The Best Adventure Motorcycling Boots. 2019 Buyer’s Guide
The Best Adventure Motorcycling Boots. 2019 Buyer’s Guide
Wearing proper boots when on a motorcycle is important. As the part of your body that is closest to the ground, your feet are going to be first to make contact if things go wrong so they need to be up to the job. But for adventure trips they need to do so much more and of course, they still need to look good in the Instagram pictures. So what are ‘The Best Adventure Motorcycling boots‘?
Ride Expeditions tells you what you should be looking for and the options we think are the best to help you choose…
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Ideally before you buy a boot, you need to have seen it, handled it and tried it on and walked around a bit, even if your intention is to buy online! Fit and feel vary enormously in off-road boots, and if they start off very uncomfortable, they are unlikely to get better after eight hours on the bike!
Here’s some pointers you should be looking at.
So the main job your boot needs to do in the event of a fall is protect your feet from injury, So there needs to be good ankle support, a strong ‘toe box’, suitable shin protection and sturdy buckles or straps that will stay done up all day long. Crack all of those and that’s a pretty good boot!
On an adventure, keeping the water out of your boots is the ideal situation. So theoretically a waterproof boot is best, that is until the water is deeper than the boot in which case a waterproof boot holds the water in. This is why some riders prefer to use waterproof socks.
No matter which boot you choose, you need to know that it will fasten properly and stay done up all day long on the roads and trails. You also need to know that the boot will fit your feet properly and the upper will fasten around your calf, particularly if you are a rider with big calf muscles.
MAINTENANCE AND REPAIRABILITY
If the boots you choose are going to last well, you might need to change buckles and straps, replace the sole, buy new insoles and generally look after them. So it’s an important consideration to check that your dealer can get spares and parts when required.
So in an ideal world, price would not be in your list of criteria and you’d buy the very best straight off. But the world isn’t ideal and money can be tight, so it’s bound to be a factor for some. Shop around for the best prices but be careful – if it looks too good to be true, chances are that is correct …
So let’s look at our choices for the best eight on the market …
SIDI ADVENTURE 2 Goretex
So straight in with the big hitter in this class – it’s Sidi’s truly exceptional Adventure 2 Goretex . In a way this is the boot that all the others are trying to be as it’s been top of the adventure rider’s wish list for years, and now it’s improved, it’s even better.
Protection is good, which for some makes the Sidis feel quite stiff but if you come from motocross boots, you won’t notice it – either way they loosen up a bit as they bed in. There’s a Goretex liner to keep the water out and it does a great job until you go over the top – so same as all of them. For the protection and waterproofing they offer, the Sidis are well priced if you get a good deal. On the basis of riders who’ve had them for years and replaced one pair with another over the years (Ride Expeditions’ owner, Toby, is on his third pair!), once you have a pair you are Sidi for life!
Buckles are the same as the MX boots – simple and positive.
Prices vary but £350 / US $450 are about average. Brown or black options available.
AlpinEstars Corozal ADVENTURE DRYSTAR
We are big fans of anything Alpinstars make and the Corozal Drystar boots certainly do not disappoint. They manage to have a great balance between feeling supportive and protective but still are all-day comfortable thanks to the well padded liner and design.
The Corozal makes a good crossover boot between road and adventure bike as they can easily be used for both without affecting the sensitivity for braking and gear changes on either, but your road riding trousers may not fit over the larger top part and still fasten. Lining is the breathable Drystar membrane, rather than Goretex, but is pretty good at keeping out the wet stuff.
Straps and buckles are good, as is the waterproofing layer, and they look fantastic.
They go for around £220 / US $270. Alpinestars sizes tend to be on the small side so try first or buy one size up. Available in brown or black.
ALPINESTARS TOUCAN GORETEX
So if you want to go for AStars but don’t like the Corazals, then you could try the oddly named Toucan Goretex. The look is a bit more more ‘motocrossy’, and they only come in black – so ‘last year’! But in terms of protection and comfort, the Toucans offer much the same as the Corozals and maybe a bit more.
Initially the Toucans feel a tad stiffer and more restrictive than their stablemates, but once bedded in this fades and they feel well padded and supportive even if their stiffness makes them a bit harder to use on more road based bikes. They have a similar Goretex breathable liner as the Corozals, so have the same level of water protection, just not if you stand up to your waist in a Himalayan river!
Buckles are lifted from the ‘Tech’ series off-road boots, so are suitably positive and secure.
Prices are from £330- £400 / US $400 – $500 so not quite the same range as others but still worth shopping around. Black only.
TCX DRIFTER WATERPROOF
TCX boots are nothing like as well represented in the adventure sector as the big hitters of Alpinestar and Sidi, but that is beginning to change. And on the basis of the Drifter Waterproof, we can see why. These boots are a fuss-free and simpler design than most, with three buckles and a velcro top, and an otherwise uncluttered look that harks back to classic MX boots.
We’ve used the TCX Michelin Competition Evo boots which are super-comfortable and we’ve also got a pair of the TCX Trail, the predecessor to this boot. The Drifter is just as comfortable and despite the stripped back look, offers surprising levels of support and protection, even if they take longer than most to adapt and mould to your feet. Lining is waterproof rather than breathable Goretex.
Buckles are positive if a tad stiff, but could do with a flatter profile to avoid being flipped open.
Prices between £215 and £260 / US $270 and $300. In vintage brown only.
LOOKING FOR EPIC ADVENTURES
TCX BAJA GORETEX
So the second offering from TCX is the Baja Goretex. The design is far closer to the others in this sector, but with more leather than most to give a clean look, albeit one that might need more care to keep in good condition. The sole is quite stiff and with far less off-road grip than others, but this works well on the tarmac. Comfort is good as is the Goretex layer, but it only comes two thirds up the boot, so will only tolerate shallower water. Confusingly, there is a Baja Gortex and Baja Waterproof both with much the same qualities and design although clearly the Goretex one is the breathable option.
The padding and protection within the TCX Baja’s is well positioned and allows the boot to be all-day comfortable without being too bulky. There’s a substantial shin plate with the TCX logo, but this does make it wider and maybe won’t fit under your road trousers.
Buckles are completely different to the Drifter, but although initially tricky to adjust, work well and stay fastened.
Price £245 – £300 / US $285. Available in black only, although brown and black options in the waterproof version.
If there is one pretender here to the Sidi’s crown, the Forma Adventure is it – Hell they even look the same! Owners of the Forma boots are pretty convinced too, some even claiming they are better than the more costly Sidi. That may be stretching things, but the Forma is certainly a damn good boot that you can wear all day for weeks on end in almost moccasin-like comfort. But in a sense they are quite so comfortable because they lack some of the support and rigidity you might want if things go wrong or indeed for hard core off-road riding.
The boot has a moulded and glued sole, rather than external stitching, and the shin protection is relatively slim, meaning that they go under off road trousers better, but don’t have quite the same impact protection. The boots also lack a soft inner panel so the stitched panels may wear more and offer less grip, but on the plus side, the Drytex lining is both waterproof and breathable.
There is a velcro strap and three buckles with neat clasps that clip over the fastening point, much like TCX used a while ago. And that ankle pad – it’s the biggest in the market!
Price £185 – £195 / US $220. Available in black or brown as above.
FORMA TERRA EVO
So if the Forma Adventures are not quite stiff enough for you, then you could consider another option from the Forma range – the Terra Evo. The design is far more protective to your ankle and shin with a deeper shin plate and lateral supports on both sides that extend down into heel and instep. The leather is thicker than the Forma Adventures too.
The toe box is also more protected with a large plastic cup, with similar around the heel, with both elements firmly stitched into the sole. The support is good within the internal padding, giving a firm and supported feel like the Sidis, providing a great alternative when on the dirt. However, if your adventuring is more on-road based, the Terra Evos may prove a tad stiff, much like the Sidis really! The boot is waterproof and breathable with a Drytex membrane.
The three buckles are aluminium on a plastic shank and click into place with a pleasing positivity.
Price comes in between £240 – £260 / US $220. Available in sand brown as above or black.
REV'IT EXPEDITION H20
The last on our list is a truly different option that breaks the mould in comparison to the rest of the field. The Rev’it Expedotion H2O boots draw inspiration from almost everything but other motorcycle boots and comes out with something totally innovative.
The Expedition H2O opens down the middle of the boot like a snowboard boot, rather than at the side as on every other boot in this list. The boots are then fastened through a twist tension system using thin stainless steel cables like high-end cycling shoes, and then there’s a large shin plate that folds over the top and velcros into place. The ankle has an external hinge like a motocross boot and this binds down to the moulded sole. Internal padding and support is great and cushions the foot well, but protection on the front of your foot feels less than on a more conventional leather boot, even if leather is used on the top section. The boot is fully waterproof and breathable and surprisingly walkable – it’s an interesting alternative to the ‘usual suspects’.
So there are no buckles, but the fastening system at the front, however high tech, looks like a bit of a mud trap!
Price is an eye-watering £440 – £465/ US $600. The brown option looks more conventional than the black above.