That’s me, high siding out of Woodcote at Silverstone during an 848 Challenge race.
I don’t know how fast I was going but as I clicked into 4th gear, the rear end stepped out so quickly and snapped back so fast that as I was flung over the handlebars I just had enough time to think “I’m not going to get this one back”.
Fortunately, I only popped my collarbone out of place but I remember the slap of my feet hitting the floor. It stung, a lot – but I walked away.
Just how impressive are modern motorcycling boots?
I carried on using those Alpinestars boots for the rest of the season, despite putting them through a handful (bootful?) of crashes.
Table of Contents
Summer Motorcycle Boots: Notes
There’s a huge range of summer motorcycle boots out there, from the eye-wateringly expensive to the ‘far more impressive than they really should be’ boots on a budget. Easy therefore for anyone to fill their boots – appalling pun intended.
And none look (or feel) cooler, allow as much freedom of movement nor provide as high a level of protection as the racing boot. Or, the summer boot, rather, if race-tracks aren’t your bag. Like any other piece of sporting/track based biking clothing, they tread a fine line between maximising the aforementioned looks, movement and protection triumvirate. Too much of one can strip away too much of the other, making fashioning them a fine balancing act.
Now, looks are subjective as always, but do check out what specifications your purse will allow, while also considering what you’ll be using them for – having a flash boot with replaceable ceramic toe-sliders, for example, may be a step too far if you just want cooler feet on long jaunts away and rarely do track days, if ever.
And we’ve yet to even mention comfort levels, important if you’re spending days wearing them. You’d likely assume a boot costing over a grand which sports an inner and outer layer, carbon-fibre/ceramic protection and sumptuous build quality would also be comfortable, right? Well, what does one always say about assumptions? Yep, that…
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 (even if, annoyingly, some still don’t state exactly which they adhere to…), the main one you’re looking for is EN 13634:2010 . Do your homework before purchasing and always try them on first if you can.
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 racing 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 have replaceable toe sliders. If you wear through them and can’t replace them, the boot’s as good as useless.
- They have to be full length. Some manufacturer’s ‘sports’ boots are only ankle length.
- Bonus points if they’re CE Certified
- Bonus points if they’re secured with a clip and not just a zip and Velcro
- Bonus points if they’re waterproof
There are a lot of racing boots on our longlist but we boiled this down to 5 great boots for our shortlist.
The best boots for you
It’s impossible to say ‘this is the best motorcycle racing boot’ as different boots fit different riders in different ways.
However the best boots all have build quality, protection and comfort in common.
Your boots need to be comfortable, you’ll be wearing them for a long time. When it comes to comfort, price isn’t always the best gauge. Daytona’s Security Evo 3GP is a testament to this. At a whopping £1199.99, you’d think they’d be like putting your feet into a box of feathers but they’re the most uncomfortable boots I’ve ever tried on. The inners are made from carbon kevlar – no doubt they’ll protect you during a spill but they feel like you’re wearing a manacle – I have no idea how people put up with them.
As you have seen from our strict criteria above, all the boots in this review have met a very high bar.
From under £100 to £400
There’s quite a difference when it comes to the cost of summer motorcycle boots. There are plenty around the £100 mark, which might make you wonder why some come in at nearly £400. As you’ll see from our review below, the most expensive boots aren’t just down to brand snobbery – they often pack in more features. It’s up to you to decide what you must have and what’s nice to have.
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.
If our picks don’t work for you in terms of budgets, brands or features, then refer to our shortlist where you’re sure to find a great option.
Summer Motorcycle Boot Buying Guide
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 motorcycle boots, these are the features that we think you should be looking out for.
- Replaceable toe sliders: Even road riders get their toes down but on track you'll do it more often. If the toe sliders aren't removable, you'll then start to wear through the boot itself and it'll be fit for the bin.
- Retention system: Most boots use zips and Velcro and that's perfectly good enough but you can get a more secure, more comfortable fit if your boot has a ratchet clasp at the top of the boot and a drawstring inner also helps the boot stay secure.
- Ankle bracing: If your summer boot doesn't have ankle protection and some form of torsion control then your ankle is at risk of bending and breaking during an accident. This is an area that cheaper boots tend to skimp on.
- Shin and heel armour: These areas are susceptible to impact but they don't need to be flexible. A chunky amount of plastic and bracing here will spread any impact force.
- Separate inner and outer: You'll likely only find this in a top-end boot but the separate inner can not only be washed, meaning you can keep your boots fresh(er) but the inner usually has a drawstring retention system meaning you can achieve a more secure, comfortable fit.
- Venting: Vents really do make a difference. If it's hot, they'll keep your feet much cooler but if you're likely to use your boots in all conditions, you don't want them to be perforated or have excess vents as they will let water in.
Trusted by MotoGP riders – the gold standard racing boot
As worn by a majority of the MotoGP grid, the Supertech R features an inner and outer boot. The drawstring-adjusted inner and zip, Velcro and ratchet secured outer offer a secure fit. Featuring soft TPU mesh on the front for added feel and flexibility while the TPU heel and shin protectors along with the fibreglass reinforced ankles and grippy reinforced sole offers great protection. Once you’ve had a pair you’ll find it hard to go with anything else.
Feature-packed boot offers top value for money
A vented racing boot that offers a high level of protection. With TPU shin and heel protection, a hinged ankle to prevent over-extension, a Nylon boot shank and anti-twist sole along with removable toe slider ensure your feet will stay protected. The vented upper and breathable membrane will keep your feet cool, while the anti-slip sole and zip and Velcro closure system ensure great fit and feel. Amazing value for money.
The best budget motorcycle boots
You don’t need to spend £300 on a pair of motorcycle boots, there are lots of decent sets around the £100 mark. This pair of DXR Code Evo boots cost just £79.99.
They feature PU coated leather, a waterproof Hipora lining, ankle and heel armour and removable toe sliders.
For me, they’re more a road-focused boot, rather than track use but you can’t argue with the price.
If you’re after a set of track-focused racing boots on a budget then our suggestion is the RST Tractech Evo 3s above.
The most expensive motorcycle boots
Don’t laugh but Daytona’s top of the range Security Evo Race boots cost around £1200. They sell as a separate inner and outer boot. The inner costs around £650 and the outer costs around £550. Obviously you need both.
There was a time when I thought I wanted a set of these. After all, they are the most expensive boot out there – I was racing, I wanted the best. I tried a set on and they were so uncomfortable I couldn’t walk more than a few paces and I could feel the edges of the Kevlar biting into the sides of my feet.
You’ll either love or hate Daytona’s retro look and I’m sure they offer great protection but for me, these boots have been left behind. Brands like Alpinestars make boots with the same features, for less than a third of the price …and they’re comfortable!
Premium manufacturers often sponsor MotoGP or World Superbike riders, so if you don't mind having last year's colours you can often buy a current boot model at a discounted rate.
If you're never going to ride in the rain (or you only want a set of boots for trackdays), don't go for a Waterproof or Gore-Tex boot - your feet will end up getting too warm on hot days.
Cheaper boots tend to skimp on areas like ankle protection
Wearing full-length socks makes any motorcycle boot infinitely more comfortable as there's less chance of parts of the boot digging into your ankles and shins.
Don't feel embarrassed or pressured when trying on a pair of boots. You need to wear them for a few minutes to get an idea of whether they're putting pressure on any parts of your feet or legs. If you feel any uncomfortable pressure after one-minute, imagine how that will feel after an hour.
If a pair of really cheap boots takes your eye, grab one by the toe and the heel then, with a bit of effort try and flex the toe to meet the heel. If you can do it, there's no shank in the sole - you may want to look elsewhere.
Our shortlist: The best motorcycle racing boots
With over 300 different pairs of racing boots on the market, there’s a lot of choice. We whittled our list down to 30 different pairs by picking the best two pairs of boots from each manufacturer. We aimed to get a shortlist of 7 different boots for you to choose from.
We removed the boots that just didn’t quite cut the mustard. So if our two picks above don’t work for you, one of the pairs of boots from our shortlist will.
Alpinestars Supertech R – Our best pick. As worn by a majority of the MotoGP grid, the Supertech R features an inner and outer boot. The drawstring-adjusted inner and zip, Velcro and ratchet secured outer offer a secure fit. Featuring soft TPU mesh on the front for added feel and flexibility while the TPU heel and shin protectors along with the fibreglass reinforced ankles and grippy reinforced sole offers great protection. Once you’ve had a pair you’ll find it hard to go with anything else. From £349.99
Alpinestars SMX Plus Gore-Tex boots – An excellent option if the majority of your riding is on the road but you do the occasional trackday. Properly waterproof but not too hot with it, thanks to the premium Gore-Tex membrane. The SMX Plus is a sleek boot that features CE certification, removable toe sliders, inner lacing enclosure, tough TPU heel and chin protection and a hard-wearing grippy sole. Treat your feet to something special. From £289.99
Richa Blade WP – Another quality boot for those on a budget. Featuring a reinforced heel, toe and shin area, detachable toe sliders and a mesh lining for added comfort, the Drift is also waterproof, making it a great option for all-year-round road riders. From £129.99
RST Tractech Evo 3 – Our runner up. A vented racing boot that offers a high level of protection. With TPU shin and heel protection, a hinged ankle to prevent over-extension, a Nylon boot shank and anti-twist sole along with removable toe slider ensure your feet will stay protected. The vented upper and breathable membrane will keep your feet cool, while the anti-slip sole and zip and Velcro closure system ensure great fit and feel. Amazing value for money. From £139.99
Sidi Rex CE race boot – Sidi are known for their quality motorcycle boots, and the Rex CE’s are one of their top-end racing boots. Featuring a Tecno 3 iron mechanism closure system, they’re quick and easy to get on and off. For protection, they have a Nylon inner sole with removable arch support, shock-absorbing heel cups, anti-twist ankle support braces, and replaceable toe sliders and shin plates.
TCX RT Race Pro – Looking almost identical to the Alpinestars Supertech R, TCX’s RT Race Proboots don’t feature a separate inner and outer boot like the Supertech R but it does pack in a lot of features. From the lightweight breathable construction to the beefy ankle support, reinforced sole, on the shin and heel, right up to the calf. They’re also RiDE Magazine’s Best Buy Boots. From £349.99
Motorcycle boots FAQs
What boots does Valentino Rossi wear?
Mr Rossi wears Dainese D-Axial Pro In boots. The ‘In’ refers to the fact that the boots go under your leathers, whereas most motorcycle boots go over your leathers. You can get a similar pair of boots to Valentino here.
Can I tuck my jeans into my boots?
Not unless you want your friends to disown you.