Ordinary footwear simply is not a safe option when it comes to riding a motorcycle. Purpose-built motorcycle boots are designed to protect your feet from impact, abrasion, debris and the elements. Motorcycling puts your feet in close proximity to all sorts of hazards, so it pays to slip into a good pair of motorcycle boots every time you ride.
Today the world’s top manufacturers offer motorcycling boots and shoes for men, women and children, in a vast range of fitments. There are boots designed for every type of riding, too. Whether you are a commuter, a tourer, a sports rider or a dirt rider, rest assured that there are quality boots available to fit your feet as well as the type of riding you have planned.
TYPES OF MOTORCYCLE BOOTS
There are four major styles of motorcycle boots, each with its own advantages and features. To help you choose what is best for your ride, we’ll break them down here.
Casual Riding Shoes
Casual riding shoes combine the look of a normal shoe or sneaker, with added protection from abrasion, impact and weather. These designs also offer better walking comfort compared to most full-length motorcycle boots. They are the perfect choice for safety-conscious riders who like to arrive at their destination in a style that blends with casual clothes, and can be worn comfortably all day.
Many casual riding boots are styled after high top sneakers, with a lace-up fit. Most incorporate reinforcement in critical areas such as toe caps and ankles. Some styles even have CE approved protective materials built in - meaning they meet the safety and health protection requirements of the European Union, a standard recognised globally. Many casual riding shoes also feature proprietary water resistant or waterproof treatments, something that can be handy both on and off the bike.
Casual riding shoes are designed to stand up to the wear and tear of life on the bike far better than ordinary shoes. Soles are created to resist wear from footpegs, and you’ll often find toe caps with tough gear shifter guards to prevent the gear pedal wearing away at the upper of the shoe through repeated upshifting.
Best suited for:
- Riders who don’t wish to change footwear when they arrive at their destination;
- People who prefer a casual, street shoe look;
- Those who need a comfortable walking shoe that is also protective on the bike;
Our top Casual Riding Shoe picks:
Full Length Boots
Full length boots are the choice of riders who prioritise protection above all else. The preferred style of motorcycle racers, full length boots have benefited from decades of development in competition. The racing focused styles of full length boots incorporate high tech materials and design in order to provide maximum impact and abrasion protection for the toes, heel, lower leg, shin and ankle. Ankle protection is of particular concern.
The human ankle is a complex mechanism of delicate bones and ligaments. Serious impact or even movement beyond a limited range of extension or rotation can easily cause sprains, fractures or breakages. Boot manufacturers often add both impact protection and mechanisms to limit the range of ankle movement into boot designs. The result is ultimate protection - something that means that these styles can be comparatively rigid, and not ideal for walking any distance.
There are also full length motorcycle boots designed with commuting, touring, hot, cold or wet weather in mind. Protection combined with comfort and practicality are the priorities. There are warm, waterproof designs for cold climate riding as well as models with various types of ventilation for comfort in warm weather.
Compared to race boots, full length road and touring boots are generally more flexible, and easier to walk in. They are also a more practical choice for road riders because they are generally designed to be easier to put on and take off.
Full length boots are fitted securely on the foot in a variety of ways, often with combinations of zippers, hook and loop fasteners, buckles and ratchet mechanisms. Fitted snugly over the foot and lower leg, full length boots are less likely than short boots to come off in a spill. Another advantage is weather protection. Full length boots, especially when worn under riding pants, are less likely to allow water ingress inside the boot.
Best suited for:
- Track riders and racers;
- Road riders who seek maximum crash and weather protection;
- Those who don’t mind changing into walking shoes at their destination;
Our top Full Length Boot picks:
Short boots incorporate similar protective features as full length motorcycle boots, but in styles that are cut to ankle length or slightly longer. Some manufacturers offer boots that are virtually identical to their full length boot designs, but with a shorter cut.
Many riders find short boots more comfortable to wear and walk in than full length boots. Lighter weight is another benefit of this style.
Short boots share similar fastening options to many full length boots. Alongside zippers, hook and loop fasteners, buckles and ratchet mechanisms there are sometimes laces offered as an option.
There are short boot styles created to perform in all sorts of weather, from ventilated summer designs to waterproof winter versions. While many riders find short boots more comfortable to wear in warm weather, the design is less well suited to cold and wet weather riding than full length boots. The reasons behind this are reduced weather protection for the lower leg as well as easier water ingress. This is simply because the tops of short boots cannot always be worn under riding pants.
Best suited for:
- Riders seeking excellent protection with comfort
- Those who may need to walk for some distance in their boots
- Riders who value warm weather comfort with good protection
Our top Short Boot picks:
- This one
- This other one
- This one, too.
Whether ultimate protection, perfect fit or style are the priorities, there is no doubt that dedicated women’s boots for motorcycling have all the options covered.
The world’s top manufacturers recognise that correct fit contributes to the safety of women’s boots. For this reason, specifically designed women’s boots are now offered in full length and short styles, with models purpose built for track riding, touring and commuting in all weather conditions. The same high tech designs and materials incorporated into men’s boots can be found in women’s boots. In both long and short styles, there are ventilated summer boots, as well as warm, waterproof winter designs.
Women’s boots, like men’s styles, can be securely fastened with zippers, hook and loop fasteners, buckles or ratchet mechanisms. Some designs also feature laces.
Increasingly, manufacturers are creating women’s boots in designs that echo fashionable streetwear. Fashion cues include material choices beyond basic black, decorative buckles and even high heels. These features and more are blended into boots without compromising safety or riding functionality. These boots look great while standing up better to the wear and tear of riding than casual boots do.
Best suited for:
- Women who value correct fit for safety and comfort
- Female riders seeking boots that pair with streetwear or casual wear
- Women who don’t wish to wear out casual shoes and boots through riding
Our top Women’s Boot picks:
POPULAR FEATURES OF MOTORCYCLE BOOTS AND SHOES
Down near where the rubber meets the road, conditions can be tough on motorcycle boots. Here are some of the features that add to the durability and functionality of a good pair of boots.
Toe sliders - moulded protrusions of plastic or magnesium that click or screw on to the outer toe areas of some boot styles - are not a feature of every boot design. Yet on racing and track boots, they are a must.
At extreme track lean angles, even a carefully tucked-in foot can be caught between the bike and the tarmac. In situations like these, toe sliders help both boots and feet to survive. They are literally a sacrificial part, designed to stand up to scrapes on the tarmac. With repeated touch downs, toe sliders will wear away, and this is the reason they are replaceable. Toe sliders are offered by many manufacturers as spare parts for those times when those fitted to a new pair of boots have finally worn out.
While most toe sliders are made from high durability plastic, some are offered in magnesium. This material is used for two reasons. It is tough, and unlike many other metals it will not create sparks as sliders touch down - sparks are considered a fire hazard at race tracks.
The protection offered by motorcycle boots can come at a cost - layers of robust materials can make a rider’s feet uncomfortably warm when the weather heats up. Every rider copes differently with hot weather riding. For those who really feel the heat, boots specifically designed with summer in mind can deliver ventilation and improved comfort in a number of ways.
Many summer boots make use of materials such as synthetics that allow air to flow through naturally. Some offer areas of perforated material to allow the flow of air. And then there are engineered ventilation systems, featuring air inlets, ventilation paths and exhaust ports. Many of these allow vents to be opened and closed so that riders can adjust the amount of ventilation available to suit the ambient temperature.
Waterproof Motorcycle Boots and Shoes
Waterproof motorcycle boots and shoes often make use of proprietary, high-performance textiles or membranes in order to keep riders’ feet dry. Materials such as Gore-Tex, Hipora and Alpinestars’ own Drystar membrane combine breathability with a remarkable ability to keep water out.
Zippered vs Lace Up designs
There are good reasons why zippers remain a feature of many motorcycle boots. Zippers are sometimes the primary method of securing boots, but often used in conjunction with buckles, ratchet mechanisms or hook-and-loop fastening. Their advantage is in their ability to help provide a good fit, while also streamlining the fitting and removal of boots. Zippers are a low-profile feature that make getting in and out of a pair of boots quick and easy.
Lace up designs are most popular in ‘street style’ riding boots and shoes, particularly the short types. Laces are a great method of securing riding boots styled after sports shoes and work boots. The result is a practical method of fitting, excellent comfort and a casual aesthetic that flies under the radar. Of course lacing up a pair of boots can often take longer than using a zipper. Another potential area of concern is that loose laces can tangle with foot pegs, brake and gearshift pedals, potentially leading to spills.
MATERIALS USED IN MOTORCYCLE BOOTS
Where once there was primarily leather, today a host of high performance materials can be built into a pair of motorcycle boots. Various combinations of materials deliver comfort, durability, abrasion resistance and the ability to keep water at bay. Let’s look at some of the materials used in motorcycle boots today.
Today Lorica is often used in the uppers of boots - delivering similar flexibility, breathability and durability to leather. Where hard impact resistance and an ‘armour’ shell is needed, such as heel cups, TPU is often used. TPU is Thermoplastic Polyurethane, a plastic that is light, strong and abrasion resistant. Latex foams and Lycra are soft, durable and stretchy, often used in the inners of boots to aid comfort and fit. Modern boots with excellent waterproof qualities are often lined with breathable yet water resistant proprietary synthetic materials such as Gore-Tex or Hipora.
A name synonymous with waterproof gear of all kinds, Gore-Tex is a fabric created from expanded polytetrafluoroethylene - more commonly known as Teflon. Gore-Tex is one of the most popular materials used in creating waterproof motorcycle boots. Its popularity stems not simply from its water resistant nature, but also from its breathability. Used as a lining material for boots, Gore-Tex helps keep riders’ feet dry as well as comfortable and fresh.
While various synthetic materials have stepped up to challenge it, natural leather remains a popular material in motorcycle boot design. Tough and abrasion resistant, leather is also very long lasting when properly cared for. Many riders also prefer its natural look, which some maintain just gets better with age. While mostly used in the uppers of boots, leather is also applied as reinforcing, and used in securing straps. Leather is often the preferred material in classically styled motorcycle boots and shoes.
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Motorcycle boots from Bikebiz
Gear up for your next ride with Bikebiz's range of high-quality road motorcycle boots. With all the top brands in motorcycle road gear on offer, you’ll stay safe, comfortable and protected on the road.
All the top brands for motorbike footwear
Big name brands such as Alpinestars, Dainese, Dririder, Falco, Gaerne, RST, Sidi, and TCX take road boots seriously, and offer a wide range of styles to handle any road condition. Bikebiz provides a one-stop-shop to compare and try on these brands, with a knowledgeable team available to help you find the right pair from motorcycle brands trusted around the world.
Motorcycle riding boots for all conditions
Our range of motorcycle boots are built to withstand what the road can throw at you by keeping your feet safe, comfortable, and dry. We have a number of waterproof boots lined with a waterproof membrane that are suitable for mid season and winter riding. A number of our boots also offer high performance protection with ankle, shin and calf impact as well as shock absorption.
What are the different types of motorcycle boots and shoes available?
There are a range of different types of motorcycle boots currently available with the following styles including:
- Full length boots - These offer ultimate foot and upper shin protection when riding.
- Short boots - Provides foot protection whilst sitting at the upper ankle, offering a more lightweight feel.
- Casual riding boots - Provide riders with a relaxed and casual look for urban riding and can be worn around casually.
- Womens motorcycle boots - We also have a range of shoes more fitted to a women’s foot profile.
What should I look for in a motorcycle boot?
Some key things to look out for when choosing your next pair of riding boots include making sure the boot offers sufficient ankle support, a secure closure system and a non-slip sole that makes sure you’re comfortable on and off road.
Ensuring that your road boots are also made from durable materials that can take wear and tear, yet stay lightweight, such as microfibre, leather, Gore-tex & kevlar can also be important for longevity of your new boots. A number of our available riding boots also have protectors in sensitive areas such as shins, calfs, heels and toes so you don’t come off second best in the case of an accident.
What kind of safety & protection rating do motorcycle boots have?
CE certification is used as a safety standard for motorcycle gear across Europe, which is also commonly followed in Australia. All of our boots on offer are CE certified, ensuring they are at the minimum standards of protection against impacts and abrasions. These can vary from CE Level 1 or CE Level 2, with further protective qualities attributed to the latter. This should give you greater peace of mind for protection in the event of an accident or impact.