Boots For Scoots: A Buyer's Guide to Riding Boots

A Mini Buyers Guide to Casual Riding Kicks

Sometimes it’s overkill to pull on the mil-spec clunkers just for a jaunt cross town, right? Luckily, there’s a boot for that (in fact, there are dozens of options to choose from). Fortunately for you, we have standards, so all the kicks assembled here are mid-height (for ease of entry) have a security strap (lest it fly off at inappropriate moments) and are comfy both on and off the bike (so you don’t feel like Optimus Prime after you dismount).

Many of our rides may be less than 5 miles, but that’s no reason to throw on a pair of sneakers...

Alpinestars Harlem Waterproof Boot $180
If you want style without skimping on function, the Harlem boot delivers. This mid-cut number sports integrated armor—you can subtly feel the ankle protection and the internal heel counter molded into the inner boot. Extra material over the toe offers comfort on upshifts, too. The front aperture offers easy access—just slip in, zip up, strap the external Velcro material down and go. A fine-tooth tread pattern is grippy on or off bike, but we're more keen on the full grain leather construction—it's bonded with a waterproof membrane so you stay dry out in the field.

Yea: Nicely integrated retention strap; Euro style in spades; waterproof!
Nay: Flat insole with little arch support; pricey

Icon Super Duty 4 Boot $90
Like the Super Dutys before it, the fourth iteration of Icon's riding boot has staked out a permanent spot in our closet. The clean lines of the leather upper keep you looking sharp, and belie the nicely padded internal ankle and tongue. An easy lace-up front also comes with a midfoot retention strap with a locking aluminum buckle that's ski-boot simple to engage. The steel shank and new rubber outsole gives a nice spring to your step, and good grip. The redesigned toebox gives us more room and we really dig the insole and its superior arch support, too.

Yea: Arch support and great comfort on/off the bike; nice price
Nay: Tread isn't as aggressive as we'd like

River Road Cross Roads Buckle $99
This more-traditional entry sports just the basics, but that's a good thing. The Cross Roads' 5-inch shaft height covers your ankle for protection, while down below, an oil-resistant rubber outsole with Goodyear welt construction and a tempered steel shank protects your piggies from flying road shrapnel. The 1 1/4- inch lugged heel is also aggressively treaded. A padded insole with moisture-wicking lining provides some relief from the wear and tear of long tours. The side-strap with buckle secures the boot to your foot, and the Cross Roads even include a 1-year manufacturer's warranty.

Yea: Affordable, good-looking protection; solid construction
Nay: Finicky buckle-and-lace combo; insole could be more padded

Tourmaster Nomad Boot $120
Though it looks like a carbon copy of the Cross Roads, the Nomad adds water-resistant leather construction to the mix. It too offers an oil-resistant rubber sole with an aggressive tread, but it sports a taller heel and lower toe box for easier shifting. It's smoother to slip the Nomads on as well; lace them up, pull the strap over the tongue and snap it down. Snaps tucked under the chrome buckles make for less fumbling when donning them. The removable padded foot bed is a nice touch, offering comfort and decent arch support, and ankle tops are padded.

Yea: Good comfort; snap-down buckles; water resistant
Nay: Like everyone else here, no reflective stripe for night riding