Motorcycle boot selection is going to be a much different process than buying other gear. Boots need to fit perfectly and must be catered exactly to your riding style. Jackets and pants come with removable liners, vents, cooling pads, and all kinds of features that keep your gear useful across all seasons/temperatures. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same goes for most boots.
You are going to have to be careful when selecting your boot by choosing the one that is best for your climate—whether it’s the breathability or water resistance you’re after—and unless you want to buy 3 pairs of boots, you’re going to be stuck with the same pair all season.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that boots need a multiple-season trial-period until you can consider them a good option. As much as I’d love to recommend the newest boots to hit the market, safety footwear options need a couple of seasons worth of wear-and-tear to prove their quality.
I have 7-year-old jackets still hanging up in my closet, but I can’t say the same for shoes as they break-down far quicker than any other article of clothing.
In this list, I’ve gathered what I think are the best options for safety footwear for beginner riders across three different styles: casual, ADV/touring, and sport riding. Let’s take a closer look; the game is afoot!
The TCX Street Ace riding shoe is a great option for riders looking for a multi-purpose shoe they can wear all day. Rode your motorcycle to class and don’t want the burden of having to lug around a second pair of shoes to wear throughout the day? This is the issue the Street Ace aims to resolve.
The Street Ace WP is the waterproof version of the more-breathable ‘Street Ace Air’. It features a full-grain leather upper area, waterproof lining, toe/heel reinforcements, replaceable insole, and the entire package is capped off with a highly wear-resistant rubber sole—making these shoes the perfect ‘daily driver’ for riders seeking a stylish commuter shoe they can keep on throughout the day.
The Adventure boot by Forma is a formidable contender when compared to the other ADV options in this list, given the fair price point and option for a low-cut version for riders with larger calves. These CE-safety-certified boots are constructed with a full-grain oiled leather upper, and they have an interior lined with Drytex weatherproof poly material to keep you dry.
Due to the harsh nature of ADV riding, you need to make sure your boots are constructed well and backed by tons of positive reviews from long-term owners. These boots are just that, with over 150 reviews on Revzilla and features such as unbreakable GH buckles, an anti-slip rubber sole (great for ADV riding), and ankle TPU internal molded plastic protection. Trust me when I say the Forma Adventure boots are awesome for new ADV riders.
The Alpinestars Corozal Adventure Drystar boots are marketed as solid ADV boots that are also comfortable for spending time hiking/walking off the bike. There’s not much of a point in riding an ADV bike up the side of the mountain if you aren’t planning on doing some on-foot exploring once you reach your destination.
The mid-height design is great for wandering around on foot while still providing protection on the road, and the vulcanized rubber compound sole will stay nice and grippy for exploring. When it comes to impact resistance, the boots feature TPU shin plates and ankle protection in addition to the heel and toe reinforcement areas. They are fully waterproof and lightweight as well.
The Spidi XP3-S is a highly reviewed sport boot with tons of great safety features. When riding fast, safety comes before comfort.
These riding boots feature a full leather construction for long-term wear (although they also come with a break-in time). The polyurethane lateral ankle slider, thermoformed carbon ankle protection, replaceable plastic toe sliders, and side protector/sliders give this boot full 360-degree protection in a low-price sport package begging to reach terminal velocity.
The TCX X-Blend Waterproof Boots are the perfect blend of style, protection, and overall functionality, thanks to their sleek full-grain vintage upper leather construction and waterproof lining to keep your feet dry.
The rubber sole is highly wear-resistant and the toes and heel counters are extra reinforced for added safety. The footbed is also fully replaceable, which is always a great feature to have if you plan on owning these shoes for the long-haul.
How can you sell a protective motorcycle boot for less than what I pay for my gym sneakers? I have no idea, but Tour Master managed to figure it out with their Solution WP air boot. When riding long distances, you never know what kind of environments or weather you might encounter. But these boots are designed to keep you covered—no matter the temperature or humidity.
This boot takes the successful Solution 2.0 boot and graces it with a waterproof air membrane to keep you dry, plus mesh paneling to keep you cool. The Molded nylon shin and ankle guards will keep you safe, while reflective paneling offers you high visibility in the evenings. Due to the low price point, it’s no wonder these are one of the most popular touring boot options available on Revzilla.
If you’re into sport riding, you may find the Alpinestars SMX-1R to be some of the best-looking boots on this list. They provide a great option for sport riders that aren’t willing to sacrifice the multi-functionality that come with a lower cut boot, as most sport boots offer full shin coverage. The lightweight microfiber upper is bulked up with TPU protectors, and the heel and toe areas are capped with soft TPR inserts for an equal balance of comfort and safety.
Due to Alpinestar’s decision to go with a microfiber construction rather than traditional leather, these boots are perfect for hot summer days and are CE certified to Cat 2 CE certification—so you know they will protect you despite having a low overall mass.
Here are some cafe-racer-style boots for your cafe-racer-style motorcycle. These classy and high-quality boots feature a full-grain leather construction married to a (highly breathable) waterproof lining and an anti-slip/oil-resistant rubber sole.
The Stylmartin Rocket boots aren’t just for looks either; they have internal malleolus PE protection on both sides of the boot, and the toes are double-reinforced to prevent wear from your shifter.
If you’re a vintage riding enthusiast are willing to put looks before safety features, these are always a great selection.
Klim is one of the most well-known names in adventure gear, with good reason. Their products are durable and meant to take a pounding, yet they’re also comfortable.
The Klim Outlander GTX is their newest boot, and it lands in a very interesting part of the spectrum. While not a full height adventure boot, it’s also not a short boot. It balances between the two, having an over-ankle height that fully surrounds the ankle joint with protection, including XRD impact-protection on the ankle bone.
The ankle itself, along with the toes, are both surrounded by XRD impact protection and reinforced with TPU armor, just to be on the safe side. Genuine cowhide leather is combined with a GoreTex liner to provide durability, abrasion resistance, and waterproofing. It also features an adjustable lacing dial that lets you quite literally dial in the perfect fit.
A polycarbonate resting board keeps spiked pegs from poking your feet but is also comfortable on road pegs. An aggressive traction pattern on the sole also ensures that even if you ride in the rain, you’ll have grip available when stopped at lights or a stop sign.
All in all, what Klim has done here is combine the best footwear features that the adventure biking world has to offer in an attractive, street-friendly boot.
While investing in high-quality gear is important, we also realize that some of our readers might be pinching a few pennies, trying to get something that is affordable but also good. Street & Steel has identified that need, and they’ve made the Oakland cruiser boot specifically for those riders.
Full leather construction with double and triple stitching. Reinforced toe caps, toe boxes, heel cups, and ankle bone protection. Lugged soles for superior grip in all situations. Flat lacing with speed lacing eyelets. And a moisture-wicking, waterproof Hipora membrane lining that lets the heat and moisture out, but doesn’t let any in. How does all that sound?
It would be wrong to call these boots “cheap.” It is far more appropriate to name them as less-expensive versions of a lot of boots that are double or triple the price. They also blend across lines, suitable for use by standard riders as well as cruiser riders.
To finish off this list, I’d like to add one final track/race/sport boot option into the mix with the Alpinestars SMX-6 Vented riding boot. Truth be told, it was difficult not to saturate this entire list with Alpinestars boots, due to their utter domination in the beginner and low-cost riding boot markets.
The SMX 6 V2 is a fully protective boot focused on balancing mobility and safety. These boots feature Alpinestars’ own TPU lateral ankle brace protection for impact resistance and high modulus TPU injected areas around the shins, calves, heel counters, shift pad, and toe sliders for 360 degrees of armored coverage—making these some of the safest boots on the list by far.
They’re lightweight, they’re sturdy, and some reviewers even claim to have owned pairs for 6 years without any issues. The break-in time is short, and they ‘fit like a slipper’. These take the cake for my #1 sport riding boot.