Motorcycle boots range from above ankle to below knee boots. They tend to have a low heel to ease control of the motorcycle.

To improve safety are generally made from leather or a man made substitute called Lorica.

Lorica is a breathable poromeric material and it performs in wear like leather – it also has the added advantage of quicker drying out time and it is more lightweight. Lorica is often used in sports footwear because of these properties.

Motorcycle boots may include energy absorbing and load spreading padding, metal, plastic and/or composite materials to protect the motorcycle rider’s feet, ankles and legs in an accident. For use in wet weather, some boots have a waterproof membrane in the lining such as Gore-Tex

Try to choose boots that are designed for the type of riding you intend to do. That way they will perform the way you want them to.

Types of motorcycle boots generally fall into these categories but there are many hybrids.

Sport boots-

Sports boots are designed for riding a motorcycle on hard tarmac (either the street or a race track) and are made from a combination of Lorica, plastic and/or man-made composite materials (such as Kevlar and carbon fibre) to create a form-fitting boot that is very comfortable whilst on the bike but not so comfortable for walking around in. Let me explain….

As they are usually designed with racers in mind, they will have a sole that is very flat and stiff . This is to aid riding with the balls of your feet on the foot pegs.

They will also have very close fitting armour around the ankle. This is to help prevent movements, such as twisting, which cause soft tissue injuries like tendon and ligament damage (this can keep a racer off work far longer than a broken bone!). This armour is most commonly found on the outside of the boot however, a lot of high end sports boots now have the armour on the inside of the boot.

Toe sliders are to protect the boot from rubbing through due to extreme lean angles whilst cornering. Sliders can also be found on the external side and the heel of the boot.  These are usually plastic, aluminium or titanium. Their purpose, in the event of a crash, is to stop the boot being caught on the tarmac (and causing torsional injury). Hence the name “Slider”.

To summarise- Sports boots are fantastic whilst riding and offer a very high level of protection but are too stiff and cumbersome for walking more than a very short distance.

Touring boots

Touring boots are designed with long distance riding in mind and also that the wearer will be spending time walking in them.

For these reasons the soles will be more flexible and curved. They will also have more flexible armour around the ankle. You would certainly want touring boots to have a waterproof membrane!

They are usually between 10 and 14 inches in height and are more likely to be made of leather than Lorica. They will be combined with hard rubber, plastic and/or man-made fabrics.

To summarise– Touring boots are fantastic for everyday riding (even if only short distances) and comfortable enough to walk all day in, offering you the best of both worlds. However they don’t have the necessary peripherals and stiffness associated with “track” speeds and lean angles.

Motocross boots

Motocross boots are designed specifically for off-road riding

To help prevent a rider’s feet and legs from being injured, motocross boots are typically much more stiff than regular motorcycle boots or sports boots but are a little more flexible than ski boots by comparison.

Modern motocross boots are usually nearly knee-high (about 16 inches in height) and made from a combination of Lorica/leather, metal, plastic and/or man-made composite materials to create a very form-fitting and tight boot.

To allow a rider to easily get the boot on or off, the shaft of a motocross boot is designed to open lengthwise. Multiple adjustable straps (usually 4 to 5) are deployed along the foot, ankle and shaft of the boot to allow the rider to tighten the boot to his/her preferences and comfort.

To protect the leading edge of the boot sole against rough terrain, a metal plate is usually screwed in place. A curved plastic or composite plate covers the shin of the boot to protect the rider from debris on the terrain or that may be thrown from the front wheel of the motorcycle.

It is unusual for true off road boots to be waterproof but as I mentioned before, there are always hybrids.

To summarise– Because of their height off road boots are usually too cumbersome to get into the “racing crouch” of a sports bike or to wear when away from your bike. They perform perfectly for the job they where designed for.