Motorcyclists, unlike drivers shielded by the protective shell of their cars, often lack adequate protection in the event of a crash. And our feet, being closest to the ground, face a daunting 63% probability of suffering lower limb injuries, ranging from open wounds and traumatic amputations to burns, blood vessel damage, and superficial injuries when clad in inappropriate footwear—shoes, runners, sandals, or thongs. A startling statistic that nearly halves to 33% when wearing sturdy work boots and further diminishes to a reassuring 25% when sporting purpose-built protective motorcycle boots.
Ankle-covering work boots may offer a step up from everyday shoes, but they still fall short of the safety standards set by purpose-built protective motorcycle boots, especially when engaging in more intensive road racing or off-road riding. So, when you find yourself again contemplating the question, “Are motorcycle boots worth it?” The answer is a definite yes; motorcycle boots are worth every penny, as they actively safeguard your feet from potential injuries during your ride and in the unfortunate event of a fall or crash. Besides, their design is tailored to the specific demands of riding, providing essential leverage for securely gripping the bike, enabling you to extend a leg for leaning and counterbalancing, and assisting in practicing proper riding techniques.
Despite these undeniable benefits, it’s surprising that only 37% of riders choose to actively wear purpose-built protective motorcycle boots, highlighting the need for greater awareness of their substantial safety advantages.
Top 11 Best Motorcycle Boots for Every Riding Style
Even as you scour online or brick-and-mortar stores in your area in pursuit of the best motorcycle boots, take a moment to consider my top picks for the best fit. Scroll right to find buying options, compare prices, and possibly seize exclusive discounts from sellers.
|Boot Model||Category||Size (U.S.)||Get Yours|
|REAX Tasker WP||Best Street/Urban||9-14||RevZilla | CycleGear | J&P Cycles|
|Forma Adventure||Best Adventure||7-18||RevZilla | BTO Sports | Amazon|
|Alpinestars SMX 6 v2||Best Sport||5-18||RevZilla | MotoSport | Amazon|
|Dainese Torque 3 Air Out||Best Racing||9-16||RevZilla | CycleGear | Amazon|
|Forma Adventure Low||Best Short||7-18||RevZilla | BTO Sports | Amazon|
|Alpinestars Tech 7||Best Dirt Bike/MX||6-14||RevZilla | MotoSport | Amazon|
|SIDI Adventure 2 Gore-Tex||Best Tall||8-16||RevZilla | MotoSport | Amazon|
|TCX Fuel WP||Best Waterproof||7-12||RevZilla | CycleGear | J&P Cycles|
|Klim Outlander GTX||Best Casual||9-14||RevZilla | MotoSport | Amazon|
|Daytona Road Star GTX||Bes Summer||6-13||RevZilla | CycleGear|
|BILT Pro Tourer WP||Best All-Season||7-18||RevZilla | CycleGear | Amazon|
6 Compelling Reasons Motorcycle Boots Are Worth It
They say there are only two types of bikers: those who have crashed and those who are yet to crash. I came face to face with this harsh reality after a gnarly crash in my high-top tennis shoes more than a year ago. Fortunately, I didn’t break any bones, but I suffered severe lacerations and soft tissue ligament injuries that still cause discomfort to this day. I can tell you, hopping around with clutches for months when you’re used to riding fast is no fun at all.
The downtime allowed me to reflect. Even after 50+ years of riding experience, I pondered the importance of ATGATT (All The Gear All The Time) and the significance of investing in the right kind of gear. And not just that, but also taking the time to don the proper boots before embarking on even a short commute or heading to a tennis match with friends. These are my annotated thoughts from that time:
1. Motorcycle Boots Look Cooler And Last Longer, Anyway
What’s that saying about beauty and the beholder, or is it beerholder? Regardless, one thing is certain: bikers and non-bikers alike appreciate the aesthetics of well-constructed motorcycle boots. What’s even cooler is that they are virtually indestructible under normal use, so they can last you a century!
Proper boots needn’t be dull or overly flashy; they can exude classic charm, featuring buckles, zippers, or a combination closure to suit your preference. Alpinestars SMX-6 V2 boots for street and race enthusiasts offer easy entry and exit with their side zipper, while Fox Racing Comp 5 boots, designed for off-road and MX riding, boast four buckles for a secure fit and protection. For a retro-style aesthetic, Icon 1000 Elsinore boots seamlessly blend laces and straps to create a distinctive and secure look.
For a cafe racer or a Vespa enthusiast looking to match your urban ride’s style, or a dedicated Harley rider, TCX Fuel WP boots speak to your sense of style.
2. Adequate Protection Gives You Peace Of Mind
Motorcycles ignite a passion like no other, with their fiery engines roaring beneath the saddle. Yet, even with the most exceptional designs, riders must be armed with the right protection to harness this power. Every twist of the throttle presents potential danger from rocks and debris launched by the front wheel to the searing heat of the exhaust pipes and coming off the bike in high-side tumble or low-side slide. That’s why having the right motorcycle boots is essential. These boots, made of high-quality top- and full-grain leather or high-tech microfiber materials, provide a protective shield and peace of mind.
Take the TCX Fuel WP Boots, for example, with their 100% full-grain leather outer shell construction, a material renowned for offering a high grade of protection. Or the Alpinestars Tech 7, made of Lorica microfiber, is highly abrasion-resistant yet 30% lighter, 50% more breathable, and easier to maintain. TCX elevates the game with triple stitching, taking the durability and longevity to a whole new level. Don’t worry; double-stitched boots also last reasonably long!
Complementing these features, purpose-built motorcycle boots feature armor plating over the heel, toe, and ankle bone, effectively minimizing the risk of sprains and fractures in a fall. You can also expect shin and calf protection, as seen in proper street and track Alpinestars SMX 6 v2 riding boots, with TPU-injected shin guard and calf protector. Even vibrations start to be problematic after the sixth hour in the saddle, making your feet feel numb, so touring-ready Daytona Road Star GTX Boots will feature PU foam insoles and gel layer underneath the hydrophobic special full cowhide construction to reduce vibration.
Meanwhile, Kevlar and Aramid fibers reinforcement, as employed in the Alpinestars Supertech R Boots, offer added protection against the searing friction heat generated during a slide and direct contact with the bike’s scalding components, including the exhaust system, as well as sharp and protruding parts. Suffice to say that you can practice the proper riding techniques without fear of scraping the pegs only if you are sure your boots are up to the task.
3. Maximal Grip and Water Proofness
Two-wheeling sometimes takes us straight towards a thunderstorm, strong crosswinds, dust devils, and all manner of weather events, sometimes transitioning from one to another in a single ride. Ordinary sneakers are just no match for river crossings and muddy patches where you have to extend your legs to catch the bike as you power through–the glued-on soles will peel off and stick to the road!
Taller boots are your best companion for dry feet the whole way. Conversely, those with laces and buckle closures may not be the best at keeping water out unless they also come equipped with a waterproof gaiter. The tricky part is keeping the water out of the perforations needed for leather boots to breathe, and so, I typically rock waterproof riding socks to keep my feet from becoming soggy while riding in the rain.
The TCX Waterproof Boots feature a full-grain leather construction with a single-piece forefoot for minimal seams and sewn-on grippy lug soles. It even includes a full waterproof lining to keep all the water and grime away from your legs and feet while riding. Even if you won’t be crossing rivers, you also have to factor in walking or a hiking intermission, and that’s where a motorcycle sensible hiking boots such as the Klim Outlander GTX come in handy.
And to keep you firmly planted on the pegs, you get durable grippy lug soles. Because it’s not just the road surface’s friction coefficients we have to contend with; the beast beneath can get all slick when wet, and we have to hang on for dear life. So, instead of putting that pressure on your handlebars and messing up your aim, you need the grippy medial-facing walls of, say, the Alpinestars Tech 7 Boots, with special honeycomb sculpturing to grip on the bike as you lean into the curves.
4. You Put Them On, and They Stay On
Despite their tough looks, motorcycle boots are made to be light and convenient to slip on and have a positive closure system, which ensures they stay on even in a crash. This Secure Fit technology ensures that the boots actually do what they are designed to do because the best pair is useless unless it can stick with you to the last skid. Picture the SIDI Adventure 2 Gore-Tex boots with 14-inch tall waterproof gaiters, but they still have blissful entry with Velcro and cam-lock buckle closure complete with a stretchy expansion panel.
5. Heavy-Duty Heel Guards for Ultimate Safety and Flexible Pedal Operation
Good boots maketh a rider. They typically feature TPU rubber-injected molds at the heels to act as heel guards. These serve four functions namely; prevent abrasions and fractures in case of a fall, grip on the bike when hanging off to shift weight on the bike, additional support for your feet to reduce vibration and fatigue on longer rides, and allowing you the flexibility to angle your leg for shifting and braking.
In short a nice pair of riding boots enables you to really connect with your motorcycle’s with an enhanced feel for the controls minus the excessive tactile feedback you can feel on ordinary shoes. Work boots will have similar supports but lack the flexibility and other niceties like shifter patches which allow you to work the bike’s controls with the articulation of a pro.
6. Maximum Comfort for Long Rides
Again, motorcycle boots seem bulky, and some are but that doesn’t mean there aren’t versatile options that you can use off the track and even walk around in off the bike. While my Alpinestars SMX 6 v2 Vented Boots are very comfy for both street riding and the occasional track day, I wouldn’t go hiking up a sand dune in them! Racing boots are purposeful items prioritizing function over form so the ergonomics only work on the motorcycle.
Enter the affordable and bike-mannered REAX Tasker Waterproof Boots, and you have a solution that works for both scenarios. They are more breathable at human speed and comfortable to walk in feeling sure footed on nearly all surfaces. Of course, they are not as protective in a crash but at least you get the best of both worlds without having to stop and phase shift, just like full blown leather race suits are not practical for everyday riding.
6 Main Types of Motorcycle Boots
Motorcycle boots come in six main styles to suit their respective riding needs. Street boots offer a versatile option for daily commuting, combining style, comfort, and safety, but they lack specialized features for racing or off-road riding. Sport boots provide higher protection levels for sport bike riders and feature ankle support with laces and hard plastic elements. Racing boots, ideal for professional riders, prioritize safety with calf protection and sturdy construction.
On the other hand, ADV/Touring boots are designed for long rides, offering comfort and protection, while off-road/dirt bike boots prioritize balance and rigidity for challenging terrain. Flat-track boots have metal soles for sliding on the track during flat-track racing. Each type caters to specific riding styles and safety requirements.
Distinguishing Characteristics of the 6 Motorcycle Boot Types
|Boot Type||Key Features||Ideal Use||Pros||Cons|
|Street Boots||Style, comfort, reinforced toes, anti-slip soles||Versatile daily use||Versatile, discreet, cost-effective||Limited extreme protection, laces risk|
|Sport Boots||Over-the-ankle design, hard protection, Kevlar||Sport and cruiser riding||Torsional protection, shock-absorbing armor||Limited calf protection, not for walking|
|Racing Boots||Half-calf, lightweight, crash protection, racing-specific||Serious racing and canyon riding||Maximum crash protection, lightweight||Expensive, less comfortable for walking|
|ADV/Touring Boots||Ergonomic design, sturdy construction, various conditions||Long-distance touring and twisty rides||Comfortable, versatile, superior protection||Bulkier than street boots, less torsional support|
|Off-Road/Dirt Boots||Full-height, rigid, heavy-duty, off-road specific||Off-road and dirt biking||Prevents ankle injuries, strong and rigid||Bulky, uncomfortable for walking|
|Flat-Track Boots||Dirt-bike boots with metal skid plates, flat-track focus||Flat-track racing enthusiasts||Enhanced sliding, reduced dirt clump risk||Specialized for flat-track racing, not versatile|
Motorcycle Boots vs. Motorcycle Shoes: Which Is the Best Option for You?
While motorcycle riding shoes excel in walkability, style, and convenience, they may sacrifice some protection compared to full-length riding boots, which offer superior protection, especially for the shin and against twisting forces, making them a preferred choice for the more intensive road racing or off-road riding. Your choice between the two should align with your specific riding needs and comfort preferences.
Motorcycle Boots vs. Motorcycle Shoes: A Comparison
|Features||Motorcycle Riding Boots||Motorcycle Riding Shoes|
|Walkability||Typically less comfortable for walking||Designed for walkability and comfort when off the bike|
|Convenience||May require carrying an additional pair for walking comfort||Eliminates the need for carrying an extra pair of shoes|
|Style||Offers a more traditional motorcycle rider appearance||Provides a casual, blend-in-with-the-crowd look.|
|Protection||Full-length boots offer superior protection, including shin protection||Equipped with ankle cups, reinforced toe, heel, and sole|
|Materials||Typically constructed with materials for enhanced durability and protection||May be made of lighter materials with less abrasion and impact resistance|
|Comfort and Support||Provide better support and protection against twisting forces||Designed for comfortable walking but may lack torsional and lateral support|
|Use Cases||Best suited for motorcycle-specific riding scenarios||Ideal for everyday use both on and off the bike.|
|Weight||Tend to be heavier due to enhanced protection features||Lighter and more comfortable for daily wear.|
|Impact Resistance||Enhanced impact resistance, especially in off-road scenarios||Offers basic impact resistance but with limitations.|
|Additional Features||Often offer a wider selection of waterproof options||May include shifter pads, waterproof liners, and reflectivity|
Motorcycle Boots vs. Work Boots: Choosing the Right Footwear
Street motorcycle boots and top-notch work boots are quite similar, requiring a sturdy construction, heel and ankle support, good traction of various surfaces, and a comfortable ergonomic fit. The differences are very minimal unless you’re taking part in highly specialized road racing or off-road riding. Just the same, you may require specialized sport and off-road riding boots for activities such as motocross, drag racing, hill climbing, ice racing, enduro, desert racing, flat track, and trials riding.
Otherwise, a high-quality pair of work boots can double as a riding boot to commute to and from work.
Motorcycle Boots vs. Work Boots: A Comparison
|Category||Motorcycle Boots||Work Boots|
|Material||Crafted from premium leather and advanced synthetics||Boasts top-grade leather and synthetic materials|
|Reinforcement||Engineered with injection-molded armor, calf protection, and toe sliders||Features robust reinforcement at the toe and heel areas|
|Design||Exhibits versatile design options with Velcro, zippers, laces, buckles, and hook-and-loop fasteners||Embraces classic laces for timeless appeal|
|Sizes||Offers an extensive range, catering to US men's 7-15, women's 5-12, with some half sizes available||Available in sizes from US men's 6-15, women's 4-12, also offering select half sizes|
|Pros||Engineered for exceptional comfort and fit, elevates ankle protection to the next level, tackles wet surfaces with superior grip||Equipped with heat-resistant soles, breathable, ensuring comfort during long hours, showcases an array of stylish designs|
|Cons||Higher price point, reflecting premium quality, may lean towards specialized use and durability, extended wear might compromise comfort,||Tends to be heavier, considering the added protection, ankle protection might not match motorcycle boots, grip on wet surfaces may not match the motorcycle counterpart|
|Price||Prices range from $100 to $500+, reflecting top-tier quality||Offers a more budget-friendly range from $50 to $200+|
When riding in work boots, prioritize safety and comfort with a checklist that includes snug comfort, reinforced toe boxes, slip-resistant soles boasting exceptional traction, fortified shanks and reinforcements, high-impact resilience, robust and thick materials, and unwavering durability.
How to Select the Perfect Motorcycle Boots for Your Needs
Hopefully, by now, you are sold on the importance of good quality footwear designed purposefully for wherever and however you ride. Be sure to check out this sizing conversion chart because manufacturers around the globe use different sizing to describe their products.
International Boot Size Conversion Chart for Men and Women
|US Size (Men)||US Size (Women)||UK Size||Euro Size||JPN Size|
A CE, or EN13634, rated boot in Europe means that the footwear meets their criteria for motorcycle safety clothing and should be considered a bonus point. There is no equivalent for these standards, as DOT requirements are relatively lax and often rely on self-certification by the manufacturer.
Just the same, some of the safest gear used in major racing events is designed and manufactured in the US and Canada, and so, these ratings alone do not automatically make European gear superior.
Michael’s Summary and Conclusion
Are Motorcycle Boots Worth It? Absolutely, and motorcyclists should prioritize proper foot protection at all times. Regrettably, many riders neglect wearing appropriate motorcycle boots, either using them exclusively for racing or off-road activities or even skipping them altogether during casual street rides or dirt bike outings. Some of this behavior stems from laziness or an attitude of invincibility, a mindset I, too, fell victim to last January, and it cost me dearly.
I embarked on a three-day motorcycle adventure to the remote site of the Lauda Air Flight 004 (NG004/LDA004) crash in a bamboo forest atop a mountain north of Bangkok, Thailand. It was a solo trip meant for the experience and photo collection, not for speed or intensity. I made the grave mistake, like many others do, of not wearing proper protection, thinking I wouldn’t be pushing my limits that hard. Unfortunately, while descending the mountain, I slipped on some wet rocks at a relatively low speed. My ankle was crushed between the motorcycle engine cases and the rocks, causing severe damage to my left ankle.
This incident led to a harrowing 4-hour ride back to Bangkok at night, followed by an emergency room visit. The subsequent month and a half involved wearing a foot brace and attending physical therapy several times a week, incurring medical expenses totaling several thousand dollars. Considering the accident’s slow speed, I am convinced that even an inexpensive pair of off-road motocross boots would have spared me more than a twisted ankle. This experience highlighted the critical importance of wearing proper motorcycle boots, reminding us all that safety should never be compromised, regardless of the circumstances.
I've diligently categorized my motorcycle gear recommendations into all available categories, with the aim of providing you with a comprehensive analysis that showcases the absolute best options for all your needs. These items are the culmination of in-depth research, extensive testing, and personal use throughout my vast experience of 50+ years in the world of motorcycling. Besides being a passionate rider, I've held leadership positions and offered consultancy services to reputable companies in over 25 countries. To See Top Picks and the Best Prices & Places to Buy: Click Here!
FAQs – I Have the Answers!
Q: Do I Really Need Motorcycle Boots?
Yes, you need motorcycle boots as they significantly improve safety and comfort during rides.
Q: Do Motorcycle Boots Make a Difference?
Absolutely, wearing motorcycle boots can make a substantial difference in terms of both safety and comfort during your rides.
Q: Should You Wear Boots When Riding a Motorcycle?
Yes, you must always wear boots for your own protection when riding a motorcycle.
Q: Are Motorcycle Boots Worth It?
Motorcycle boots are worth it without a doubt. They actively safeguard your feet, offering crucial protection during rides and minimizing injuries in case of accidents. Their durable construction and reinforced features make them an indispensable investment for every rider’s safety.
Q: Are Motorcycle Riding Shoes Worth It?
Yes, motorcycle shoes are worth it but may not match the comprehensive protection offered by motorcycle boots.
Q: Are Motorcycle Boots Worth It for Beginners?
Yes, motorcycle boots are a valuable investment for riders of all skill levels, including beginners, as they provide essential protection and safety.
Information for this article was partially sourced and researched from the following authoritative government, educational, corporate, and non-profit organizations: