Best urban motorcycle boots

If you’re looking for a comfortable and relaxed look in the city, these urban motorcycle boots are right up your street.

Fantic Caballero 500 on cobbled street

by Jim Blackstock |

We all know that the strongest motorcycle clothing is the most protective. We know that a set of racing-style leathers offers the best combination of abrasion resistance when we slide and impact protection when we hit the ground. Pair a set of leathers with an airbag vest, for example and you are protected pretty much the best you can be on a motorcycle – that’s why racers use this system.

However, there are times when we want a more relaxed a casual look and feel. We want to wear a pair of jeans, for example and a more informal and less ‘bikey’ jacket, as we’re heading out to meet some friends, spending some time off the bike or just want a less full-on ride. And the same goes for boots…

Of course, a set of sporty boots with bracing and external armour will give our feet the best protection in the event of a high-speed tumble but for an urban ride or commuting, a lighter, more subtle boot might be what we’re looking for. Still protective, still either waterproof or vented for cooling airflow and still far, far better than a pair of trainers, these shorter, more casual boots will keep your feet dry and protected when you head off on your journey.

Related: Top sporty motorcycle gloves

Like other footwear, if you want an idea of their protective ability, look for their CE rating and in particular, as many ‘2’s as possible; boots are rated in three or four key areas (depending on which standard they are rated to – there are two, one 2015 and one 2017) but the more ‘2’s, the better.

These short boots from Alpinestars have a definite 'trainer' look to them but a motorcycle-boot

Alpinestars CR-X Drystar Boots

Being grumpy and obstinate means that I have a natural leaning towards traditional clobber. With

TCX Dartwood GTX

Er, I would. My son Ed started riding just over a year ago and being an imagine conscious teenager wanted kit that he could swan around college in without anyone spotting it was bike gear. When he ordered some lace-up TCX fashion booties I grumbled about how his socks would get wet, there wouldn’t be proper protection and they’d fall apart. Then they arrived and disproved everything I thought I knew. Quality and protection were high, they shrugged off winter weather, and though he’s literally worn them every day (even when not using his bike) they’ve been faultless.

And so I’ve got myself something similar. These are TCX’s Dartwood Gore-Tex, which obviously means a fancy membrane that beats the weather and allows breathability. Proper CE-approved protection includes full-grain leather, a shank in the sole to give torsional rigidity, and clever D30 armour – this has ‘free flow’ molecules that look together to absorb impacts but otherwise are soft and flexible, meaning comfort on and off the bike. You get posh-sounding insoles, lining and ‘Groundtrax’ soles too. I like the subtle reinforced areas for the gearshift and brake pedal, too.

Stiff when new, the Dartwood have broken in a treat and have become my go-to riding treads. This is partly because they look cool with riding jeans and a leather jacket (as if I know what ‘cool’ looks like), and partly because they feel like I can genuine trust them should I run out of riding talent. But the main reason is that the laces, side zips and short rise make them a doddle to sling on and off, and they’re comfortable to wear all day – so there’s no need to clamber out of riding gear when you reach the office, and you don’t feel conspicuous paddling around the beer garden.

Two-hundred quid isn’t peanuts, of course. But don’t forget that value and cheap are not the same thing.

I’m a big fan of urban motorbike boots like these from Forma. They’re ideal for bumbling around on

Forma Hyper Dry Boots New

Worn with a pair of riding jeans, it would take a very keen eye to spot that these weren’t a normal pair of high-tops and they feel comfy and airy, too. In terms of safety, they score a CE rating of 1, which is about all you can expect from casual style boots. In fact, some far more expensive boots aren’t CE rated at all. There are subtle reinforcements in all the right places that are reassuring without being obtrusive.

Would I want to have a heavy accident in them? No, but I also don’t feel particularly exposed or vulnerable in them. The waterproofing works well but once they’re wet they get cold very quickly so this is more of a convenience in quick showers – I wouldn’t plan to use them on wet days. They’ve also started to mark on the left toe as there’s no pad – which is annoying.

Unique looks, design and great spec, the Ikasu have made an impression on me. They’re without

TCX Ikasu Lady WP Boots
TCX Ikasu Lady WP Boots with the MCN Rated logo
©Photo: MCN

Meanwhile, down below, the chunky Groundtrax outsole gives great grip, stability and vibration reduction. The overall effect is one of close-fitting, cocooning security without compromising comfort. I’ve worn them for 12-hour days, in some stinking hot temperatures, and not once felt irked by them. There’s a T-Dry waterproof membrane to provide rain resistance which I’ve not yet tried out, but from the looks of it unless you’re wearing trousers that completely cover the ankle area, water will find a way in at the top of the boot.

These are a youthful looking pair of trainer style riding boots that I’ve been wearing from spring

Spirit Motors Ladies Mary Taillight Boots

They are lace up with sixteen eyelets and tough laces, which haven’t started to show any signs of wear. The tongue is extended, which ensures, once they are done up, there’s no rubbing or chaffing from the laces plus to make it easier to pull them on, there’s a little loop at the back, which is attached to a reflective panel. The rubber sole is non slip and, for extra comfort, the footbed is shaped.

They have a small element of protection with inserts at the ankle. One thing they are missing is a gear change pad, when clicking up the box on my Honda NT1100, my left foot ends up quite sore, as there’s no protection.
These are a great addition to my riding wardrobe and are ideal for riding through the summer but I’ll need to switch back to my more traditional riding boots once the weather turns.

These retro-style boots from TCX are all-day comfortable, both on and off the bike. There’s a

TCX Blend GTX boots

Unlike most race boots, and many all-season offerings, the Blend 2 is made from leather and the slightly distressed charcoal finish really plays into the whole vintage look. Better still, they come with a breathable Goretex liner that prevents water ingress right up to the second from top eyelets.

So far I’ve worn them in conditions varying from a lowly 5°C to a positively tropical 30°C and they’ve kept my feet warm when needed yet allowed them to breathe in warmer conditions.

Grippy soles make light work of greasy petrol station forecourts and all manners of footrests, but I’ve found the gear change pad – a lightly ridged area covering the big toe – doesn’t go far back enough and the top of my left boot is already starting to mark just back from the area designed to connect with the lever. Overall, however, I’m impressed.

The name Momo has been around in car motorsport for decades and these boots from the Italian

Momo Firegun-3 Boots

With a leather upper and fitted with TCX's T-Dry waterproof membrane, these old-school urban boots

TCX Street 3 WP Boots

Available in suede as shown here as well as leather, this boot from RST forms part of their Isle

RST IOM TT Crosby Boots

These ankle-height boots from Oxford are built with perforated leather to make sure the rider's

Oxford Kickback Air Boots

Available in black, grey or this classic camel brown, these ankle boots from Falco pack a serious

Falco Tensho Boots

These ankle boots from Spada are available in black or Java (brown) and also in a smaller ladies'

Spada Strider Boots

These stylish boots from Dainese are available in a perforated and cooler 'Air' version as shown

Dainese York Boots

Inspired by fashion but with protection built-in, these boots are designed to come up just above

Gaerne G-Voyager Boots

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