There’s no single pair of boots that is right for every rider.
Motorcycle boots vary depending on the type of riding, daily riding mileage, types of roads or trails, type of motorcycle, weather conditions and seasons, off-motorcycle walking.
After understanding the anatomy of the riding boots, understanding of different types of riding boots is the next important factor to choose most suitable boots for maximum comfort and protection.
Riding boots according to pattern
Short boots (Riding shoes)
Shorty boots are 10” or shorter. Most “shorty” is 6-8” tall. They can be worn comfortably on a daily basis. Most of short boots have laces, while the other half receive zip or buckle closure.
Short length leaves upper-leg unprotected. Some of these boots have reinforced toe boxes, steel shank soles, armor, and abrasion resistant outer materials.
These boots are for those riders who want a casual look without compromising comfort and protection features that motorcycle boots offer. There are waterproof options available as well in the premium category of these boots.
These boots rise to the middle of the shin. The boots are very comfortable, easy to get in and out of and offer significant protection without the bulk of a full height boot.
This category consists of motocross boots, dual-sport boots, and touring boots.
Tall boots (“Police patrol boots”)
These boots are 14-20” tall. Tall boots are ideal for added protection or for riding in cold weather because of their extra length which covers the majority of the leg. It will feature a substantial armor (foam or more likely molded plastic) which will cover the front part of the shin. The height makes them nearly impossible to come off during a crash. But these boots are the hardest to get in and out of. They come in two designs, one with laces all the way up and another that uses no laces at all.
Riding boots according to the weather
Waterproof motorcycle boots
A real “waterproof” boot should have a membrane, up to at least mid-height of the shaft so there isn’t a gap between a trouser and boot membrane for the water to get in. The zipper closure system should have a sealed folding on the backside to prevent water ingress. If water can leak down into boots due to inappropriate riding gear, this defeats the purpose of having waterproof boots. Therefore appropriate riding gear is essential.
Another cheap option for to consider are rain-covers. These are lightweight, foldable, nylon-like boot covers that you wear over your existing boots.
The leather construction of vented boots features perforation that allows more airflow through the boots to keep rider’s feet cool and ‘breathable’.
There are some boots while being waterproof with Gore-Tex or Sympatex inner lining, they also offer minimal venting on vamp. Most of these boots are quite expensive due to membrane built within. These boots are perfect for all-weather use (four-season boots).
Riding boots according to ride
The extreme nature of motorcycle racing involves greater risks for the riders. Therefore, these boots must be extremely durable and highly armored to provide excellent protection for the rider. Use of race boots on the street road might be uncomfortable. Additionally, these boots are not made to walk around for long periods because of their stiffness.
Race boots are constructed with a combination of heavy leather, plastics, metal and other composite materials so that they are very firm with very limited flexibility. Contoured heel, shin and ankle protection, built-in shift pads, superior abrasion resistance are essential features of race boots. They have replaceable toe sliders, protruded heel sliders to take the abuse of deep cornering. The soles are very flat and smooth to aid in quick movements on the foot pegs.
Off-road riders ride fast and hard, subjecting their lower limbs to the elements and the varied terrain. The changing terrain in off-road riding requires the extremely stiff, durable and form fitted boots. Motocross boots come into contact with the motorcycle, objects, and the ground, often because of the off-road riding pattern.
These boots are constructed with heavy leather, plastics, metal and other composite materials. They’re about knee-high. The added height and leather panels on the inner side aid in heat protection and allow the riders to grip the motorcycle fuel tank with their legs. Composite or plastic plates protect shins from rocks and other debris launched by motorcycle’s front wheel and other obstacles along the trail. These boots open lengthwise with a series of straps and buckles to fine tune the fitment and to ensure the opening will remain closed during vigorous movements. Motocross boots have a metal plate insole to protect from rocks and rugged trails. An incorporated shift pad prevents excess wear on the top of the boot due to the aggressive shifting. The boots’ overall stiffness, stiff insole and forward-angled uppers (pre-curved) that favor the motocross riding position make them uncomfortable for walking off the motorcycle.
Touring boots are made for long wear with the main focus on comfort, ergonomics, protection and weatherproof abilities. These are made from combinations of leather, metal, rubber, plastics and high-tech waterproof fabrics. These boots are 10-14” high; These boots not only protect the feet, ankles, and legs from crash impacts but also provide protection from the elements and hazards of the road and making ride farther and longer. Ankle flex zones and pliable soles in these boots make walking easier.
They have removable cushioned footbeds, waterproof breathable liners, toe, ankle, heel, and shin molded protectors, shifter pad to provide comfort as well as ample protection around the high impact areas. They have a side-entry opening from the boot top to below the ankle, which makes them easy to pull on or off and to secure. A Velcro-fixed leather flap protects the zipper and keeps the water out.
Sport touring boots
Sport touring boots are very similar to race boots in design and construction. But they are not as heavily armored as race boots. So that they are less stiff with the provision of more flexibility. The leather is the predominant construction material for sport touring boots with plastics and metal added supplementary. These boots can be worn for long rides as well as for enough distance of walking. Many sport touring boots are waterproof and breathable for varied riding conditions.
Adventure/dual-sports boots are a mixture of the best parts of motocross boots and sports-touring boots. Some of these boots lean more towards the motocross styling, while others lean towards touring boots. These boots are less stiff than motocross boots making them better for walking.
These boots are 10-14” high. Leather predominant construction, molded protectors for toe, ankle, heel and shin, shift pad, additional leather panels on the inner side of shafts – are some common features for adventure boots. These boots have heavy-duty buckle systems or straps, thick soles for better walking on dirt and rocky surface and some sort of waterproofing. Weather protection and waterproofing with use of Gore-tex lining and/or thermal lining is a primary focus in adventure boots.
Feet and ankles are very fragile. It only makes sense to support and protect them from the dangers that await them while riding a motorcycle.