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The Best Motorcycle Boots for Every Type of Rider

Photo: RSD x White's Foreman Boots

Without the added benefit and security afforded by a steel cage with airbags, seatbelts, and crumple zones, motorcycle riders are exposed to markedly more hazards than the drivers of the four-wheeled machines with which they share the roads. And while riding on two-wheels is objectively more dangerous than driving, motorcyclists can massively mitigate their likelihood of an injury by arming themselves with a quality set of protective riding gear.

Riding jackets, gloves, and helmets admittedly do tend to receive most of the attention when discussing safety gear, though moto boots play an equally important role in shielding riders from danger and injuries. While there’s absolutely no shortage of stellar riding shoes and boots to pick from, there are a number of models that stand above the rest, representing the finest moto-specific footwear currently on the market. And it’s this crop of items that we’ll be exploring today in this guide to the best motorcycle riding boots and shoes you can buy.

The Best Motorcycle Boots

Foot Fortification 101

The 10 Main Factors To Consider When Buying Motorcycle Footwear

Today’s moto-specific footwear market encompasses an enormous array of offerings, ranging from casual sneaker-style moto shoes to wildly robust full-length adventure riding boots. However, regardless of what style you’re shopping for, there are a few handy tips that will help you hone in on the pair that’s best for you and your particular riding style. Below, we’ll briefly touch on ten of the most crucial areas to think about before pulling the trigger on your purchase.

Intended Use: How you plan on using your riding boots or shoes should serve as a jumping-off point for your purchase, as your intended riding application(s) should hugely narrow down your list. The trick here is to review the main genres that comprise this space, and then select from one that’s most conducive to the main type of riding you plan on doing.

Style: Ultimately, the main guiding factor in your decision should very much be intended use, though there’s also nothing wrong with allowing your aesthetic tastes to at least partially influence your purchase. Luckily, today’s moto footwear market boasts an enormous array of different styles of items, practically guaranteeing the fact you can find a pair that aligns with your personal tastes while still representing a sensible choice in relation to your riding style and/or intended use.

Range Of Motion: Full-length boots undeniably afford the highest levels of protection, though they can sometimes do so at the cost of agility and dexterity, greatly limiting one’s range of motion. When shopping for full-length moto footwear it’s important to look into this area, as certain pairs do a much better job at not restricting one’s movement. Short-length boots can also be a great option, as their range of motion is pretty much entirely unencumbered.

Armor: In addition to providing protection against slides and abrasions, many of today’s best riding boots also feature built-in armor — typically of the D30 variety — which adds another degree of protection in the form of cutting-edge impact resistance. Considering that one’s feet are fairly prone to taking blunt force impacts in the event of a crash, armor is another wildly crucial area to explore when shopping for riding boots or shoes.

Materials: It’s hard to overstate the importance of the type of construction used to create a pair of riding boots, as this, more than any other factor, plays an enormous role in determining a pair’s overall quality. Leather, proprietary textiles, and high-denier nylons are fairly common, though it’s also worth exploring the materials used to craft smaller elements on a pair of boots such as the toe sliders (and toe pads), outsoles, and adjustment points or buckles. And almost as important as the materials used in a pair of boots is the construction technique(s) used to piece them together, as this latter area will have a tremendous impact on longevity and durability.

Fitment: In order to perform their job properly, motorcycle boots need to fit precisely and snugly. Being produced in a wide array of sizes and coming equipped with lacing systems obviously help with this area, though many of today’s best pieces of moto-specific footwear also sport a myriad of adjustment points to further fine-tune the fitment of particular areas. This aspect is even more crucial when dealing with full-length boots, whether they be of the adventure or track-focused variety.

Comfort: Comfort is of extreme importance when buying any pair of boots, and moto footwear is no different. These items need to pull off a somewhat delicate balancing act, affording ample protection from injuries and the elements while still being comfortable enough to use on a daily basis — a trait that’s typically achieved through the use of padding, plush insoles, and soft liners.

Weatherproofing: When riding a motorcycle, your feet are largely exposed to the elements, so if you’re a rider that lives in a particularly high-precipitation area or commutes rain or shine, weatherproofing is of extreme importance. Fortunately, there’s a slew of top-notch riding shoes and boots that come equipped with robust levels of weather protection in the form of waterproof primary constructions that are often backed by the use of advanced membranes. Some pieces of moto footwear are also outfitted with insulation to help ward off the cold.

Additional Features: Primary materials, armor, and construction technique are some of the most important areas to be considering when shopping in this space, however, there are undoubtedly other supplementary amenities on modern moto boots that are well-worth exploring. This includes elements such as proprietary closure systems and name-brand and/or antimicrobial footbeds, just to name a few.

Brand: Though there are occasional outliers, most brands tend to exhibit a similar level of quality and craftsmanship across the board for all of their respective offerings. Armed with this information, you can typically get a decent sense of a pair of boots’ overall quality by examining other products made under the same label.

Adventure Riding Boots

All-Terrain Protection

Riding out on the open road exposes riders to certain hazards, though off-road exploration opens bikers up to an even greater set of dangers and variables. As such, moto gear brands have specifically engineered boots from the ground up to lend themselves to hardcore off-road adventure riding — three of the best of which we’ve highlighted below.

Touratech DESTINO Adventure Boots

Photo: Touratech
  • Top-shelf build quality & construction
  • Offers incredible levels of protection
  • Heavily-reinforced & engineered for off-road use
  • Includes removable pair of inner shoes for wearing off the bike
  • Can be difficult to buy

The Best Adventure Riding Boots: Though they’ve now been on the market for roughly half a decade, the DESTINO Adventure boots from Touratech — which is unequivocally one of the most respected names in the off-road and adventure riding gear realm — still represent some of the finest ADV style boots that money can buy. Available in black or brown color options, these boots feature a leather and CORDURA construction, steel toe caps, an antibacterial footbed, plastic shin guards, an OutDry membrane, a robust triple buckle fastening system, and an included removable inner pair of boots for wearing around camp.

Main Construction: Waxed Full-Grain Leather & CORDURA
Membrane: OutDry
Armor: Polyurethane
Closure System: Three-Buckle
Outsole: Oil-Resistant Rubber

Klim Adventure GTX Boots

Photo: Amazon
  • Sports a full GORE-TEX membrane
  • Built atop Michelin rubber outsole
  • Secured via BOA Fit system
  • Features padded 5mm XRD impact foam ankle & mid foot protection
  • Has moisture-wicking breathable liner & antimicrobial gel-stable insole
  • Heavily-fortified boot design limits tactile feel & feedback

Runner-Up Adventure Riding Boots: Another stellar pair of modern ADV boots made by an immensely reputable off-road brand, Klim’s Adventure GTX Boots are constructed atop an ultra-grippy Michelin winter compound outsole and feature a full GORE-TEX membrane, 5mm XRD impact-absorbing foam padding, a rugged polycarbonate midsole, a reinforced shin plate, a moisture-wicking liner, and an antimicrobial gel-stable insole (plus an included spare Ortholite conventional insole). An ultra-precise fit is afforded through the use of a BOA Fit system that’s helped along by a shielded lace system and an ankle cam buckle adjuster.

Main Construction: Full-Grain Leather
Membrane: GORE-TEX
Armor: XRD Foam
Closure System: BOA Fit
Outsole: Michelin Winter Compound

Cafe-Style Boots

Vintage-Inspired Moto Footwear

Over the last decade, the motorcycling public has massively embraced all-things retro, ushering in an ever-growing selection of vintage-inspired production motorcycles as well as an equally expansive array of retro-influenced riding gear — very much including the footwear sector. Below we’ve rounded up three of our favorite old-school-style cafe riding boots to complement any retro-style load out.

RSD x White’s Foreman Boots

Photo: Roland Sands Design
  • Heirloom-quality moto-specific riding boots handmade in America
  • Crafted from ultra-premium Horween Chrome Excel leather
  • Built atop Vibram Cristy Crepe outsole & 610 last
  • Reinforced using stitch-down construction
  • Boots are fully resoleable & rebuildable
  • Requires break-in period
  • Expensive price

The Best Cafe Boots: Created through a collaboration between custom motorcycle and lifestyle brand Roland Sands Design and famed heritage footwear brand White’s Boots, this limited-edition version of the Foreman model takes what is already one of the finest American-made work boots on the market and bestows it with Roland Sands’ signature design flourish, treating the boots to 6″ full-grain water-resistant chrome-excel leather uppers supplemented via toe-shift pads, an Ortholite padded insole, leather laces, and a Vibram Cristy Crepe outsole. Made entirely by hand, these boots — which are available in two color choices — also sport a stitched-down mid-sole and are built on White’s legendary 610 last.

Main Construction: Water-Resistant Full-Grain Chrome-Excel Leather
Membrane: N/A
Armor: N/A
Closure System: Lace
Outsole: Vibram Cristy Crepe

AETHER Moto Boot

  • Made by boutique brand in small batches
  • Crafted from vegetable-tanned Italian leather
  • Fortified via integrated D30 ankle armor
  • Features Vibram Commando-style outsoles
  • Blake-stitched w/ heavy waxed-nylon blue threading
  • Armor only protects ankles
  • Expensive price

Runner-Up Cafe Boots: The plainly-named AETHER Moto Boot is the result of the company setting out to engineer the ultimate spare-no-expense pair of retro-style riding boots, meticulously piecing them together using some of the finest modern materials that money can buy. Handmade in Portugal, AETHER’s Moto Boot boasts vegetable-tanned Italian leather uppers equipped with a riveted speed lacing system, a reinforced toe shift pad, leather liners and footbed, and built-in cutting-edge D30 ankle armor. Built atop a Vibram Commando-style outsole, this model — which is offered in black or tan colorways and is sold with an included extra pair of different color laces — also sports a full leather welt and blake-stitch accenting with blue waxed-nylon threading.

Main Construction: Vegetable-Tanned Italian Leather
Membrane: N/A
Armor: D30
Closure System: Lace
Outsole: Vibram Commando

Casual Kicks

Everyday Commuter Riding Options

Commuting on two-wheels on a daily basis comes with its own unique challenges, needing to provide solid protection without being bogged down by unnecessary features that will get little use when riding to and from the office. What’s more, these items need to do a better job of blending in and not standing out as pieces of riding gear, leading to some surprisingly sleek models that still afford high levels of protection. Below, we’ve scoured the moto footwear sector to shine a light on a trio of the best casual daily-wear boots currently available.

REV’IT! Jefferson Shoes

Photo: Revzilla
  • Designed to look like regular sneakers when off the bike
  • Made from nubuck leather, faux leather, & washed canvas
  • Cushioned using OrthoLite Insole X40 foam
  • Features thermoformed toecap and heel cup protection
  • Toe-shifter pad looks a bit out of place when off the bike

The Best Casual Riding Shoes: Designed to provide ample protection while on the bike and to look great whether in or out of the saddle, the REV’IT! Jefferson Riding Shoes are a shaker-style pair of moto kicks that feature a partially-perforated Nubuck and artificial leather primary construction supplemented via washed canvas patches before being equipped with thermoformed reinforcements at the ankle and heel cup. Additionally, the shoes also sport a padded and gusseted tongue, reinforced side panels,  leather toe shifter pads, and ultra-plush OrthoLite X40 foam insoles. These riding sneakers are also offered in multiple color-ways including a fully-blacked-out pair. 

Main Construction: Synthetic Leather, Nubuck Leather, & Washed Canvas
Membrane: None
Armor: Thermoformed Toecap & Heel-Cup
Closure System: Lace
Outsole: Rubber

MotoBailey ElBulli Boots

Photo: MotoBailey
  • Stylish casual boots engineered for riding
  • Crafted entirely by hand in Texas
  • Conceals numerous moto-specific features
  • Boasts full Kevlar liner under plaid interior
  • Fortified via built-in polyurethane ankle armor
  • Doesn’t offer the most snug fit compared to other riding boots & shoes

Runner-Up Casual Riding Shoes: A thoroughly dapper take on a pair of casual riding boots, the MotoBailey ElBulli is an attractive example of regular-looking moto-specific footwear that conceals a host of modern safety features. The ElBulli’s French leather uppers hide a full Kevlar liner under a stylish plaid interior, as well as built-in polyurethane ankle armor. In fact, a reinforced toe pad is the only element on these boots that readily announce themselves as being of the moto variety. Based in Texas, the boutique brand behind these boots also produces all of its wares entirely by hand, the ElBulli very much included.

Main Construction: Full-Grain French Leather
Membrane: Kevlar Lining
Armor: Polyurethane
Closure System: Lace
Outsole: Rubber

Fast Footwear

Sport & Track Boots

Supersport and superbike models represent the absolute pinnacle of performance on two-wheels, aiming to exact the highest speeds and lowest lap times from these race-derived machines. Unsurprisingly, this type of riding requires an equally specific and high-performance selection of riding gear, including purpose-built footwear. Below are three of the finest sport and track-focused riding boots that money can buy.

Dainese Axial GORE-TEX Boots

Photo: Revzilla
  • Exact replica of boots worn by countless MotoGP & WSBK riders
  • Made in Italy from top-shelf materials
  • Designed to be worn under race leathers
  • Has metal inserts & replaceable magnesium sliders
  • Features the D-Axial system in carbon & aramid fiber
  • Need to be paired with full track leathers or track pants
  • Expensive price

The Best Sport & Track Boots: An exact replica of the race-spec boots worn by a slew of top-level MotoGP and WSBK riders, the Dainese Axial GTX model affords unparalleled levels of protection thanks to the implementation of some incredibly advanced technologies and materials. Offering better feedback and feel than its already wildly-impressive predecessor — as well as now sporting a full GORE-TEX membrane — the latest iteration of this boot is equipped with Dainese’s aramid and carbon fiber D-Axial frame system — which protects its wearer’s ankle from twisting and impacts — as well as microfiber uppers backed by cowhide leather and ultra-hardwearing D-Stone fabric inserts. What’s more, this model also features a nylon heel, replaceable magnesium sliders, and a zipper-secure back paired with a front speed lacing system.

Main Construction: Microfiber, D-Stone Fabric, & Split Cowhide
Membrane: GORE-TEX
Armor: D-Axial System
Closure System: Speed-Lacing System
Outsole: Rubber

SIDI Rex Boots

Photo: Revzilla
  • Affords unrivaled levels of protection
  • Made using SIDI’s exclusive Technomicro base material
  • Offers ultra-precise fitment
  • Brimming with race & track-focused features
  • Expensive price

Runner-Up Sport & Track Boots: SIDI’s Rex model is an objectively pro-grade, competition-spec pair of track-focused riding boots that are brimming with noteworthy features. Secured via SIDI’s proprietary Tecno-3 Push closure system, the boot’s uppers are comprised of the brand’s exclusive Technomicro base material which has been paired with padded elastic panels to allow for a completely unrestricted range of motion. It doesn’t stop there, however, as this model also features a fiberglass-infused nylon ankle support brace, reinforced double-stitching in all key high-stress areas, a breathable liner made up of anti-abrasion Cambrelle and perforated Teflon-treated nylon, DuPont polymer toe shift pads, nylon-reinforced fiberglass toe sliders with intake ports and alloy inserts, and dual-compound outsoles.

Main Construction: Technomicro Composite Microfiber
Membrane: N/A
Armor: DuPont Polymer & Padded Elastic
Closure System: Tecno-3 Push
Outsole: Dual-Compound

The Best Motorcycle Riding Gloves

Photo: Fuel Motorcycles Rodeo Gloves

Now that you’ve figured out what you’ll be wearing on your feet while riding, why not check out our list of the best motorcycle gloves you can buy for a curated look at the finest moto mitts currently on the market.