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Buying Motorcycle Boots - A Beginners Guide
James B · March 31, 2021
Motorcycle Boots are without doubt an essential item when riding motorcycles. In fact, when you book your motorcycle lessons you will be told by the instructor to wear strong boots that cover your ankle. You’ve invested time and money into your training, so it makes sense to budget for good quality protective motorcycle boots in your riding wardrobe to ensure the best riding experience.
But which to choose? Well, we’re here to guide you through the myriad of options and what to look for to find your perfect boot on the RideTo Store. Your feet are very fragile and difficult to repair. Boots therefore obviously need to be protective, and some offer more than others.
There are several features that you should expect in a good motorcycle boot. Toe and heel protection is critical, as is some form of ankle armour. A shank in the sole helps to stop twisting and minimise crush injuries and of course, you should consider its weatherproof qualities.
Motorcycle Boots Safety Ratings
So safety is a good place to start your journey. Motorcycle Boots are tested and given a CE rating (EN13634:2017) much like other items of clothing. In the case of boots, it’s broken down into Level 1 and Level 2 (highest).
There is a rigorous number of tests covering many aspects of the boot’s construction;
Styles of Motorcycle Boot
The style of boot you choose depends as much on the type of riding you do, as your own personal preference. Ankle boots are great for trips around town and summer riding. Taller boots work well for touring, commuting and off-road adventures as they offer more protection and warmth for the lower leg.
Some boots are purely functional and are designed to do the intended job without any frills. You may want to pick a more casually styled boot that works just as well off of the bike as it does on your commute into work. Some boots will offer enough protection for your ride as well as looking ‘normal’ enough that your work colleagues won’t even notice!
The English weather is notoriously unpredictable, to say the least, so a waterproof boot is a consideration that has to be factored in. Most boots will put up with the odd shower, but for riding in persistent or torrential rain then a boot with a waterproof/breathable membrane is a must. Taller boots are also advantageous in poor weather as they stand a much better chance of stopping water from creeping into the top.
Comfort is obviously another important consideration. Motocross boots for example are incredibly protective but don’t offer a good feel on the gear lever or brake pedal. They are also not easy to walk in when not riding. Conversely, a trainer style boot can offer the comfort of a traditional shoe, but it’s not going to be as protective.
You may also want to think about how the boots are fastened. Some people will never wear boots with laces because of the perceived risk that the lace could catch in the chain with disastrous consequences. Most touring and off road/adventure style boots use quick release buckles similar to ski boots. Other boots utilise zips and velcro fastenings.
So it’s about either tailoring the boot exactly to your riding, or finding a middle ground if you have varied requirements.
Leather is still the king of motorcycle boot materials. It’s very protective, easy to care for, long-lasting and being a natural product, it’s breathable. If you are spending a lot of money on boots that you want to last, look for a ‘welted’ sole as these can be replaced easily by most high street cobblers.
Artificial leather is used in some boots and can actually have some advantages. It's generally cheap, strong, durable and waterproof. However, breathability is important if you don’t want them smelling like swamp juice after a few wears. So we would recommend these if you’re only going to wear them for short periods at a time.
RideTo Staff Picks - Best Beginner Motorcycle Boots
To offer some inspiration we have picked a number of boots from the RideTo Store to suit all styles and budgets;
Casual/Urban Motorcycle Boots
Entry Level - Richa Rocky
A short suede leather boot in a basketball/skate style. Available in Black or Brown the waterproof Rocky is a boot that is as much at home around town as it is on the bike. They are CE certified and have a reinforced heel and toe box as well as a soft ankle insert. A great choice for urban rides and short commutes in decent weather.
Mid Level - TCX X-Groove
Another CE rated trainer style boot with more discreet styling than the Rocky. The X-Groove is available in black full-grain leather and features a neat medial zip for easy entry and exit. A waterproof/breathable membrane helps keep your feet dry and the boots come with a shift protector which can be removed when not riding.
Top Level - TCX Hero
A lovely pair of full grain casual leather CE rated boots with a classic design. If you don’t want people to know you’re wearing motorcycle boots these are a fantastic choice! Laces are complemented with a medial zip and a velcro tab. A combination of good protection and all-day comfort make these a very popular boot. Available in Brown.
Ladies - TCX Lady Biker
Beautiful black waterproof ankle boots with malleolus protection, heel and toe reinforcement and a medial zip closure. Classic styling with a neat adjustment buckle on the outside of the ankle completes the look. One of the Italian manufacturers best selling ladies boots.
Sports/Touring Motorcycle Boots
Entry Level - Richa Slick
A short touring boot with a slightly race inspired style. The Slick is made from a mixture of suede and full-grain leather with a Hipora® waterproof/breathable lining. The flat sole allows a good range of movement on the pegs and the reinforced toe and heel offers good protection. A very well priced pair of short boots.
Mid Level - RST Atlas
The Atlas boots offer both protection and visibility and are comfortable in all conditions. The boot is highly reflective at in the dark while appearing subtle during the day. They are made from CE Certified leather providing extra protection to the shin and heel with integrated ankle reinforcement. The boots are fully waterproof due to their Hipora® lining.
Top Level - RST Raid
These durable boots are as happy taking you across the Sahara desert, as they are negotiating the North Circular on a rainy Tuesday evening. Made from tough leather reinforced with Microtech ensures the boots remain lightweight and the waterproof membrane leaves your feet bone dry. TPU Shin armour adds extra protection making these CE Level 2 boots a wise choice.
Ladies - TCX SP-Master
A sporty offering from TCX, the waterproof SP-Master boots have a real race aesthetic. Made from microfibre with an air tech breathable liner they’re also Vegan friendly! Ankle, Shin, heel armour and toe sliders provide excellent protection and an anatomic footbed make these incredibly comfortable to ride in.
Sizing on motorcycle boots can vary slightly from brand to brand, so we have sizing charts for each boot in the store and offer a simple returns policy if you need to move up or down a size.
It's fantastic that motorcyclists have such a huge range of choice in protective boots now. So whatever style suits you, you’ll find a solution in the RideTo Store.