LAST UPDATED: December 03, 2020

The Best Motorcycle Shoes (Review and Buying Guide) in 2021

Best Choice Alpinestars Men's Sektor Vented Street Motorcycle Shoe Alpinestars Men's Sektor Vented Street Motorcycle Shoe
Best Value Bilt Dexter Men's Motorcycle Riding Shoes Bilt Dexter Men's Motorcycle Riding Shoes
Premium Pick Alpinestars Men's J-6 Waterproof Motorcycle Riding Shoe Alpinestars Men's J-6 Waterproof Motorcycle Riding Shoe

For avid motorcyclists, there’s nothing better than hitting the open road and traveling across the country. One thing you don’t want to have to stress about while on a cross-country road trip is having a quality pair of motorcycle shoes. The best motorcycle shoes offer maximum protection while keeping your feet comfortable during long trips. 

These shoes often contain thickened shells on the toe and heel and a mesh interior that provides excellent ventilation. Non-slip soles are important for traction while riding during inclement weather like rain, sleet, or fog. We took a look at the best motorcycle shoes currently on the market. Whether you are looking for great value, comfort, protection, or a women’s option, read on to see which is the best fit for your motorcycle riding needs.

The Best Motorcycle Shoes

This pair of shoes is made from extremely lightweight microfiber material, but it still offers a great deal of protection. The three-dimensional ankle guard provides added protection while still remaining very flexible. There’s a thickened shell on the toe and heel of this shoe. The mesh inserts allow for maximum ventilation and comfort. The Alpinestars motorcycle shoe is available in color options of all black or black/grey/red. They are available in sizes ranging from men’s size 6 through men’s size 14.

One potential drawback of these shoes is that they tend to run both small and narrow. This could be a problem if you have very large or wide feet. However, you can always size up if this is an issue for you.

Key Features
  • Microfiber upper construction
  • 3D ankle guard
  • Advanced 3D mesh inserts
  • Lace-up and Velcro closure
Specification
  • Brand Alpinestars
  • Model 2515618131105
  • Weight 10 pounds
PROS

Lightweight

Ventilated

Protective reinforcement panels 

CONS

Super long laces 

Sizing runs small

Narrow width fit

These comfortable riding shoes are perfect for someone who’s on a tight budget. They provide you with over the ankle protection while having the look of a traditional sneaker. The upper of the shoe is constructed from polyester synthetic materials. The sole is a molded synthetic material. This makes the shoes incredibly lightweight and comfortable for all-day wear. There is reflective detailing throughout the shoe to increase your visibility. While the front has a prominent lace-up feature, the shoes have a slip-on design with a hidden medial zipper. 

One drawback of these shoes is that they tend to lack safety features. While they have padding in the ankle, they lack a protective guard. The rivets on the lacing holes also tend to fall out, which reduces the lacing’s durability.

Key Features
  • Full synthetic
  • Medial side zipper and front lace-up
  • Lightly padded ankle top line
  • Sneaker styling
Specification
  • Brand Bilt
  • Model Dexter
  • Weight 2.93 pounds
PROS

Lightweight

Reflective piping 

Easy to slip on

CONS

Eye hole rivets not durable

Lacks protective features 

Not great for high arches

These protective shoes are stylish enough to wear both on and off the bike. They come in three color options: black, black with a brown sole, and brown with a white sole. The upper of the shoes is crafted from full-grain leather and suede with a rubber sole. You’ll find these shoes to be lightweight and comfortable enough for all-day wear. The shoe’s design is ergonomic with an internal waterproof membrane. For increased protection, there are dual-density ankle and heel protectors. Then for durability, the lacing eyelets are lined with metal. 

Unfortunately, as with all Alpinestars gear, the sizing runs small. These are also narrow. You may find the leather to be stiff. You can address these issues by sizing up when ordering and breaking them in before trying to ride in them.

Key Features
  • Full-grain leather and suede
  • Waterproof membrane
  • Metal eyelet lacing closure
  • Dual-density ankle and heel protector
Specification
  • Brand Alpinestars
  • Model J-6 Waterproof Riding Shoes
  • Weight 16 pounds
PROS

Lightweight

Street-styled upper

Ergonomic

CONS

Sizing is small and narrow 

Leather is stiff

Brown leather is not one color

This pair of shoes has a double layer of ankle protection, both inside and outside of the shoe. There is a super-fiber thickened shell on the toe and the heel of this shoe for added protection. The mesh fabric inside and around the ankle provides excellent ventilation throughout the circumference of the shoe. The shoe’s sole is made of rubber with great traction to prevent slipping if needed during rain, sleet, or wet conditions. They come in a stylish grey color with neon yellow highlights and laces. 

The drawback of these shoes is that they lack durability. Don’t wash them, as too much moisture can cause the inside of the shoe to come apart. The zipper can also come out of the shoe with heavy wear.

Key Features
  • Side zipper
  • Rubber sole
  • Reflective strip
  • Ankle has PP protective shell
Specification
  • Brand Iron Jia's
  • Model MT016
  • Weight 2.9 pounds
PROS

Thickening in the heel of the toes

360-degree breathability

Fashion design

CONS

Not durable

Can’t wash them

Zipper can come off

Ladies should throw on these black leather kicks instead of big heavy boots. These high-quality boots feature a waterproof full-grain leather upper with metal reinforced grommets for a lace-up closure. Lining the shoes is a breathable yet also waterproof membrane lining called Hydro-Guard. Choose from either black or gray; both have 3M reflective material detailing, laces, and rubber outsoles for increased visibility. For improved protection, there is PORON ankle protection. This protection is strong yet also flexible enough to move with you. 

The downside of these shoes is that they have small and slim fitment. If you have larger feet, you can easily address this by sizing up. However, don’t go too large, or you risk them feeling large and clunky. 

Key Features
  • Full-grain leather upper 
  • Waterproof membrane lining 
  • Poron ankle protection 
  • Black or gray
Specification
  • Brand Wolverine
  • Model D87165-05.0
  • Weight 5 pounds
PROS

Comfortable

Flexible

3M reflective material

CONS

Slim through the ankle

Can feel clunky 

Sizing can run small

These sporty casual sneakers are perfect for both adding style and protection. The upper is constructed of perforated suede with a reinforced sole. You’ll have additional support and protection with TPU protectors on the ankles and Poronxd reinforced ankle and toe. These shoes come in black and brown, with detailing of light and dark shades. A standout feature of these shoes is the red shoelace eyelet. Thread the laces through this top eyelet for increased ankle support while riding. Then when you stop riding, unthread the shoelace from this eyelet for increased flexibility. 

Unfortunately, the leather used to construct these boots is very stiff. You can fix this by breaking them in so they conform to your feet and become flexible everywhere you need them to be.

Key Features
  • Perforated suede
  • Reinforced sole 
  • TPU protector on the ankle
  • Poron XRD reinforced ankle and toe
Specification
  • Brand Shima
  • Model Sx-2 Black 41
  • Weight 2.53 pounds
PROS

Optimum level of ankle stabilization

Customizable fit

Vintage Italian styling

CONS

Very stiff leather 

Leather tears at metal grommets

Minimal ventilation

Express your personal style with these edgy shoes. They come in either black or grey and are made with a waxed leather upper and durable sole. You can choose from men’s sizes 8 through 13. The inside of the shoes has a breathable mesh liner for increased comfort. You’ll have increased traction and stability thanks to the oil-resistant and non-marking sole. They also have increased durability with a hydro guard waterproofing treatment. To protect your feet, the sole is crush-resistant. 

Unfortunately, the styling of these shoes has a slim width, which can make them feel small. You can address this by sizing up when you order. The leather upper can feel hot due to a lack of breathability. This makes them great cold weather riding shoes.

Key Features
  • Waxed leather upper
  • Breathable mesh comfort liner
  • Oil-resistant and non-marking sole
  • Hydraguard waterproof, breathable membrane
Specification
  • Brand Fly Racing
  • Model Street M16 Leather Riding Shoes
  • Weight 2.86 pounds
PROS

Crush-resistant sole

Composite shank

Flexible

CONS

Slim width

Lacks a zipper

Not breathable

Complete your casual outfits with these all-black motorcycle shoes. The upper part of the shoe is made from textile materials. This keeps them breathable and flexible. Inside of the shoe is a mesh liner. The interior of the shoes also has dual density ankle protectors for increased protection. To give you better stability, the sole is both oil- and crush-resistant. Since these shoes lace-up, the eyelets are reinforced with metal to provide the shoes with more durability. 

One downside of these shoes is that they feel big on your feet. They also lack an inner zipper, which means you’ll need to loosen and tighten the laces every time you want to put them on. These shoes also aren’t as breathable as other shoes on this list, making them better suited for cold weather riding.

Key Features
  • Textile upper
  • Breathable mesh liner
  • Metal eyelet reinforcements 
  • Dual-density ankle protectors
Specification
  • Brand Highway 21
  • Model 361-99013
  • Weight 1.9 pounds
PROS

Durable

Oil and crush resistant sole

Black and orange styling

CONS

Feel hot when wearing 

Lacks a zipper

Feels big on your feet

Riding a Harley doesn’t mean you need to be decked out in full leather and big boots. You can have a casual side where you throw on your T-shirt, jeans, and sneakers. The upper of these shoes is made from 100 percent leather and extends five inches above the arch. The sole is made of rubber to give you stability and traction. The lacing goes the full length of the shoes to let you create a custom fit. 

Unfortunately, there’s no padding in these shoes. This means they’re not the greatest for doing a lot of walking. This shouldn’t be a big deal, since you should be riding and not walking. The sizing is also slightly off, so be sure to adjust the size when you order.

Key Features
  • 100 percent leather
  • Rubber sole
  • Shaft 5 inches from arch 
  • Full-length cushioned sock lining
Specification
  • Brand Harley-Davidson
  • Model Nathan-M
  • Weight 1.06 pounds
PROS

Lace-up styling

Vulcanized construction

Durable rubber outsole

CONS

No padding

Lack of supportive stability

Sizing is off

These street-styled leather and suede motorcycle shoes are the perfect addition to any outfit. They are casual enough for a weekend ride and stylish enough for a day at the office. The front of the shoes has smooth leather, and the back of the shoes has suede. You’ll get a maximum amount of protection thanks to this shoe meeting CE standards for protection. Built into the shoes are dual-density ankle protectors for safety and flexibility at key points to increase their comfort. 

One drawback of these shoes is that the leather is really stiff. You can easily address this by breaking the shoes in and getting them to conform to your feet. The leather is perforated, but they aren’t as breathable as other shoes on this list.

Key Features
  • Leather on front and suede on back
  • CE certified to CE Standards
  • Dual-density ankle protectors
  • Traditional lace closure system
Specification
  • Brand Alpinestars
  • Model 2652518110011
  • Weight 10 pounds
PROS

Street-styled

Flexibility in key areas

Secure and comfortable fit

CONS

Stiff leather

Lack breathability 

Not waterproof

Best Motorcycle Shoes Buying Guide & FAQ

You want to wear protective gear while riding, but you also want to look fashionable and put together when you get to your destination. While traditional protective gear is great at keeping you safe, it isn’t the most stylish thing you can put on. Motorcycle shoes are the perfect balance of protection and fashion. This lets you stay safe on the bike and look great when off. 

This guide will help you find a pair of motorcycle shoes that are well made to be durable, includes safety features, and are comfortable enough for long term wear. With the right pair of motorcycle shoes, you’ll find yourself opting for two wheels instead of four more often. 

Why You Need Motorcycle Shoes

Wearing regular shoes on your motorcycle is not a smart idea, and in some instances, is downright dangerous. Regular shoes are not designed with motorcycle riding in mind, and therefore, lack many of the features that you need to stay safe and protected. Motorcycle shoes combine the look and feel of a regular shoe with the protective safety features of motorcycle boots. This lets you have the look of a shoe with increased protection for your feet and ankles. 

Motorcycle boots are the most protective thing you can wear. However, they’re also bulky, heavy, and look like boots. Motorcycle shoes give you a lighter and more low profile look to your outfit. This is perfect if you have plans at your riding destination. You won’t need to carry a spare pair of shoes in your motorcycle backpack to change into once you arrive. 

Finally, motorcycle shoes take your comfort into account. Their reduced weight, arch support, ankle support, and soft materials ensure you stay comfortable throughout the day. You’ll experience less foot pain, no more sore back, and reduced leg fatigue. 

  • Increased protection for your feet and ankles. 
  • Improved looks for your feet. 
  • Comfortable feet both on and off of the bike. 

The Most Common Types of Motorcycle Shoes

The first step in buying your motorcycle shoes is to decide what type of shoes you want. You’ll notice that there are three basic categories of shoes, textile, leather, and plastic. This refers to the main material that the shoe is made out of. While many shoes feature one material, there are some that will use a combination of materials. 

Man with motorcycle shoes sitting on motorbike
Motorcycle shoes are lighter and more comfortable than boots

Textile

These shoes use modern and traditional textiles to construct the body of the shoe. It’s common for these shoes to have a lace-up front like you would see on traditional shoes. They tend to be soft, flexible, and more lightweight than other options. You’ll also find them to be more breathable, which makes them great for warm weather riding. 

Textiles also come in a wide variety of colors so that you could buy them in several pairs. Then wear the color that matches your outfit. For the most durability, look for a shoe that has protective treatments to repel water and dirt. This will keep the shoes looking like new and your feet dry. 

Leather

When buying leather shoes, the vast majority of your options are going to be either black or brown. This is great because, with one pair of each, you’ll have a pair of shoes that will match any outfit. Leather is also nice because these shoes tend to have a classier or more formal look to them. This makes them perfect for when you want to ride to the office. 

Leather is a smart option to choose for its naturally protective qualities of being water and abrasion-resistant. High-quality leather is also durable, which helps your motorcycle shoes last for years. 

Hardshell 

Motorcycle shoes with hardshell elements look and feel the most like motorcycle boots. These are composite or plastic pieces that are placed in key points around the shoe to provide you with an increased level of protection. Typically, motorcycle shoes won’t be all hardshell like you would see with some boots. These shoes use either textile or leather for the shoe’s main body and then have hard shell pieces attached to it. 

These shoes tend to have a sportier look. This makes them great for a weekend ride where you stop and grab some lunch or an early dinner. They’re typically black in color, but you may find some with more bold color accents. 

What to Look for When Buying Motorcycle Shoes

The most important thing to look for when buying motorcycle shoes is the size. If you can’t fit the shoes on your feet, then you’ll never wear them, and there’s no point in buying them. The second thing you should look for is the styling. Do the shoes fit your motorcycle and personal style? If not, you won’t want to wear them. 

Don’t forget to also look at how the shoes will function while motorcycle riding. They should have the flexibility to not interfere with your riding. At the same time, they also need to be stiff enough to protect your feet and ankles. The sole should give you stability and traction while riding. Then it needs to prevent abrasion and crushing. 

The Most Important Features of Motorcycle Shoes

When looking for the perfect pair of motorcycle shoes, you need to consider a few features and qualities. This will ensure you get the best pair of shoes for your needs, ride style, and budget. Start by making sure you buy the right size. Then consider the build quality to determine durability. Finally, look at the safety features that are built into the shoe. 

Size

If you buy a pair of shoes that don’t fit, you won’t wear them. They will do you no good sitting in the back of your closet. If you buy shoes that sort of fit, they will cause you to experience foot, leg, and back pain. You may even end up with blisters. 

When determining your size, start with your regular shoe size. Then size up or down to account for each manufacturer’s own sizing quirks. When you receive your shoes, try them on at the end of the day when your feet are at their largest. Walk around and flex your fit to simulate riding positions. Wear them for a bit and see if hot spots develop. These are pain points where you’re likely to develop blisters. 

Construction Quality 

The construction quality is how the shoe was made. The better the quality, the more durable the shoe. This is important because you don’t want to buy a new pair of shoes every riding season. It’s also important because the more durable the shoe is, the more protective it will be in an accident. 

Look at the stitching; it should be solid and tight. It can also be reinforced to provide you with support and waterproofing. The shoe’s sole is made from a tough material that won’t wear away from road friction. It should also have a non-slip surface to give you stability when placing your feet down. Finally, look at the materials used to construct the shoe’s upper. They should be thick and strong to provide you with continued support. 

Safety Features 

Don’t forget to look at the safety features that are built into the shoe. While a pair of shoes may look cool, they also need to protect your feet. This could be internal supports through the ankle to provide you with stability and abrasion-resistance for your ankles. The shoe itself should come up over your ankle. There could be a reinforced or steel toe. 

Additionally, there should be a way to adjust the shoe so that you can secure it to your foot. Most use laces for this. The more secure the shoe is on your foot, the less likely it will come loose or all of the way off in an accident. 

Care and Maintenance for Motorcycle Shoes

Close view of legs in motorcycle shoes on a motorbike
Motorcycle shoes are perfect for warm summer days

Properly caring for your motorcycle shoes will help them to avoid degrading and last for as long as possible. Start by always storing your shoes in a cool, dry place. This would typically be your closet. Avoid excess moisture, as this can cause the stitching and materials to rot. Do not keep your shoes outside or in the garage. The excessive heat, cold, and exposure to elements will cause your shoes to age significantly faster. 

Create a routine for when you’re done wearing them. Clean off any dirt, debris, or road gunk. Leaving this grime on your shoes will cause the materials to degrade faster. You could use a dry brush or damp cloth to wipe your shoes clean. Then allow the inside to dry out in a well-ventilated area. This will address potential bacteria growth from your feet sweating in the shoes.  

  • Clean your shoes. 
  • Air the insides out. 
  • Store them in a cool, dry place. 

The Best Motorcycle Shoes FAQ:

Many new riders have a lot of questions about what they should and shouldn’t wear while riding. This can get more confusing when you see experienced riders making unwise choices. Don’t follow the trends when choosing your motorcycle gear. Focus on what is going to be comfortable and keep you safe.  Thankfully, there are many companies out there that are producing safety gear that’s also fashionable. 

Q. What shoes do bikers wear?

Bikers wear shoes with a solid, non-slip sole, ankle protection, and are comfortable when riding. 

Q. What should you not wear on a motorcycle?

Never wear sandals or shoes that don’t securely attach to your feet. This means that slip-on shoes are a bad idea. 

Q. Are jeans good for motorcycle riding?

High-quality jeans are great for riding because they use thicker material that can provide you with a layer of protection. 

Our Top Pick

Our top pick for the best motorcycle shoes is the Alpinestars Men’s Sektor Vented Street Motorcycle Shoes. You’ll find them incredibly comfortable thanks to their microfiber construction and mesh inserts for maximum ventilation. They’re also protective with 3D ankle guards and reinforcement panels. Getting a secure fit is easy with the lace-up front and Velcro securing strap. 

Final Thoughts

The Alpinestars Men’s Sektor Vented Street Motorcycle Shoe won’t let you down with their lightweight comfort and built-in safety features. If your budget requires a more affordable option, the Bilt Dexter Men’s Motorcycle Riding Shoes have fashionable styling, reflective piping, and slip-on functionality.

Sources:

  1. Motorcycle Boots – Wikipedia