtech 3 GTX will set you back £249.99 at full price. The Airtechs have the same 2-1-2-2 CE rating score as the Formas but are marginally more stylish to look at.

MCN editor Rich Newland has been wearing a pair for 10 months and described them as “brilliant, but not quite up to scratch” in his full review.

Price: £237.49 (was £249.99)
Tried and tested by Richard Newland - An impressively waterproof boot in a comfortable, breathable, easy to slip on package. Long thick socks are advised, otherwise the dreadfully placed velcro will scratch your leg raw.

Read our TCX Airtech 3 GTX review

Verdict

I’ve had nothing but positive experiences with all of the Forma boots I’ve tested so far and this Arbo Dry model is no exception. Ok, they’re not the best to look at and nor are they the most robust, but I feel completely at ease wearing them.

Most importantly for a touring or winter boot, I can rely on them to keep my feet dry – something that is difficult to put a price on when you’re on a long ride or tour. Ultimately, I think the price is reasonable for the quality and performance on offer.

Close up of the heel on the Forma Arbo Dry boots

My biggest bugbear is the way they look, but they’re styled to match most of their direct competitors and that must be a look that many riders are after.

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