That horrible feeling when the first drops of water start making their way into your boot and the realisation that there’s no going back. Squelchy wet feet for the rest of the day? Just what you didn’t want.
Summer motorcycle boots and non-waterproof boots ought to keep your feet dry in a brief shower but if they’re exposed to an extended period of rain, there’s no way your feet will escape without a soaking.
If you’re away touring, there’s not a lot that can dampen the mood more than putting on a sodden pair of boots in the morning.
Table of Contents
Waterproof motorcycle boots are available for every style, from racing (or summer) WP boots, to touring, adventure and even short urban-style or scooter boots.
The best ones use a waterproof membrane, which is often used in conjunction with another material, like leather, which itself is treated to repel water for extended periods of time. The technical waterproof membrane then backs this up and ensures that no water can get in, while keeping your boot breathable and preventing your feet from getting sweaty.
While there are waterproof motorcycle boots in all shapes, styles and sizes there are core features that we think any rider should look for are: waterproof (and ideally using a technical waterproofing membrane like Gore-Tex motorcycle boots, Outdry or Drystar), they should be tough and durable and finally comfortable.
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 which means your boots have met the minimum CE approval standards.
Sports or Sports Touring?
If the closest you'll be getting to a race track is sat in the grandstands then you don't need a racing waterproof boot or WP summer boot. Sure, they look a bit slicker but a touring boot will be far more comfortable for sports touring and still offer decent protection.
Adventure or Adventure Touring?
The majority of adventure-bike riders don't ever ride off-road and that's fine. If this sounds like you, then don't worry about going for a pair of adventure motorcycle boots. You're far better going for a more touring orientated boot, which is far more comfortable and will still be fine for light trails. If you're a hardcore adventure rider, then you'll want the additional protection offered by a pair of adventure boots.
Waterproof 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 waterproof boots, these are the features that we think you should be looking out for.
- Retention system: For all full-length boots, you're looking for a secure two-stage retention system that allows easy access but also keeps the boot in place. Most will feature a zip and a retaining clasp but some will also use Velcro.
- Waterproofing: Even boots that claim to be waterproof might not be so. Some will feature membranes like Gore-Tex, Drystar or Drytex, which will give you a far better idea of just how waterproof they will be. These technical membranes require the boot manufacturers to adhere to higher production standards Therefore boot featuring these membranes are often better at keeping water out but they also allow air-flow, ensuring your feet don't boil over.
- Reinforced sole: The shank of a motorcycle-specific boot should be reinforced to give the boot a stiffer structure and more impact resistance.
- Removable insole: Being able to fit a new insole not only ensures you can get an even more comfortable fit but it also means you'll be able to keep the boots cleaner and fresher and ultimately get more use out of them.
- Additional armour: Great boots use armour in such a way that they ensure your feet are well protected but don't get in the way of riding. TPU protection in the shin, heel and toe areas will enhance impact protection.
CE Certified 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.
The CE approval standards have been designed specifically for motorcycle boots and they come under EN13634.
A CE approved motorcycle boot has been tested for factors such as seam strength, the integrity of the boot, rigidity and the height of the boot’s upper.
You’ll see a label on the inside of your boot with the following code:
EN13634:2010 or EN13634:2015 or EN13634:2017
On the label under this certification code you’ll see a row of four numbers and each box will have a 1 or a 2 in it. These correspond to the boot’s protective ability.
From left to right the areas tested are Height, Abrasion Resistance, Impact Cut, and Transverse Rigidity.
For height, the 1 signifies a shorter boot, 2 a full-length one. For the other tests, 1 signifies a pass whereas 2 signifies a higher pass score.
Our review criteria
We’ve set strict criteria for this waterproof motorcycle boots buying guide because with 100s of pairs of waterproof boots on the market, we can afford to be picky.
- Boots in the Sports, Adventure and Touring categories have to be full length and have to feature a protective shift-guard
- Urban / Scooter / Commuter boots have to be mid-length or short
- Bonus points if boots are CE certified
- Bonus points if boots use a technical waterproof membrane
- Bonus points if boots have a removable inner sole
There are a lot of waterproof boots on our longlist but we boiled this down to 2 great boots for each category.
We’ve picked waterproof boots with good feel
It’s easy enough to make a waterproof boot that keeps the water out but is bulky and offers next to no feel. Similarly, you’re likely to be using your boots throughout the seasons, so you want something that will stand up to daily abuse.
If you’re used to summer or racing boots, then any waterproof boot will feel a bit bulky at first and touring boots even more so. They will break in and you’ll get that feeling back in no time. Do your homework before purchasing and always try on a few different pairs before you buy.
As you have seen from our criteria above, all the boots in this review have met a very high bar.
From under £50 to over £500
Why pay over £500 for a set of waterproof motorcycle boots when you could get a decent 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.
Pricier boots often use a patented technical layer, such as Gore-Tex, Outdry, Drystar which not only costs more but also requires a higher standard of manufacturing. More expensive boots also usually pack in more features, use higher quality materials, better retention systems and feature additional hard armour protection.
Although the price has been a factor in our considerations, we’ve recommended the boots that we think are the best real-world options – we haven’t just gone for the most expensive.
Our Best Waterproof Summer Boots
Superb waterproof summer boot
It’s hard to fault RST Tractech waterproof boots. The previous versions won a RiDE Best Buy and these latest versions are just as good and still CE certified. A summer boot featuring a waterproof and breathable membrane, TPU shin and heel protection a nylon shank and anti-twist sole for really good crash protection. Secured with a zip closure backed up with a hook and loop flap. It has an anti-slip sole and removable toe sliders.
Alpinestars quality through and through
OK so the SMX-6 isn’t the sportiest-looking waterproof boot that Alpinestars makes (that accolade goes to the SMX-Plus Gore-Tex) but the SMX-6 are £50 cheaper than the SMX-Plus and offers all the functionality and protection you need. Featuring TPU ankle protection, shin plate and soft ankle protectors, plus a reinforced internal toe-box area. All that helps these earn their CE certification. There’s a long zip with wipe opening for easy access and a removable insole and ultra-grip sole. The toe sliders are replaceable too.
Our Best Waterproof Adventure Boots
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.
Our Best Waterproof Touring Boots
CE certified comfortable all-year boot
Alpinestars make brilliant bike gear but their boots are next level. The simple look of these Web Gore-Tex boots masks a raft of features. Firstly they’re made with a Gore-Tex membrane, bonded to the full-grain leather upper. Additional protection comes in the form of a plastic-moulded shin plate, internal heel and toe counter and additional EVA foam padding in the ankles. They feature a grippy vulcanised rubber sole and have removable insoles. A perfect option to pile on the miles in comfort.
Italian upstart is superb value for money
TCX was formerly known as Oxtar and they have been making boots for decades. The X-5 Plus is another understated touring boot but it has a quality specification sheet. Made from a micro-fibre upper with a Gore-Tex membrane, they feature shin, toe and heel armour, stretch panels for added comfort, a high-grip sole and a replaceable footbed insole.
Our Best Waterproof Urban Boots
No-nonsense short all-year boot
Richa makes some quality biker gear and these Adventure style Waterproof boots are no exception. A simple yet sturdy boot, they’re made from leather and suede and use a Hipora membrane to stay waterproof. There are reinforced areas in the heel and toes, with CE ankle protection and a double-layer shift pad. A great choice for everyday bikers or urban commuters who want a comfortable protective boot.
Waterproof scooter boot with French flair
DXR are a relatively new French brand but they make a great range of bike gear. These Santa Cruz boots are made from full-grain leather and feature a waterproof and breathable membrane. Double-stitched in impact areas they also feature soft protection in the heel and a chunky rubber outsole for added grip. A great choice for the urban commuter or scooter rider.
The best cheap waterproof boots
The cheapest (and decent) waterproof boots we could find are these Richa Zenith Waterproof boots.
At under £70, they are well-priced. Made from leather and textile, they use a Guanatex membrane, a protective shin panel, full-length zip and grippy sole.
If you’re not bothered about having lots of built-in hard-plastic armour, a removable insole or ankle torsion control then these are a great bet.
When we looked around at all the budget options, there is nothing under £60 that we’d recommend and certainly nothing that is likely to keep your feet dry. If you are on a super-limited budget you might be better off sticking with your existing boots and buying a pair of waterproof socks instead..
A good yet simple trick to keep your feet dry is to keep the water off your boots. Even if those boots are waterproof. If you ride all day in the pissing rain, you're probably going to get wet feet from water creeping in at the opening of the boot. So if you're touring, it pays to pack a set of waterproof trousers which sit over the top of your boots, giving them the best chance of keeping your feet dry.
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.
You can add a bit more water-resistance to your summer boots by treating them with a leather waterproofing gel. You simply work it into the boot. It won't make them fully waterproof but it'll add a few vital minutes of water-resistance.
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.
Does anyone make size 14 motorcycle boots?
Yes there are loads of options available. Just click this link to see a range of size 14 waterproof motorcycle boots.
Should you tuck your jeans into your boots?
Tucking them in is a bit of a fashion faux pas but also it means water runs down your jeans (or textile trousers) and into your boots. Tucking your jeans into your boots could lower the risk of them getting caught in the chain or other moving parts (although this is unlikely). If you leave them out, it will help delay any rain getting into your boot. Each to their own.
How do you break in motorcycle boots?
Just like any new shoes, wearing them regularly will help soften them. You could buy shoe stretchers or leather conditioner to help break them in further.
Thanks to the following websites which helped us research and write this review of the best waterproof motorcycle boots:
Rocky Mountain Rider Exchange: https://www.rockymountainatvmc.com/rm-rider-exchange/6-things-to-consider-before-buying-a-motorcycle-boot/