There’s a huge variety of motorcycle boots on the market these days, covering every type of two-wheel activity from urban scooter commuting to on/off-road dual-sport adventure. Even so, choosing the ideal footwear for the kind of riding you do can be a tricky task. We gather a selection from right across the board to help steer you in the right direction and provide some helpful advice on what to look for, along with links to specific MCN buyer’s guides featuring expert reviews and in-depth analysis.
As with all kits designed to offer protection, motorcycle boots are subject to CE approval and undergo a series of tests in order to be certified. The three main tests are for abrasion resistance, impact cut and transverse rigidity, where a boot can score either Level 1 for a basic pass, or if they exceed that, Level 2. These results will be printed on the label in that order, along with a pictogram of a bike and rider to show that the item is intended for use on a motorcycle.
Abrasion resistance – The ability of a boot to survive during a slide
Impact cut – how well the construction holds up to penetration by a sharp object
Transverse rigidity – the structural strength when subjected to a sideways crushing force
There are currently two CE standards for boots, EN 13634:2015 and EN 13634:2017. The main difference between the two is that the more recent includes a separate provision for boot height. Any boot certified to EN 13634:2017 will show four scores on the label, with the first being either 1 (for short boots) or 2 (full height).
Manufacturers can also request that their boots are subjected to additional tests in order to receive further accreditation. If a pass is achieved, the relevant marking codes from the following list will appear on the label.
IPA – ankle impact protection
IPS – shin impact protection
WR – resistance to water penetration
FO – resistance to fuel oil
WAD – water absorption/desorption of the insole/sock
B – upper permeability to water vapour (breathability)
SRA, SRB or SRC – slip resistance
Keeping your feet cool can be paramount to comfort on a hot day. There are two methods of encouraging airflow around a boot enshrouded foot, either by engineered intake and outlet ports or perforated panels. Both are effective, even more so when combined.
There’s nothing worse than wet feet, so if you’re likely to ride in the rain a lot, waterproof boots are a must. Thanks to technologically advanced membranes such as Gore-Tex, Hipora, Drystar and the like, waterproofing and breathability are not mutually exclusive, so it is possible to have the best of both worlds.
Zips, clips, laces or Velcro? Most boots feature a combination of closure methods, so choose which has the best balance of convenience and security to suit your needs.
Gear change pad
If you’re riding a manual bike, reinforcement on the top of the boot for upchanges is essential – without it you’re guaranteed to get a sore toe. Some of the urban styles may not feature one as they’re more suited to scootering, so bear this in mind before you buy.
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