I can remember when the only people who wore adventure boots were London motorcycle couriers, bashing their way through gridlocked city streets.
There never used to be a lot of choice. Off-road adventurers would either wear motocross boots, which are chunky and inflexible or they’d wear touring boots like Altbergs but now there’s a huge amount of choice, when putting together this review we counted 82 different models of adventure boot. Some might argue there’s too much choice!
Adventure boots now come in all shapes and sizes but the core features that we think any adventure rider should look for are: waterproof (or at least, seriously water resistant), tough and durable and finally comfortable.
It’s all too easy to make an adventure boot that’s so rigid it’s uncomfortable and offers next to no feel. Similarly, you’re likely to give your boots a bit of a pasting so you want something that will stand up to multiple bumps and knocks.
Most adventure boots are waterproof but if you submerge them in water, even the waterproof ones are bound to leak and if you ride all day in the pissing rain, you’re probably going to get wet feet too. So if you’re touring, it pays to pack a set of waterproof trousers to give your boots the best chance of keeping your feet dry.
When it comes to buying, the usual mantra of buying the best you can applies to boots as it does any product. Always look for the certification tabs. The main one you’re looking for is EN 13634:2010.
All adventure motorcycle boots feel rigid at first, especially if you’re used to sports boots. They will give in over time. Do your homework before purchasing and always try them on first if you can.
The type of riding you'll be doing
If 99% of your riding is going to be on the road, you don't want an ultra-protective rigid boot as it'll make you walk like a robot and you'll hate wearing them on the bike.
Comfort over protection?
Do you want your super-tough boots biting into your calves for hours on end? Be honest with yourself and if you're mainly road riding, an adventure-style shorter boot or a touring boot might be a better option.
CE Approval for Adventure Motorcycle Boots
When you’re buying a pair of motorcycle boots, always look for the CE certification label. This means the boots have passed a set of stringent tests that prove it’s cut-out for the job and will offer good protection in the event of a crash.
Any motorcycle boots or shoes need to be tested to the CE Standard if they’re to be sold in the UK (or Europe).
This standard is now EN13634:2017. The following factors are tested in order for a standard to be granted: Height, Abrasion and Cut Resistance and Transverse Rigidity (what happens when it’s squashed).
Each area is given a Level 1 or Level 2 grade. As you can see in the image above, this is shown on the CE label. The three number twos denote the boot reached the highest score. A short boot can only score a 1 in the height test but it can score 2 in the other tests.
The label may also show other features that the boot offers, including:
- WR – Water resistance
- FO – soles resistance to fuel or oil
- IPA – Ankle impact protection
- IPS – Shin impact protection
- SRC – Anti-slip sole
It’s worth looking for this label in the boots you’re interested in, to get a better understanding of it’s level of protection and properties.
Our review criteria
We’ve set strict criteria for this adventure boots buying guide because with 100s of pairs of boots on the market, we can afford to be picky.
- Every set of boots has to use ratchet clasps to secure them in place. Some ‘adventure style’ boots don’t have these.
- They have to be full length. Short or mid-length adventure style boots won’t offer the protection you need.
- Bonus points if they’re CE Certified
- Bonus points if they’re waterproof
There are a lot of adventure boots on our longlist but we boiled this down to 5 great boots for our shortlist.
As you have seen from our criteria above, all the boots in this review have met a very high bar.
From under £100 to £400
Why pay almost £400 for a set of boots when you could get a pair for under £100?
That’s a good question and one we aim to answer in this guide. Brand plays a small part in the price differences, of course, it does but the most expensive boots aren’t just down to brand snobbery – they often pack in more features, use higher quality materials, tougher retaining straps and they should take more abuse.
Although the price has been a factor in our considerations, we’ve recommended the boots that we think are the best available right now – we haven’t just gone for the most expensive.
Sets the standard for adventure boots
Blending the best of an MX boot, a touring boot and a racing boot, the Adventure 2s offer great protection and all-day comfort. Featuring a tough non-slip rubber sole, TPU plastic heel and shin protection and ankle torsion control. The Gore-Tex and leather combination offer complete waterproofing with breathability. They take some breaking in but they’re built to last.
Italian upstart is superb value for money
Founded in 1999, Forma is a relative newcomer but they have an impressive range of boots with a focus on off-road. These simply-named Adventure boots use Drytex and are waterproof – as testified by owners. They look great and feature full-grain oiled leather, a non-slip insole with supportive steel shank, a removable anti-bacterial insole and tough securing clasps. The only gripe is with the sizing – go for a size larger than your usual.
The best cheap adventure boots
The cheapest adventure motorcycle boots we could find were these Agrius Crater Waterproof boots on Amazon. At under £90, on the face of it, they don’t look too bad. They get decent reviews with some owners saying they’re comfortable and warm.
That old adage of buy cheap buy twice comes into play when we’re talking about Adventure boots as they’re pretty complex things to put together.
If cash is tight and you’re on a budget, then check out the RST Adventure X boots or if you want a slightly more traditional-looking adventure boot and you want to keep below 100 sheets, then check out the Richa Adventure waterproof boots which look fab for the money, costing under £100.
It’s worth spending a touch more to get a boot that will last a few years not a few months.
Anatomy Of A Quality Adventure Motorcycle Boot
It's a good idea to try on different sets of motorcycle boots from different manufacturers to get an idea of how they feel and what you like about each boot you try on.
If you're looking for the best adventure boots, these are the features that we think you should be looking out for.
- Retention system: Sturdy buckles and clasps are a must. These will wear over time, so check to see that replacements are available.
- Waterproofing: Most adventure boots will claim to be waterproof. Some will feature membranes like Gore-Tex, Drystar or Drytex, which will keep water out but allow air-flow, ensuring your feet don't boil over.
- Flexible sole: Adventure boots are more rigid than touring or sports boots but you still need a good amount of feel, especially when riding off-road.
- Ankle protection: Dropping a 1290 Adventure's engine bar on your ankle will hurt. This is where an adventure boot trumps a touring boot as it should have a stiffer shell and more ankle protection. If it flexes left to right, it might not offer the protection you need.
You might be tempted by MX boots but they're built to take multiple hard impacts and are very uncomfortable on a road bike.
While most adventure boots are waterproof, it pays to use waterproof over trousers to keep the rain off them if you want to keep your feet dry in heavy rain.
You'll need to wear your boots for a few weeks to properly break them in. Compared to normal motorcycle boots, Adventure boots are much more rigid, with far thicker soles. So don't be surprised if they feel clunky to start with. They will give.
Adventure boots are much more rigid than touring or sports boots so they will feel stiff but they shouldn't feel uncomfortable from the get-go. If they are, try a different brand or size.
Just because you ride an adventure motorcycle, doesn't mean you can't wear other boots. Sports or touring boots are far more comfortable and offer more feel. Your local club of GS riders won't disown you...
Our shortlist: The best adventure motorcycle boots
With over 80 different pairs of adventure boots on the market, there’s a lot of choices. We whittled our list down to 15 different pairs by picking the best boot from each manufacturer. Below is our shortlist of 5 top adventure boots for you to choose from.
Alpinestars Corozal Boots – For us, this is the best-looking boot and it only narrowly missed out on being our recommended pick. In the real world, we reckon this is the best boot for most adventure riders as it’s adventure capable but with a nod to long days in the saddle. CE certified and featuring the best of Alpinestars’ tech know-how, it’s a superb boot for all but the most hardcore off-roaders. From £269.99.
Richa Adventure Boots – A classic-looking adventure boot with twin buckle fasteners, waterproofing, ankle padding and a chunky sole. It’s not the boot for you if you’re spending days off-road but if you’re a commuter or weekend adventurer, it’s a great budget choice. From £99.99.
Sidi Adventure 2 Boots – Blending the best of an MX boot, a touring boot and a racing boot, the Adventure 2s offer great protection and all-day comfort. Featuring a tough non-slip rubber sole, TPU plastic heel and shin protection and ankle torsion control. The Gore-Tex and leather combination offer complete waterproofing with breathability. They take some breaking in but they’re built to last. Our pick. From £325.
Forma Adventure – Founded in 1999, Forma is a relative newcomer but they have an impressive range of boots with a focus on off-road. These simply-named Adventure boots use Drytex and are waterproof – as testified by owners. They look great and feature full-grain oiled leather, a non-slip insole with supportive steel shank, a removable anti-bacterial insole and tough securing clasps. The only gripe is with the sizing – go for a size larger than your usual. Our runner-up. From £200.
TCX Baja Waterproof Adventure boots – Similar to the Alpinestars Corozal in that they’re a touring-focused adventure boot. Full grain leather with an aged look. Waterproof outer with quality aluminium retaining buckles, tough PU inserts to offer more protection. Also available in a Gore-Tex model. From £259.99
Motorcycle boots FAQs
What boots did Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman wear in Long Way Down?
They both wore lots of different pairs of boots on their trips but Ewan was pictured Wearing Alpinestars Tech 7s while Charley was wearing Oxtar TCX Pro boots. Both now discontinued.
Can I wear adventure boots for commuting?
Only if you promise to stop by The Bike Shed for a well-earned latte.
Thanks to the following websites which helped us research and write this review of the best adventure motorcycle boots:
Rocky Mountain Rider Exchange: https://www.rockymountainatvmc.com/rm-rider-exchange/6-things-to-consider-before-buying-a-motorcycle-boot/