Motorcycle Boots

It's probably safe to say that motorcycle boots are one of the most overlooked items of riding gear. It seems that many times we do not pay much attention to what footwear we choose for sport touring adventures. Although high speed accidents involve your head, hands and arms injuries, the most common accidents are at lower speed and these will involve your feet and ankles.

Needless to say that one should never consider going with shoes that they find best for walking or hiking as they find them comfortable and waterproof and they seem to do the job. Riding boots are designed for specific purposes and whilst it's true that some are rather uncomfortable to walk around now there is so much to choose from that you will always find a good compromise. 

Today's market offers motorcycle footwear ranging from trainers looking shoes such as the Alpinestars Riding Boots Joey Blk to sport or sport touring motorcycle boots. However, for the purpose of sport touring we choose not to consider the extremes that are the street shoes or the highest end race boots both types shown below.

Any way your perfect motorcycle boots should combine all the necessary features for your specific riding style and your expectations on how far you would walk wearing them once you're off the seat. In other words you will think about them whilst being on and off your motorcycle. Remember that the first category (on the bike) is hugely important, at least for the purpose of touring.

Riding boots come in various heights offering different degree of protection such as ankle support, protection from flying debris or insulation from engine or exhaust heat. Obviously as the boot gets higher it will generally be less comfortable for walking around. Often the compromise is found somewhere around 10 to 12 inches (25 – 30 cm) in height.

What bottom?

Inspect the sole. It should be oil, chemical and slip resistant. The thickness should not be less than 0.5 inch (13mm). The pattern on it should resemble a thread on a tire so you know the grip in any condition will not disappoint you. Bear in mind that a lot will depend on it.  Imagine what happen when your foot slips out from under you. Once your motorcycle starts to fall over, often there is not much you can do to rescue it. If this happens don't try killing your leg, just lay the bike down and save yourself a leg injury. It happens!

Motorcycle boots construction

As for the attachment of the sole to the boot upper there are two options: welted or cemented. Welting (stitching) is made with a much stronger thread than cotton and the examples are nylon or Kevlar. Welting makes the boot stiffer but more durable and stable. At the same time it will take a while before they start to flex properly and so become more comfortable. The cemented construction is most common for sport touring and definitely more flexible and comfortable when taking out of the box.

Look for other features like reinforced toes, ankle protectors, heel reflectors, and reinforced shifter pad on top of the left toe. These will be present on a decent motorcycle riding boots. Don't forget about ventilation if you intend to use them mostly as summer motorcycle boots.


Pay attention to what materials were used in the construction of the boot. Leather is the most frequent choice as it is natural breathable water resistant material. Just bear in mind that not all leather will perform the same. Look for a full grain at least 1.5 mm thick. Often the water-resistance is accomplished by combining leather with breathable water-proof membrane like Gore-Tex.  This is perhaps the best combination out there.

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