We all love riding motorcycles in summer; long days, bright sunshine and (hopefully) no need for cumbersome all-weather, year-round clothing. This might keep us warm in winter but in summer, thick clothing can ruin the feel for the bike and as a result, the overall experience and of course, gently cook you as you ride.
This is true of all elements of clothing, including boots. Footwear designed to keep you warm and dry in the winter could mean your feet quickly get hot and sweaty, even with breathable membranes. What you need are lightweight or vented boots to help you stay cool while connected to the bike.
There will generally be two kinds of footwear here; vented sporty-style boots with high legs, lots of bracing and protection or short, ‘urban’ trainer-style boots that are more lightweight and breathable, thanks to the material used.
The more significant sports-style boots will generally offer greater protection and feel for the bike’s controls but at the expense of flexibility and off-the-bike walking ability.
A lot will depend on what riding you are planning; a blast across country or a trackday and you’ll want the protection to go with your leathers but on a gentle ride-out for a bacon buttie with your mates on a weekend morning, a pair of shorter boots may be just fine.
Like all other motorcycle clothing, boots are CE rated, against two standards; one from 2015 and one from 2017. The latter includes four areas and each is scored with a 1 or a 2 - 2 being the higher rating.
The first of the four indicates the height of the boot; 1 is short, 2 is tall but after that, it’s all about the protection, so when you are considering boots, look for as many 2s as you can find.
Frank Thomas Torque
These ankle-length boots from legendary manufacturer Frank Thomas look and feel like shortened full-length sports boots. They have front and rear accordion panels to allow the foot to flex while the upper is made from perforated leather to allow cooling air in. They feature reinforced heel and toe boxes as well as ankle padding on the outside with a strengthened shank in the sole to prevent twisting. CE rating: Unknown
TCX RT Race
A full-height sports boot, the RT Race is a more subtle version than others, without too much bracing but plenty of protection. The upper is formed in microfibre with the access zips on the outside of the foot and leg. Inside there's a pull-lace-fastening inner gaiter and there are areas of mesh on the outer to allow plenty of air in to cool the feet. There is armour at the shin, bracing at the rear to prevent hyperextension and reinforced heel and toe cups. They come with an orthopaedic footbed and a reinforced mid-sole to prevent twisting. CE Rating: 2-2-2-2
These short urban-style boots are made by Momo, famous to anyone who has ever been into car motorsport or modifying. They are made from an 'engineered' breathable fabric so they're man-made and a waterproof membrane means they will keep you dry if it rains. Having said that, they are lightweight and short enough to keep your feet cool in warmer weather. The sole is strengthened to prevent crush injuries and the edge wraps over the top as a shift pad. CE rating: 1-1-1-1
Alpinestars SMX-6 V2 Boots
These full-length boots from Alpinestars are formed with microfibre uppers and a breathable textile lining to ensure maximum comfort for your feet. There are accordion panels front and rear to allow the foot to flex and the access zip is on the inside of the leg, covered in a Velcro-retained flap. There is TPU armour on the shin as well as ankle protection panels and a toe slider at the front with reinforced heel cups. There are small vents at the heel for cooling air and there are also mesh panels at the top of the legs. A compound rubber sole ensures grip in all conditions. CE rating: 2-2-2-2
Oxford Kickback Air
Due later on this season, Oxford's short urban boots are formed in leather for abrasion resistance but perforated to allow as much air as possible in to cool the feet on warm rides. The tongue and the ankle edging are both padded and the heel itself is reinforced for protection. The mid-sole is reinforced to prevent twisting in an accident and the sole itself is also reinforced to provide strength and prevent crush injuries. CE rating: 1-1-1-1
Vanucci RV6 Performance Air
A relatively new brand to the UK, Vanucci has produced a compelling prospect with the RV6 Performer air. A vented sports boot (a waterproof version is also available), the upper is formed in perforated microfibre with a breathable polyester lining. There are accordion panels in front of the ankle and at the back, the former also perforated while there is a large TPU armour panel on the shin and around the heel cup, extending up to the ankle bone. The top features a quick-release strap for optimum fit and there are replaceable toe sliders. CE rating: 2-2-1-1
Spada Strider Ladies'
Available in both ladies' and men's sizes, these urban boots are formed in leather and nubuck and feature a Hipora membrane to allow the foot to breathe as well as remaining cool thanks to the low-cut design while keeping the weather out. They feature plastic protective panels over the ankle bones as well as in other locations and have reinforced toe and heel cups. They fasten with good-old laces but the tongue is a storm flap to prevent water getting in. CE rating: 1-2-2-2
RST Tractech Evo3
At less than £120, the Tractech Evo3 is amazing value and it's not surprising it's one of Sportsbikeshop's best-selling boots. The upper is formed in microfibre with perforated leather panels to allow air in to keep the feet cool. The full-length access zip is on the inside while the shin features TPU armour and the heel cup is also formed in plastic. There is a hinged ankle support that works alongside the two accordion panels to let the foot move but prevent twisting injuries and the shank is also strengthened to prevent twisting. CE rating: 2-2-2-1
These short boots are formed in perforated leather for airflow to the feet with an air mesh lining to maximise the cooling effect. There is TPU protection to the ankle and reinforced heel and toe cups while the sole is impact-absorbing and has a dual-flex insert. There is padding on the tongue and around the ankle and they achieve the higher of the two safety ratings in all areas, the 1 indicates they are a short design. Impressive. CE rating: 1-2-2-2
Sidi Performer Air
Choice is the name of the game with the Sidi Performer, as they are available in this perforated version as well as solid leather, with a Gore-tex membrane and in a ladies' fit. This version (the Air) is made in perforated microfibre and there are air vents at the back to allow hot air out. There is a large TPU panel on the shin and around the reinforced heel cup and there is external and internal protection to the ankle on both sides. The zip cover panel is elasticated to ensure a snug fit against the calf. CE rating: 2-2-2-2
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