The world of motorcycle racing may attract lovers of the extreme and adrenaline addicts, but a fruitful career (or even a successful hobby) in the field requires superb attention to safety. A helmet may be all you need for an urban stroll, at least according to traffic regulations. However, the second that you leave your driveway for a racing track, then the list of safety gear multiplies tenfold; high speeds and asphalt do not mix well with human skin.
Out of all the safety equipment needed for a good motorcycle race, riding boots are a key piece. They protect some of the most delicate and tiny bones in our body and offer countless opportunities to make a fashion statement. While motocrossers or long-distance riders often prefer to wear softer leather boots that remain comfy during hours on end, racers require high-tech materials, stiff casings, and smooth surfaces that won’t get tangles or hook where they shouldn’t.
A pair of boots specifically designed to resist high-friction and impact stemming from flying at over 150 miles per hour is no ordinary pair of shoes. While probably uncomfortable for a jog – or even for a short stroll – racing boots can make all the difference between a small scrape or an ankle that will never quite be the same.
Here are the 10 best motorcycle racing boots.
If a normal pair of motorcycle boots can make a normal touring lover like a Paladin, then these Dainese Axial D1 racer boots will take you straight into the posters of the next Transformers movie. However, these boots don’t just look futuristic and powerful; they are also made from some of the latest safety materials available nowadays.
The casing is made mostly from carbon and aramid fiber, which give them superb resistance to friction and impact. The heel and toes (where most of the tiny, flimsy foot bones are located) are reinforced with nylon, while the shins and shifters have discreet (but light) metal inserts.
A well-sewn set of cowhide leather inserts give an extra layer of personality to the overall boot without creating any hazardous buckle or strap. The main closure is provided by a back zipper, but wide sizes also have an additional speed lacing system. The overall construction is rather stiff, as it should be, so the extra wiggle room is always appreciated.
A microfiber outer layer and anti-grip rubber soles provide the final edge on these boots, which are available in 5 different color schemes.
Unapologetically race-worthy and battle-hardened, the Sidi Mag-1 model is a great option for Mass Effect fans who would rather not carry the weight of the world on top of their feet but are not ready to give up some solid protection. Made from carbon fiber and micrometric magnet-based Techno 3 closure brooches, these boots will glide off the asphalt without any opportunity for lacerations or bruises – yet they remain light and stable even during long hours of wear.
The upper casing has been reinforced with polyurethane and adjusted with micro screws, which increases flexibility and comfort without providing any edge for the boot to get hungry. These screws also keep the carbon fiber beams, straps, and camouflaged inserts firmly in place, preventing them from sliding where they would hurt.
In order to maximize the amount of comfort and protection provided without adding too much metal (and its consequent extra weight), Sidi opted for carefully-blended elastic textiles and polyurethane inserts near the arch and Achilles heels. The design is slightly asymmetric at first glance, which is actually a cleverly-hidden perk; the extra thickness near the heel cup provides extra padding where it’s most needed without compressing the entire foot. The inner soles, shin, heel, and toe slides are all replaceable.
This model is available in three color schemes: black and red, gray and black, and fluorescent yellow and black.
They may say “Road” on the model name, but make no mistake; the designers were definitely thinking of high-speed roads and extreme tracks when creating the SMX 5. Low heels and bold edges have been part of the Alpinestars brand for the beginning, and that “naked bike rider” appeal that is at the core of their aesthetic is firmly visible on this model.
These boots offer all the necessary protection: double-injected polyurethane shin guards, carbon-based reinforced heel, and friction-resistant rubber. In addition, they also have a thin layer of fins that allow them to protect your ankles without making your calves look huge or heavy.
This model is CE certified and anatomical, which allows it to double as a great option for both speed and long rides. The opening has a wide Velcro flap that opens up quickly and closes back up securely, and that will let you get a highly customizable snig fit without the hassle (or danger) of straps and buckles.
The thick rubber soles provide excellent grip and a wide, comfortable fit. They have a well-supported arch and extra padding close to the Achilles, although they hide this cleverly; you won’t have to fear looking like you wanted to try high heels on. Extra-vented and waterproof versions are also available on this model.
Most highly protective footwear has a way of making your feet look like poorly packed bricks. After all, you can only combine so many layers of protection before anything becomes impossible to move, bend, or push. In order to overcome this limitation, Forma has equipped its Hornet model with a layered Flex control system; small, thin strips of carbon fiber inspired on a bug’s thorax, which provide full coverage and extra friction resistance without getting in the way of a good kick or quick movement both forward and backward, which is a rarity in the field.
The safety innovations present on the Hornet are not done here; this model also has injected plastic around the soles and surrounding the heels. The soles themselves are made up of three layers of tightly knit of rubber, which provides the boots with extra grip and an astonishing amount of protection should you fall or slip down a gravelly hill.
However, the most remarkable feature of this model is the shape; the slimmer curve close to the lower ankle, the shin flaps, and the rounded toe area may appear to be an odd combination at first. Somehow, Forma has managed to make the combination look surprisingly exuberant and sleek. Finally, they added just the right amount of rubber applications for décor and provided us with a small futuristic work of art.
The TR-Course Out Air is Dainese’s “budget friendly” option for beginner motorcycle racers. They’re not cheap, especially when compared to any suburban riding models, but they are not the liability that such cheap boots would be either.
They don’t offer quite the same amount of protection as the Axial D1 model, but they have more than enough; made primarily from leather and microfiber, they are fully waterproofed. In addition, the outer guards are made from D-Stone, a proprietary carbon-based composite that is flexible and rugged but allows for good ventilation. Polyurethane inserts provide extra armor for your shins and calves, while the rubber soles provide increased shock absorption and even have a discreet “anti-supination” effect – so no more odd cramps on your metatarsus the day after a long ride!
Finally, the back opening is wide and practical; it’s flexible enough that you won’t need to twist around too much when putting them on but still capable of holding its shape even after hours of use.
RST has not skimped on any edge or detail when designing their Tractech EVO Boots These boots have the rare privilege of looking as sporty and danger-loving as they are without sacrificing an inch of quality or safety; fully CE-certified and equipped with well-rounded protectors, the Tractech EVO boots are made from TPU, carbon, and Kevlar applications.
Some of the most important features include a 360-degree cockpit with reinforced ankle support. This will let you extend and flex your ankle to your heart’s content while keeping the inside of the boot fresh and dry – and providing a firm barrier to all the dangers of the road. In addition, the internal pads are removable and available in a variety of sizes. Combine this with an enlarged toe box, a slightly cushioned raised heel, and wide back opening, and you will get a remarkably comfortable pair of boots.
These boots are available in six different color schemes, which range from fully black to lime green, blue, and red. All combinations are bold and daring and designed to look their best when combined with EVO’s own racing jackets and pants.
All the best qualities of Alpinestar come up again on a completely new iteration; the S-MX 6 GoreTex model, a ruddier and slightly heavier alternative to the SMX 5 that offers increased weather and moisture protection, anti-flammable capabilities, and superb CE certification.
The boot’s main structure is made almost fully from Gore-Tex, a proprietary composite membrane that provides firm accordion panels and is capable of resisting very high temperatures and deep slices. Designed to perform under hot, cold, and humid weather alike, these boots offer near perfect grip soles, water dispersion, and increased wiggle room for your toes. The forefoot shape has been specially designed to permit easy movement and minimal interference with pedals.
However, their most unique feature is the custom-designed toe sliders, which are fully replaceable, washable, and are adjusted with sturdy Allen bolts. Nothing will move them out of place until you don’t want them to. The smart leveling system placed beneath the sliders points them slightly downward, which further lessens the effects of harsh high-speed impact.
Warrior-friendly and feet-loving, Merlin has been providing specialized accessories for bike riders and extreme engine lovers. Many of their designs gravitate seamlessly between sleekness, functionality, and their signature modern cowboy appeal. The Aragon boots are no exception; just soft enough to remain in the racing niche, they are made from microfiber synthetic leather, reinforced with TPU around the shins and toes.
Do not mistake their flexibility for lack of security; in addition to waterproofing and heat insulation, these boots provide certified Level 2 abrasion, cut, and transversal protection. The Velcro zip entry is stretchy and resilient, with thick teeth that attach firmly to each other (rather than your socks). To protect your skin from overheated engines, they have also included an Outlast inner liner that controls both temperature and moisture – and that turns their polyflex antibacterial fabric into a hidden blessing. An additional layer of microfiber near the shins provides extra protection as well as a nice opportunity to exhibit their retro logo discreetly.
They’re available in black and white on black. As much as we are fond of monochrome styles, there is a certain decadent appeal to the white-on-black model that is hard to top in the realm of functional wear.
Soft, luxurious, and with a price tag to match, the Daytona Security EVO G3 boots demand attention from onlookers but will provide only the best for your feet.
Kangaroo leather, carbon fiber, and Kevlar are all top of the line materials in the motorcycle industry and are all stylishly blended on this pair of boots. The design makes them suitable for urban and even mildly dressy settings, as long as the rest of your clothes manage to evoke a slight steampunk aura. However, their fashionable appeal may hide its protective features thoroughly, but it does not detract from them. The toes and shins are reinforced with aramid, while the shins hide four layers of anti-shock protection but still manage to breathe well.
At its price point, the EVO G3 is geared toward a looks-conscious crowd, or at the very least, those who need to accessorize a stylish sponsored jacket. Because of this, all four available color combinations are equally elegant but capable of evoking their own personality.
Construction steel-toed boots are not usually a good replacement for proper motorcycle racing boots, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good pair of racing shoes that just look like they can be taken to work. The REVI’IT! Mohawk is the perfect pair for the practical riders who need to be able to transition back into civilian life smoothly and without too many heads turning.
This model is made from fine grain cowhide leather on the outside but packs a significant amount of hidden protection just beneath. In addition to a removable shifter panel, it has shin guards and reinforced heel and toes. This keeps them safely firm around your feet and ankles, yet flexible enough to be worn throughout the day and under a pair of jeans (not that you should be wearing denim during the actual race day!).
The front lacing system is also practical, quick to adjust, and even quicker to kick off at the end of a long day. The waterproofing is not the best, but on sunny days, the inner lining will keep your feet cool and scent free.