Tall or short, casual or sporty – whatever your style, there are motorcycle boots to match it. Here are our top tips on how to choose a pair that’s right for you.
The only bit of motorcycling gear that you need to wear by law is a crash helmet, but thankfully most of us are sensible enough to wear proper protective gear from head to toe, including a good pair of biker boots.
Choosing the right pair for you isn’t always easy though, with a huge variety to pick from. As far as we’re concerned, protection, style and comfort are the three key things to look out for when you’re thinking about getting your hands on (and feet in) a new pair of footwear.
Protection, style and comfort
Many boots are CE-certified to either level 1 or 2 (level 2 being more protective), and although boots without CE certification may come with built-in armour, it’s worth remembering that they’ve not been tested and approved as protective gear. We would always advise people to look for the CE approval label (which should be clearly visible) in any biking gear to make sure they get the best possible protection from their kit.
Protection doesn’t have to come at the cost of style though, and there are many different options available, from casual trainers to heavy-duty adventure boots. Whatever you’re looking for – and whatever your ride – there’s something suitable out there to keep your feet well protected.
Another important thing to remember is that you want your motorcycle boots to be comfortable to wear both on and off the bike. The sole should be rigid enough to stop your foot twisting in case of a tumble, but still flexible enough for you to be able to walk around without blisters forming after half-an-hour.
Of course, some more performance oriented boots are created purely for protection, with comfort being somewhat of an afterthought, but unless you’re racing, you’ll definitely be able to find a pair of footwear that’s versatile as well as offering suitable protection.
If you ride a geared bike, you’ll also want to ensure you have enough feeling through the boot to feel the gear change lever. As with any new gear, it’s always worth spending some time fiddling with them in the shop before you make the final decision to splash the cash.
Finally, an important part of being comfortable is having dry feet, so if you’re going to be regularly riding in wet conditions, make sure that your boots are waterproof, or even prepare for the rain with some waterproof socks or overboots.
Casual boots (which often look like regular trainers or smart leather shoes) offer more comfort off the bike, so if you only ride short distances and walk a lot, these might be the ones for you. Look for CE-approved armour and waterproofing, which will help make the boots more versatile than they look.
These are the most versatile road riding boots out there. They are often fully waterproof and designed to be able to handle most conditions, including some seriously wet weather. They’re ideal for long journeys or all-year commuting, and usually offer high levels of protection.
These are usually lighter (and slightly less versatile) than touring boots, and come with significantly more emphasis on ventilation and crash protection. Some boots also feature advanced ventilation systems to keep your feet cool.
These boots are tougher than all the rest and are capable of handling the most extreme off-road riding conditions. With serious levels of protection, they’re not really suitable for street use or if you have to do any walking as they are heavy and clunky, but for the trails they’re ideal.
- South Africa tour, day 11: Back to Cape Town, the long way round - 31 December 2020
- South Africa tour, day 10: Penultimate riding day - 30 December 2020
- South Africa tour, day 9: To the southernmost tip of Africa - 29 December 2020
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