Riders on the Storm: The 6 Best Motorcycle Boots
What a man wears on his feet says a lot about him. A pair of loafers says he never, ever needs to worry about walking long distances or running from an attacker. Some battered Timberlands shows he’s used to hard labor, hard liquor, and a life of hard knocks. If a man has a pair of motorcycle boots, well then you know you should buy him a drink, but probably not let him near your wife.
When the motorcycle was invented in 1885 the first thing early riders noticed was that they were very hot and very hard on a person’s feet, so they quickly started creating boots to help riders stay safe and avoid scorching their legs and their little piggies. Those simple leather boots are all grown up and now offer options that are stylish, rough enough to take grit from off-roading, as hard as Clint Eastwood’s will, and even comfortable enough for climbing off your hog to face a full day on your feet. Whatever your riding style, we’ve found the 6 best motorcycle boots to fit into your life.
Harley Davidson Scout
Standard Stand-Bys: You just aren’t going to get more timeless and more professionally made than the Davidson Scout. Casual riders to the hard-core enthusiast should have a pair of these on hand for doing cross-country touring or just taking a quick jaunt down to the store. The distressed leather upper provides good protection if you need to drop into a slide while the high ankle gives just enough support to make riding all day easy on your joints. The YKK zippers on the instep are hardy and won’t break on you. There are two flaws to note: First, don’t buy these online since the sizing can be odd. Find a retailer so you can try them on. Secondly, they are meant for heavy riders, not walking. They’re weighty and you’ll quickly tire if you try to go hiking in them. [Purchase: $100+]
Pro: Well-protected impact points
Con: Very pointed toe
Complete Commuter: It’s time to stop standing still every time there is a breakdown on your way to work or excessive congestion on the highway. When you just need something to get you to and from work, these are the option to get. They aren’t necessarily made with style in mind and do tend to feel a little reminiscent of 80’s high tops, so if you can look past that you’ll find them 2 Legit 2 Quit. The X-Cube line is the big brother of the lower priced X-Square and has the same thin, flexible tech sole which improves your feel of the bike when you’re on the road and increases comfort for longer trips. The upper is a fashionable suede while each of the impact zones are reinforced with synthetic Lorica leather for enhanced durability. It comes in a waterproof version which uses a mesh lining similar to Gore-Tex for fighting off the elements while still allowing your foot to breathe. If you have no need of added insulation or waterproofing, there is a lighter, thinner Air model that lets your feet breathe on sweltering days. The most notable problem is the pointed toe which can catch on the rear brake of most bikes. [Purchase: $140]
Pro: Removable shifter panel
Con: Not fully waterproof
Work It Out: The Mohawk is partly a commuter motorcycle boot but has the ability to function equally well as a work boot since you can wear them all day whether in the saddle or walking around the job site. They look good with jeans, but you probably can’t couple them with a suit and tie. You’d be wise to throw a spare pair of shiny double-monk shoes into your saddlebag so the bigwigs don’t know you’re a rebel and will never, ever be any good. The leather on the Mohawks has a unique grain that allows it to break in better than many motorcycle boots so that they better conform to the contours of your foot. They’re water resistant, but with a front lacing system, expecting full waterproofing will leave you with clammy feet. Built into the Mohawk is subtle malleolus protection to keep your ankle safe along with heel and toe reinforcement. They come with a removable panel for shifting so you can protect the lines and look of the boots even as you ride. If you prefer a little darker and more stylized boot, the Rev’It! Rodeo is nearly identical but a little more urban. [Purchase: $290]
Alpinestars Web Gore-Tex
Pro: Completely waterproof even after extended wear
Con: Too hot for warm riding
Winter Wear: Boasting an instep zipper and a solid leather front complete with true Gore-Tex lining these are truly 100% waterproof to keep the elements out even in a downpour or a snowstorm. A wide velcro strap at the top keeps all the moving parts locked down like Riker’s Island so no pieces can catch or snag. Both the lateral and medial sides have double-density ankle mounts to guard against impacts from any direction. A TPU shift pad on the toe keeps fatigue down even during stop-and-go driving or periods of intense shifting, like when you are taking your pregnant girlfriend to the hospital and certainly not drag racing.
The exterior sole is completely made of hard-ass vulcanized rubber which works to both protect you and increase the lifespan of the boot. The removable footbed gives you the option of some customization if you need to change the interior layout to add thermal socks or alter the ergonomics to better suit your foot. The powerful lining works great for autumn, winter, and early spring rides, but expect serious foot sweat if you slap these on in the summertime. [Purchase: $300]
Dainese TR-Course Out Air
Pro: Back opening improves protection on the sides
Con: Liner cannot be removed
Bargain Track Runner: We wanted to give anyone seeking out a life on the track or years of serious sport riding something they can afford which will also give them all the protection they need. You can go cheaper, but you’re risking all those bones you like so much for a few dollars. The TR-Course is an aggressive racing boot that comes with the anti-supination system which gives more flex around the joints . These are the upgraded version of the old TR-Race Out series of boots, so fans of that line will find a lot of similarities present here. These are the Air style which work well for indoor racers since they’re vented. The standard model doesn’t have the venting while the WD model is completely waterproofed for variance to accommodate the kind of racing you plan on doing. Entry and exit is done through the back so there is no inherent weakness in the armor on the lateral or median sides to reinforce the ankle completely. The standard V-Tec race soles break in easily and retain their shape for extended periods, even for heavy users. The biggest problem is the non-removable liner. [Purchase: $299]
Daytona Security Evo G3
Pro: Unbeatable protection
Purely Professional: The hand-made motorcycle boots from Daytona are the cream of the crop, as evidenced by the back-breaking price tag. If you’re not going to pursue a career in technical motorcycle racing, these are going to be more than you need. The outside is rough and rugged kangaroo leather along side Kevlar and carbon fibers that cut down on abrasions and can save the skin on your foot even if you lay your bike down and pick up road rash everywhere else. These employ the two boot system developed by Daytona with an interior bootie made up of hinged joints, aramid reinforced toes, and a hard shell composed of a plastic and aramid hybrid. Over your shins you’ll get four layers of protection to keep your fibula and tibia from snapping on impact. The liner wicks away moisture like a champ, even if you’re pouring sweat. If you have the cash to buy the absolute best, or you’ve just picked up a really good sponsor, then there is no reason to skimp. [Purchase: $1,050]