For beginner riders, venturing into the world of motorcycle gear can feel like entering a labyrinth. Among the array of choices, boots stand out as a distinct challenge. Unlike jackets, gloves, or race suits that can be paired with under armor and thermals to make them suitable for all seasons, boots are purpose-built, tailored for specific riding needs, and can start to feel like a rip-off once you realize you might need a different pair for every occasion. More so considering how much more you have had to cough up for the bike itself and assembling your now incomplete riding kit.
But don’t sweat it; I bring over five decades of riding and industry experience, spanning all seasons and riding disciplines, to simplify this daunting journey for you. Leveraging my extensive knowledge, allow me to share with you my today’s selection of the best motorcycle boots for beginners:
Boot Model Category Height (Inches) Get Yours
SIDI Adventure 2 Gore Tex Mid Best All-Weather 11.8 in RevZilla | MotoSport | CycleGear
Alpinestars SMX 6 v2 Best Race-Bred 13.2 in RevZilla | MotoSport | Amazon
Forma Adventure Best Tall 13.25 in RevZilla | BTO Sports | Amazon
Alpinestars Belize Drystar Best Mid-Height 11.5 in RevZilla | MotoSport | Amazon
Klim Outlander GTX Best Short 10.2 in RevZilla | MotoSport | Amazon
More on these top picks, but first, let me explain my selection process real quick.
Key Factors When Choosing the Best Motorcycle Boots for Beginners
A motorcycle boot is a significant investment in safety that goes beyond mere fashion. Unlike regular footwear (which I strongly advise never riding with), motorcycle boots are purpose-built, each for its riding style, to provide impact resistance, ankle stability, weatherproofing, grip, and comfort, ensuring safety and control during rides. But our primary focus today is on beginner riders, and so, the following are the factors I consider most important for this level:
Your Intended Riding Discipline
Mid-to-tall boots are a must-have for adventure and off-roading because they provide more protection for your lower foot and calves while prioritizing comfort and support for leisurely longer rides. Boots designed for racing and normal street use might be slimmer but offer high abrasion resistance, allowing for better sliding and dissipating energy to prevent injury.
You also realize that dirt bike boots aren’t the best motorcycle boots for commuting, so if you’re going for footwear that can double as a work boot, then it better be short and with good traction on varied surfaces.
Maximize Your Budget for Safety
Motorcycle boots are among the most significant gear investments. Just the same, I would advise starting with the best budget motorcycle boots, typically around $300, allowing you to enjoy decent actual protection without breaking the bank on a single item.
That’s why my recommendations fall below that price point.
Prioritize Your Protection
Whenever I’m in the market for a new pair of riding boots, I prioritize proper construction over safety ratings, especially since those ratings aren’t very common outside of Europe. Yes, CE-certified boots are a plus to have, but there are boots that perform better even without these stickers simply because they were never made in the EU or intended for that market.
Instead, I focus on actual features like reinforced toe and heel cups, toe sliders, shin guards, articulated ankle protection, and oil-resistant anti-slip soles.
Strike the Balance Between Durability and Comfort
Tied to the safety of each boot is the materials used in its construction. Full cowhide leather construction offers excellent slide protection, but it has its Achilles heel: moisture. A blend of high-tech synthetics like Kevlar, neoprene, Cordura, ballistic nylon, PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride), ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), rubber, and mesh fabric all contribute to the structural integrity of the boot.
Ensure Comfort and Safety
Fit is everything. An overly tight boot will receive a cold eye and almost never get to see the great outdoors after the first painful ordeal of testing it. Conversely, a loose boot is useless since it will abscond duty in case of a crash or fall or worse still aggravate the injuries.
For your convenience, here’s a handy conversion chart for boot sizes across different regions:
|US Size (Men)||5||6||7||8||9||10||11||12||13|
|US Size (Women)||7||8||9||10||11||12||13||14||15|
Keep Your Feet Dry and Comfortable
Waterproofing and breathability are essential features for boots, regardless of whether I expect to ride in the rain, because you never know when the weather will suddenly take a turn for the worse. For adventure and enduro riding, I wouldn’t settle for anything less than fully waterproof boots with breathability.
Cowhide leather, while robust as an outer shell, lacks the essential traits of breathability and waterproofing. Recognizing this limitation, the best motorcycle boots employ Lorica, Gore-Tex, and Hydratex, among other synthetics, to enhance both waterproofing and breathing capabilities. So, I would only recommend boots with these enhancements for beginners.
In particular, GORE-TEX guarantees 100% waterproofing and breathability, with microscopic pores keeping water out while letting vapor escape. Hydratex offers reliable waterproofing at an affordable price, keeping feet dry and comfortable during rainy rides.
Optimal Security for Every Ride
Again, a boot with the best protective technology is only good if it has positive closure technology to ensure it stays on no matter what. At the same time, it should be easy to slide in and out of for regular use and in case of an emergency. You are looking for zippers, laces, buckles, and velcro straps with positive closure – mechanisms that remain shut and cannot unintentionally open.
Enhance Your Riding Experience
Now, you have the opportunity to choose a boot that aligns with your individual taste and provides the utmost comfort. Cold weather insulation, active side vents, and other premium features combine to offer unmatched comfort during long rides.
Consider comfort insoles equipped with the BOA® Fit System, providing a precise and customizable fit. The Vibram® Apex Sole ensures excellent grip and shock absorption, while OrthoLite® X40 Insoles absorb vibrations, maintain the fit, and guarantee long-lasting comfort.
These are just a glimpse of the treasures that await you with my selections. Let’s roll! See, colloquial terms are just as invaluable in the world of motorcycling. Ride in peace, Todd Beamer!
Top 5 Best Motorcycle Boots for Beginners
|Boot Model||Category||Height (Inches)||Weight (Pair)||Size (U.S.)||Closure Type|
|SIDI Adventure 2 Gore Tex Mid||Best All-Weather||11.8 in||5.0 lbs.||8.5-13||Zipper and Velcro Strap|
|Alpinestars SMX 6 v2 Vented||Best Race-Bred||13.2 in||4.6 lbs.||3-17||Zipper and Velcro Strap|
|Forma Adventure||Best Tall||13.25 in||6.4 lbs.||516||Buckle and Zipper Combination|
|Alpinestars Belize Drystar||Best Mid-Height||11.5 in||5.3 lbs.||7-13||Zipper and Hook-and-Loop Strap|
|Klim Outlander GTX||Best Short||10.2 in||6.0 lbs.||7-14||BOA® Fit System|
In the early 1970s, when I first swung a leg over a motorcycle seat as a beginner rider, I grappled with the challenge of finding purpose-built riding boots that offered true value for my hard-earned money. Back then, the market was in its infancy, and the big names we recognize today were taking their first tentative steps. I had limited exposure and even fewer options.
Fast forward almost 50 years, and my journey as a rider and an expert deeply involved in the R&D of contemporary models has equipped me with invaluable insights. In today’s expansive market, I empathize with the overwhelming options you face. And in my reviews, I’ll only recommend boots I’ve personally encountered and tested. I believe in sharing expertise rooted in firsthand experience rather than relying on mere hearsay, as my ultimate goal is to ensure you extract the utmost value from my knowledge without breaking the bank. Here goes:
1. SIDI Adventure 2 Gore-Tex Mid: Best All-Weather
In a remarkable stride towards perfection, SIDI has revolutionized the world of motorcycle footwear with the Adventure 2 Gore-Tex Mid — a middle-height boot born from the lessons learned in their initial venture. The towering predecessor, the 14-inch (35.6cm) SIDI Adventure Gore-Tex, left me underwhelmed, its comfort unable to match its lofty price tag.
Now, with the 11.8-inch (30cm) SIDI Adventure 2 Gore-Tex Mid, we arguably have the best choice for beginner motorcyclists seeking all-weather, on/off-road ADV boots. Thanks to a perforated Cambrelle liner adorned with Teflon-sealed fibers for unparalleled aeration, coupled with a Gore-Tex lining that makes it impenetrable to water yet graciously breathable.
Ah, the perfect equilibrium is achieved, and you, dear reader, deserve commendation for diving into my reflections. A chuckle of delight escapes me as I contemplate the exciting journey that awaits you in these exceptional boots!
Revolutionary Design, Unmatched Comfort
But, first, let’s delve into the heart of this marvel. The Adventure 2 Gore-Tex Mid feels premium for its price range with a sleek non-bootie design, adorned with full-grain suede and microfiber fabric, seamlessly integrating Cordura inserts, elevating its aesthetics to a level that demands attention.
In a calculated move, SIDI cut split-grain leather grip paneling on the inside of the calf, shedding 1.4 lbs. when compared to its taller counterpart, the SIDI Adventure Gore-Tex 2 at 6.4 lbs. on my scale. Definitely not the lightest or strongest boot I have tried, but again, such modest trade-offs are not just acceptable but expected, given its pleasantly affordable price tag.
The Shorter Profile Advantage
Perhaps where the smaller SIDI wins over its pricier, full-calf-height counterpart is the superior comfortability and walkability thanks to the shorter profile. The gaiter now goes all the way up the shank, although the waterproofing membrane stops somewhere around the upper buckle.
You sacrifice some shin coverage (not all), but in return, you gain the freedom to move and aim your foot precisely. Torsional and lateral protection—which I feel you might not be needing if you stick to learning speeds and motorcycles rated for your skill level—is also significantly reduced without the ankle pivot system found on taller ADV boots.
Not bad for a beginner, primarily because you’re unlikely to attempt hardcore enduro activities. Instead, you’d prefer a boot that allows you to walk around without unintentionally mimicking a robot.
Safety Without Sacrifice
Make no mistake; this shorty doesn’t skimp on safety. It delivers robust toe, ankle, and heel protection through TPU-injected panels. The rubber molded lug sole provides a steadfast grip on nearly every surface I have used it on, ensuring stability and confidence with every step. Furthermore, its interiors are not only premium but carefully engineered for support.
The nylon inner sole, anatomically shaped heel cup, and removable arch support pad combine to create an oasis of comfort, making long rides or walks a breeze.
Secure and Durable Closures
As far as closure goes, the closing of the SIDI Adventure 2 Gore-Tex Mid becomes an act of assurance. You get secure plastic buckles fortified with metal reinforcements, which I have repeatedly banged without breaking or coming undone. The addition of a simple yet effective Velcro strip at the top ensures a snug fit.
I also like that there is a slight bump just before the lower buckle that kind of deflects ingress debris from smashing the mechanism, which happens far more than you would expect. This detailed attention to closure mechanics guarantees longevity and reliability, showcasing the boot’s commitment to your safety and convenience.
2. Alpinestars SMX-6 v2 Vented: Best Race-Bred
Five reasons I went with the Alpinestars SMX-6 v2 over the Spidi XP3-S Sport and even the Dainese Torque 3 Out Boots, all have to do with its perforated accordion stretch panels, replaceable TPU slider, removable anatomic footbed, and double density ankle protector. Alpinestars’ exclusive compound rubber sole promotes improved feel and grip, water dispersion, and durability for a confident grip on various surfaces, all for under $300. I’m intrigued, aren’t you?
Where Street Precision Meets Track Performance
A force to be reckoned with both on the street and the track, Alpinestars is the maker of the hugely popular and successful SMX series of racing boots, which are as comfortable on the street as they are on the track, canyons, and spirited touring. Their race-bred SMX-6 v2 is an excellent choice for a beginner looking to do an occasional track day on your sport or street bike while still wanting to enjoy extensive road riding.
The confidence-inspiring CE (EN 13634:2017 Level 2) certified boot weighs only 2 pounds but comes complete with TPU-injected molds, a suede-lined heel cup protector, a replaceable toe slider, and a biomechanical ankle guard.
Superior Slide Protection
It’s that shiny plastic-rubbery material that permeates the design of this boot. The injection of high-grade thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), which is a highly abrasion- and oil-resistant material. It exhibits a soft to hard behavior and offers a low friction coefficient but high resistance to abrasive wear compared to butadiene rubber (BR) and styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR) typically used in soles.
This means you can not only absorb fall impacts but also allow sliding action to disperse energy in case of a fall without succumbing to the asphalt and damaging the boot and your leg should you have a spill mid-corner.
More Grip Than You Can Dream Of
We all know to be wary of those intersections, especially when it rains, and all the grease and grime float up. Not to worry, though, because the SMX-6 V2, I would say, has equal, if not more, grip than the more track-oriented boots like the SMX Plus V2 Boots, thanks to that rubberized sole with multidirectional tread patterns.
Still on the underbelly, the boot includes a steel shank sole insert to redistribute your weight off your foot arch and across the whole sole, providing additional stability in case of a tumble.
3D Mesh Liner Spells Luxury
I picked the vented version for dry summer rides on my little Ninja 250, and I can assure you that vented here means vented! The 3D mesh lining (the same material they use in all their premium boots) works wonderfully well in tandem with the perforated outer shell, allowing tons of air to flow and pampering my feet on an afternoon stroll.
It’s noteworthy that they offer a standard non-perforated version for cooler climates, a Gore-Tex version, and Drystar versions for riding in the monsoon, as well as a feminine contoured version, all available in a variety of colors. In particular, the Alpinestars Stella SMX 6 v2 Vented Boots, is arguably the best motorcycle boots for beginner women’s, meticulously designed and constructed to offer a perfect performance fit for women.
One point to note is that I found these boots to run slightly large (typical with European cut boots), so you might want to consider sizing down by one unit.
3. Forma Adventure: Best Tall
I’ve owned and used more than 50 adventure boots, but when you mentioned ‘tall boots’, the 13.25-inch (33.7cm) Forma Adventure immediately came to mind. What makes it memorable? Its unique appeal lies in the fusion of fruity touring and robust hiking elements, creating a specialized adventure riding boot that doesn’t compromise your freedom to move.
Add a vintage-styled full-grain oiled bovine leather construction, complemented by a Drytex waterproof and breathable liner, as well as a robust TPU shin protector. The result? A boot that evokes a sense of love for Treviso, a charming province in Italy that has earned global recognition as the birthplace of SIDI, Alpinestars, and TCX, the leading motorcycle boot brands. Now, it’s also home to Forma’s headquarters, continuing Italy’s legacy in crafting top-notch motorcycle gear. Need I mention AGV helmets? Not today!
Lightweight You Can Literary Live In
I find the Forma ADV boots very comfortable for long days in the saddle of my lightweight Tekken 250 SE, even when compared to boots designed primarily for on-road touring, such as the Alpinestars Radon Drystar. Right out of the box, it felt like it was already broken in for me.
One important thing to note is that this boot is still considerably heavy (3.2 lbs.) and will start to feel that way, especially past the sixth hour or so of riding. But if you are mostly doing light trails with a bit of mucky terrain, this shouldn’t be a problem. There is a lower version for those of you who spend most of their riding time on paved roads, where that extra shin protection is hopefully never required, and you can definitely shed a considerable amount of weight that way.
And to quote the manufacturer,
“The lightweight Forma Adventure boots are not suitable for off-road, kick-start bikes, or aggressive motocross foot-pegs. They’re simply designed for paved and unpaved road touring with limited off-road protection. For standing riders, consider Forma Terra Evo X boots.”
A 4 out of 5 for Safety
The Forma Adventure uses TPU reinforcement in the crucial areas to guard against impacts and, although not as stiff, strikes a nice balance between being able to stand on the pegs for extended periods and having the flexibility to walk around while running errands like food shopping or getting gas. It offers the durability of a battle tank, featuring double stitching on all the protection panels.
But if you plan to do hardcore enduro jumps on a fully loaded mammoth of a bike, then a full-blown motocross boot like the Alpinestars Tech 7 might do a better job, but it comes at a significant cost and sacrifices comfort. Still the Forma does your one better with real cow than the synthetic stuffed in the O’Neal 0325, one of the best motorcycle boots under $200.
4. Alpinestars Belize Drystar: Best Mid-Height
For the mid-height, I recommend riding with yet another 3 to 4-season Alpinestars Belize Drystar adventure riding boot, a shorter (11.5 inches) alter ego of the taller 14.5-inch Alpinestars Corozal Adventure Drystar.
The Belize is identical in technicality and features to the Corozal, except for the additional 3 inches on the latter. When weighed on my scale, the Belize balances at 5.73 lbs. a pair, which is less weighty compared to the Corozal at 8.65 lbs. a pair. Right off the bat, you realize that this is a serious boot, perfect for standing up on the pegs for days and unafraid of a moderate splash thanks to the Drytex membrane.
It stamps Alpinestars’ authority all over the trails with all the bells and whistles of a full-blown enduro boot, from the biomechanical link system to the baked-in TPU protection on the medial side and a generous coarse suede to firmly grip the bike underneath without ruining the style.
Fits Like a Glove
For me, what stands out the most about the Belize Drystar boots is the attention to detail regarding comfort and properly fitting the boot to the shape of your foot. This is where the two self-aligning buckle mechanisms and the velcro come into play. You also have microfiber bellows at the Achilles heel and front, helping the boot to flex and conform to your leg.
I have never had a problem with the toe box size from this brand, and neither do most people; the entire boot fits true to size.
2-in-1 Grippy Soles
The soles are two-part, with lug front and back sections comfortable for walking when off the bike. The middle section, which is replaceable, is more suited for putting your weight on the pegs. This simple design feature doubles the value of this boot because now I can hike in the same boot I rode in, and that’s an awesome feature to have.
Whether you’re a beginner or the greatest adventure rider that ever lived, this aspect is incredibly beneficial.
One more thing I appreciate about the Alpinestars boots is the attention to detail, even in the smaller components like the TPU buckles and straps. It’s like a promise that the boot will last long enough for you to replace those parts when needed. A feature you won’t find in equally reputable boots, such as the Forma Adventure Low, which uses double adjustable straps and velcro but is integrated into the entire boot structure.
I’ve been riding in these for three seasons now, and there are no signs of fatigue on the self-aligning and auto-cleaning buckles (which, by the way, are effortless to slide shut with a gloved hand). Nevertheless, it’s always reassuring to know that replacement parts are available for a small extra fee.
5. Klim Outlander GTX: Best Short
Klim, a top-of-the-line motorcycle gear manufacturer based in Idaho, redesigned their Outlander GTX boots, but the name appears to have remained the same! But did they set out to make the best non-motorcycle boots for riding? Perhaps not! Klim trimmed the bulky toe box, reduced the TPU around the back heel, and added a dash of blacked-out reflective material instead.
The lug sole also received some love with refined tread patterns so they no longer get loaded up with mud and grime thanks to the new ingenious drain channel at the back for easy removal of dirt. In place of synthetic materials, you now get genuine buck leather suede, which looks more authentic and provides a better tactile feel.
The result? A much nicer pair of motorcycle-mannered waterproof hiking boots, all for a minimal $20 increase in price. Its remarkable versatility allows you to transition from motorcycle gear to a hiking companion with ease. Perhaps that’s why I chose the Klim as the best short motorcycle boot over the popular Icon Tarmac WP for beginners like you.
Hiking Style Boot With Motorcycle Manners
If you’re in the market for short, versatile beginner motorcycle boots that you can also hike in, then you should know that the Klim Outlander GTX stands at the apex of that food chain. The ‘hiking style boot with motorcycle manners’ is actually a misnomer, as this boot is packed full of motorcycle-specific features.
It starts with 3mm and 5mm CE-rated XRD padding, a quick-release BOA closure with sequence lacing, and a Gore-Tex waterproofing membrane, making it breathable and superior in water resistance compared to the DRYTEX waterproofing of the Forma Terra EVO Adventure Boots.
While Alpinestars Tech 3 boots may be more off-road specific, they lack the comfort and versatility of a walking boot, which is where the Outlander shines.
The 3D mesh feels plush and comfortable in warm to moderately hot and cold temperatures, aided by the cushioned sidewalls that also help retain a bit more heat. You’ll also notice that Klim changed suppliers for better quality, such as the CE-rated XRD foam, replacing the previously bulky D30 foam, which didn’t flex as easily.
The new BOA cable closure system is more refined, offering a smoother operation compared to the previous version, making these boots a good bargain for the $300 price. Besides, the removable footbed allows you to swap it out for an aftermarket option if that’s what you prefer.
Hyper-Grippy Soles Make A Difference
The Klim Outlander GTX boasts a redesigned sole that provides the flexibility to walk while offering the necessary stiffness to stand on the pegs without getting exhausted. The trick here is a steel insert in the arch of the sole, which imparts rigidity and evenly distributes weight throughout the boot, while the lug designs on the front and back help me to walk easily unafraid of slips.
It’s the Little Champion Among Shorty Boots
Whether it’s the BOA fit sequence lacing or the breathable Nesfit anatomically optimized footbed, the Klim Outlander outshines nearly every other boot in its price range. For instance, the TCX Fuel WP cruiser motorcycle boots use a more fiddly lateral zipper and velcro closure, while the retro-styled Stylmartin Rocket only has a zipper closure and traditional laces.
Both of these best low motorcycle boots offer removable insoles but lack the moisture-wicking properties of the Nesfit footbed, making the Outlander the clear winner for longer hikes.
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!
Information for this article was partially sourced and researched from the following authoritative government, educational, corporate, and non-profit organizations: