For a sporty ride, you need sporty kit, and a pair of protective and comfortable boots with excellent feel for the bike’s controls is essential. However, inevitably — in the UK at least — even a summer sporty ride can suffer from sudden downpours and so, a pair of waterproof boots will mean that an onslaught of rain won’t ruin your ride.
What to look for
There are several things to look for when you’re considering sporty boots; first and foremost is protection. Look for strong heel and toe boxes to protect each end of the foot and ankle bracing to allow the foot to move forward and backwards on the gears and brake pedals, but not rotate or twist in the event of an accident.
You should also be looking for ankle and metatarsal padding to prevent injury to the bones in an impact, and some protection on the shin for the same reason. There should be articulation in the front and the back to allow the foot to move without causing the top of the boot to gape, and the sole should be thin enough to give good feel.
If you’re on a really sporty ride, like on a track day, then you might want to look for a pair of boots that is fitted with toe sliders to prevent wear if you’re cornering really hard.
When it comes to waterproofing, a membrane such as Gore-Tex will help keep water out but allow the foot to breathe so you don’t get too hot or sweaty on a fast ride.
Motorcycle boots should also be rated under CE regulations for Personal Protective Equipment. This can either be to a 2015 standard (three digits) or 2017 standard (4 digits) and these will either be a ‘1’ or a ‘2’. Ideally, look for as many ‘2’s as you can. There may also be other designations, such as WR (water resistant) or WAD for water displacement from inside.
RST Paragon 2 CE
RST bills the Paragon 2s as touring boots but they have more than a hint of sportiness to them. With a microfibre upper and a Hipora waterproof and breathable membrane, they should keep water out while heel vents help to keep the feet cool in hot weather. There's TPU padding to the shin and the ankle as well as sturdy heel and toe boxes and plenty of bracing without affecting feel nor comfort. Seal of Approval: We've tested this product and have found it performs well - read our in-depth review here.
Dainese Sport Master GTX
The new Sport Master from Dainese includes Dainese's Axial Distortion Control System that allows forward and backward motion but not torsional movement, to prevent sprains. The Sport Master GTX is built with a Gore-Tex membrane, which means it is wind and waterproof but allows the foot to breath. It is designed to sit inside trousers unlike traditional sports boots that would have leathers tucked in, to prevent water entering through the top.
RST Tractech Evo 3 CE
A waterproof version of RST's TracTech sports boot, the Evo3 WP is formed in microfibre with RST's SinAqua membrane for waterproofing and breathability. It features moulded TPU shin protection and heel box with hinged ankle bracing and concertinaed sections front and rear for movement. The sole strengthens the boot overall and prevents hyper extension of the ankle and there are replaceable toe sliders for those who corner hard.
Alpinestars SMX-6 V2 Drystar
Early versions of this boot came with toe-sliders though later versions don't. Available with both a Gore-Tex and Alpinestars' own DryStar membrane, I've tried both and found the Drystar to be almost identical to the Gore-Tex versions but for at least £20 cheaper. They are comfortable and protective, with TPU shin armour and hefty heel and toe boxes and there's also external ankle bracing with internal padding. A very good all-round boot. Seal of Approval: We've tested this product and would spend our own money on it - read our in-depth review here.
Dainese Nexus 2 D-WP
The Nexus 2 is the second generation of the waterproof sports boot designed for trousers, such as racing leathers, to be tucked in to the top, so it has a wider opening than say the Sport Master. The foot enters from the rear, which can be easier than from the side and it features Dainese's Axial Distortion control system to allow the ankle to move forwards and backward but not to the side or rotate. It uses the company's D-WP waterproof, breathable membrane and replaceable sliders in plastic or steel.
Sidi Performer Gore-Tex
The Sidi is a very tall boot, meaning it may not suit riders with large calf muscles, for example, as the top may not open or close perfectly. That said, it's a sturdy boot in microfibre with a Gore-Tex membrane for waterproofing and breathability. It features plenty of external padding on the ankle, the metatarsal (the outside of the foot) and the heel, with a strong toe box as well. No external bracing makes it easy to use and move the foot around.
Spada Curve Evo
The Curve Evo from British company Spada is a chunky looking sports boot with a microtech outer shell and a Hipora waterproof and breathable membrane to keep the weather out. It has moulded TPU protection to the shin, calf and heel and a TPU shift pad on top of each boot. It has a dual-flex sole with a toe stiffener and according to the manufacturer, is vegan friendly, so uses no animal products in it.
TCX ST Fighter Gore
The TCX has a serious look and feel about it, with TPU armour on the shin and the heel and what appears to be a significant ankle bracing system, TCX's Torsion Control System, to prevent the ankle rotating in an accident. The upper is formed in microfibre with a Gore-Tex membrane but the boot only has small accordion panels front and back, which can make it stiff to begin with and it takes a little while to break in. Comfortable though.
Richa Drift Evo
These are a bargain. It's a basic boot so is lacking the external bracing of more expensive footwear, for example, but features a leather construction with plenty of TPU reinforcement on the outside, including the ankle, heel and shin. It has a Hipora membrane to keep wind and rain out and allow the foot to breath and it also has replaceable plastic toe sliders and vents to help keep cool. Richas usually come up small, so best to go a size larger than normal with these.