Boots are some of the most often overlooked bits of bike safety gear. Much like our hands, our feet are vital to riding a bike as they operate primary controls. Wearing incorrect boots, like steel-toed work boots, can cause devastating injuries. And wearing incorrect footwear such as sneakers or canvas shoes can lead to the foot being obliterated entirely in the event of an accident.
We say this not to panic you. We say this to let you know that spending even $50 to $100 on proper, reinforced, armored riding boots (of the right size and done up correctly) can make the difference between a little bit of road rash and a snapped ankle if you lowside. Thankfully, there are boots for every type of riding situation, from adventuring to casual and back again.
Many options are available for motorcycle footwear that don’t even look too far off from regular streetwear shoes or boots, but which still offer the right level of protection to keep your feet intact and your riding days comfortable! Here are a few of our favourites.
These are great casual riding shoes that keep you looking good both on and off the bike.
The Slink WP Boots from Merlin feature a premium cowhide leather construction with a suede effect finish for increased abrasion resistance (as well as extra style). They also have a Hydroguard waterproof membrane to keep you dry and D3O impact protectors for added safety.
A great-looking short boot from Sedici with handsome all-metal buckles. These boots feature full-grain leather construction with a Hipora lining to maintain waterproofing. Protective elements include a reinforced steel shank, injection-molded ankle cups, an external heel cup, and a fortified toe box.
If you absolutely, 100% must ride with what looks like sneakers, the new BILT Canyons are your best option. Made of Amara treated suede, with an inner microfiber mesh to wick away sweat and reinforce the boot, they look like your regular Saturday basketball sneakers.
However, hidden inside is a full length shock absorbing midsole and lugged outsole for excellent peg grip on the bike and ground grip off of it. CE-rated armor is built into the heels and toe caps. The ankles are protected on the outer and inner sides by soft CE rated armor as well.
The tongue and collar of the boot are padded for extra comfort while riding. There is also a shock distribution design along both heels and ankles, pulling shock out of the sole and into the laces to distribute it across your entire foot if you happen to have a heel strike when riding.
These boots are very comfortable and more than tough enough to take you to the top of Kilimanjaro.
Firstgear makes these boots with wear-resistant, waterproof, and durable action leather uppers, plus a protective shin plate and reinforcements in the ankle, toe and heel areas. Wet weather or water crossings are easily handled by the Hipora waterproof and breathable liner that will keep moisture away but also allow sweat to evaporate out.
A rotary ratchet lace closure provides precise fitting and convenient adjustability. Don’t let sore feet or ankles slow you down, these boots will take your riding comfort to new heights.
If a pair of Klims sits a little bit outside your price range, the Forma Adventure boots, another carryover from 2020, are a great alternative. Full-grain cowhide, oiled and vintage finished, provides a level of natural waterproofing backed up with a drytex liner—making these boots you can ride across a stream or shallow river with and keep your feet dry.
Full shin armor inside the leather is reinforced with a TPU deflector on the outside. Your heel, ankle, and toes are all protected with hard CE level 1 armor. A steel-shank rigid midsole gives you penetration resistance as well as durability for when you need to stand on the pegs.
The sacrifice is that the calf is not fully armored, and the boot uses ratchet clips instead of a lace-and-cover system. But the value you get here is noteworthy nonetheless.
The Sedici Vertice H2O touring boots pack attractive features, unisex sizing, and good looks into an affordable package. Made of full-grain cowhide, a waterproof Hipora lining guarantees dry feet in all weather. The boots also feature a double-reinforced shin guard, which clasps closed over a full-length gusset to ensure that the nasty weather you may have to ride through stays out.
The toes, ankles, and heel are all TPU armor protected. The word Vertice in the name refers to the fact that inside the boot, portions of microfiber are sewn in to allow for a more natural range of motion without sacrificing protection. The midsole and shifter are both double padded for comfort, and the sole has a high-grip pattern for when it’s wet and you’d be slipping around in most other boots.
These boots are carried over from our 2021 list, and we’ve also reviewed them on our sister site, webBikeWorld. With the cruiser or retro rider in mind, these boots are full cowhide and double stitched on all seams. They offer all the durability you’d expect at this price point.
These boots are suitable for three-season riding, thanks to their waterproofing. And they manage to offer this feature without sacrificing comfort or ventilation.
TCX Blend WP Women’s Boots.
Protection comes in the form of toe and heel armor that is CE-certified for anti-penetration and impact absorption. There are soft armor pads on the ankle to protect the bone and keep your foot aligned correctly should you come off your bike.
The boots lace up all the way to just under the calf muscle, making them high-tops that can be worn under riding jeans or pants. This is very important, as a properly fitted boot can prevent your ankle from twisting or bending in ways that may cause severe injury.
In the introduction at the top of this page, we spoke about having a pair of riding boots that are indistinguishable from regular day to day footwear. The Street & Steel Oaklands fit that description perfectly. With the Oaklands, you get 100% full leather with double and triple stitched seams throughout. They are also waterproof, with a breathable Hipora liner.
The toe, ankle, and heel areas are armored with TPU, and the midsole and shifter area are double padded for comfort. The laces and eyelets are extreme heavy duty, and should be able to take a pounding without breakage.
These boots are aimed squarely at the casual or retro rider, and possibly at the cruiser rider. At $120, they are also a lot less expensive than a lot of sneakers out there!
These Italian full grain leather boots have a classic style and high quality finish. The Forma Bolt Boots feature a lug-style rubber sole for all-day comfort and extra longevity. These boots will look great on any classic bike and are a must-have for anyone wanting that classic biker look.