There are many factors that influence our decisions on what riding gear to wear. When it comes to motorcycle footwear your destination and day’s activities are key factors. If you’re off to hang with your mates a pair of trainers will suffice. Commuting to the office? You’ll probably want something that looks smart.
In the past, this would have meant wearing regular footwear as opposed to dedicated riding gear, but these days we’re spoilt for options. Whether you’re chasing a set of classic boots, smart looking work shoes or casual trainers there’s a manufacturer out there making a riding shoe in that style. Here are 10 of the Best Cafe Racer Boots that hit the market in 2020.
Gasolina Classic Boots
These tall leather Classic Boots from Gasolina are the archetypal footwear of 1950s cafe racers. Similar to the boots that influenced their creation the Gasolina Classic Boots are painstakingly made by hand. The order process involves submitting accurate measurements to ensure a perfect fit and production takes around 3 weeks to complete – but they’re well worth the wait.
The Gasolina Classic Boots are made up of a premium top grain 1.8 – 2mm leather outer and a supple glove-soft leather liner. A special dying process ensures the colour seeps all the way through the leather which reduces the chances of visible scuff marks. The Classic Boots measure 15 inches (38cm) from the ground up and can be worn under or over your riding pants.
Removing the boots is made easy thanks to a sturdy zipper down the length of the back which Gasolina has lined to keep the elements out. A natural rubber sole offers a durable, solid grip and all day on/off the bike comfort. Thanks to the boots double Goodyear welt construction the sole can also be replaced if you ever manage to wear it out.
Anyone who used to skate will appreciate the styling of the Cortech Slayer Riding Shoe. These classic mid-height trainers are an ideal addition to your casual riding garb offering the perfect balance of style and performance.
The Cortech Slayer Riding Shoes feature a slick leather lightning bolt motif across each suede sidewall. High impact zones such as the toe and heel are made from 1.0 – 1.2mm drum dyed leather and are backed by thermoplastic cups to take the brunt of any hard knocks. Additional protection comes in the form of dual-density contoured ankle protectors and a reinforced anti-twist midsole.
To keep your feet firmly planted the skate styled sole uses an anti-slip design and the shoes come with both white and black laces to suit whatever look you’re going for. Available in either all black or black/gum colourways you’ll find yourself reaching for these streetwear styled shoes even when you aren’t planning to ride.
Features: Classic skate shoe style / toe and heel armour
There’s no hiding the fact we’re big fans of the Icon 1000 range. In our humble opinion, it’s some of the best looking, best priced and feature-packed gear available. These Icon 1000 Brigand Boots are the perfect example.
Like most of their gear, the Icon 1000 Brigand Boots run D30 armour which is more streamlined and comfortable than hard TPU style inserts. In these boots, you’ll find it guarding both sides of each ankle. The padded mid-height upper is made from neoprene for improved comfort while the rest of the boot is constructed from durable, hard-wearing leather.
The two colourways of either tan brown or black differ slightly in style mainly due to the sole colour, but either option will look right at home on your cafe racer or custom ride. “Shifter ribs” on each toe add to the boot’s unique look and low profile laces help prevent any dangerous tangles while you ride.
Riders who live and breathe the Moto GP are sure to recognize the Spidi brand. Along with their extensive range of technical riding gear, Spidi also offers a wide range of motorcycle boots under the XPD name. Amongst the power ranger-esque racing boots in the XPD catalogue, you’ll find a collection of classic, urban style footwear that includes the X-village Boots.
These stylish mid-height boots are as appropriate for the office as they are for the bike. Available in either dark brown or black colorways they feature a contrasting white vulcanized rubber sole. The outer chassis uses oiled, water-repellent 1.4mm cow leather with 0.8mm thick panels at the rear for unrestricted ease of movement.
The boot’s oiled laces offer additional water resistance and polyurethane malleolus protectors keep your ankles safe. Reinforced toes and heels round out a solid safety offering while side access zips allow you to slip them on and off without the need to struggle with laces
Features: Side access zipper / contrasting sole / water-repellant
If you’re planning on doing any riding in the rain a good pair of waterproof boots is a must. Released earlier this year, just in time for the northern hemisphere’s wetter months, the Belstaff Resolve Waterproof Boots are an ideal solution.
Built to Belstaff’s high standards, both in style and quality, the Resolve Waterproof Boots are constructed from premium full-grain leather. Leather is naturally waterproof but to prevent moisture from seeping through seams the boots are lined with a waterproof, breathable liner.
Despite their stylish appearance the Resolve Waterproof Boots are dedicated riding gear and feature everything we’d look for in a motorcycle boot. The toe, heel and ankles are all kept safe thanks to inbuilt protectors. A Vibram sole offers ample grip in all conditions and there’s a leather overlay on each boot to delay wear from gear shifts.
On top of all this Belstaff has been careful to create a boot that’s comfortable enough to wear day in day out, on or off the bike.
Features: Waterproof / no-slip sole / comfort focused design
You don’t have to take our word that the Icon Superduty 5 Motorcycle Trainers are a quality motorcycle shoe. Now in their 5th generation of production, they’ve been refined and redesigned to near perfection.
These trainer-styled, mid-height shoes are about as inconspicuous as riding boots come. Hidden away inside their unassuming exterior are form-fitting D30 malleolus protectors. And the addition of a hard-wearing footboard contributes to the Superduty’s safety certification.
Adding to their unique streetwear aesthetic is a midfoot retention strap, symmetrical shifter details on the toes and a Tectuff coated leather upper. If you’re chasing riding gear that looks nothing like riding gear the Icon Superduty 5 motorcycle trainers are an ideal solution.
Features: Single layer construction / stretch fit / knee armour
UK riding gear manufacturer Merlin is quickly becoming one of the country’s top riding gear brands. Their catalogue features items for even the most fashion-conscious rider and the Ether Boots are no exception.
The Merlin Ether Boots are a full-grain leather, round toe boot that could easily be defined as all-purpose. With styling suited to just about any occasion, you’ll find yourself wearing them even when riding isn’t on your radar. Symmetrical shifter pads tie in nicely with the boot’s double stitched seams and the inclusion of side entry zippers means fitting them is a cinch.
On top of looking great, the Merlin Ether Boots are packing CE approved protection. D30 armour guards the side of each ankle and the footbed itself is a CE rated item. Being a UK-based brand Merlin also recognizes the importance of keeping water out. So to keep your feet dry the entire boot is lined with a Hipora triple breathable liner.
Riding in inclement weather can be risking business. On top of having to deal with slippery surfaces your visibility is often obscured – worse still, it can be difficult for other motorists to see you. In cases such as this, increasing your visual presence is good practice. Stylmartin are big supporters of this approach and it’s one they’ve applied to their Matt WP Riding Shoes. These purposeful waterproof boots may look stealthy during the day, but thanks to a series of reflective details they’ll stand out when you need them to most.
Featuring a stylish mix of matt and polished leather finishes the Stylmartin Matt WP Riding Shoes are the epitome of modern streetwear style. However, a quick scan over the boots feature list confirms their true purpose. Safety is offered in the form of malleolus protectors and a hardwearing, oil-resistant, anti-slip sole.
Comprehensive waterproofing is provided by hydro-grain leather and an internal breathable waterproof membrane. As for low light visibility, Stylmartin have integrated reflective panels into the rear of each boot and they’ve even threaded reflective strands into the laces.
Rounding out Icon’s trifecta of awesome riding shoes in 2020 are the new Icon 1000 Truant Boots. For some reason, moc toe boots intercepted the motorcycle scene a few years back to the benefit of brands like Red Wing Boots. However, while Red Wings are undeniably good-looking they offer very little in the way of rider protection.
The Icon 1000 Truant Boots are a casual trainer styled moc-toe boot that’ll put those Red Wings to shame in any crash test. Bolstering the boots abrasion-resistant full-grain leather chassis are D30 armour inserts and a specially engineered board that combine to offer CE certified levels of safety.
A hidden grille lacing system also prevents any dangerous tangles from taking place while side panel perforations help keep your feet cool on warmer rides. Best of all, unlike those uber-expensive Red Wings, the Icon 1000 Truant Boots won’t cost you a small fortune.
Features: Single layer construction / stretch fit / knee armour
Another entry into the moc-toe riding boot range for 2020 was the Rev’it! Mohawk 2 boots. These tall, shin height boots adopt a formal aesthetic approach making them ideal for the office or a classy night out. Finished in timeless full-grain black leather and featuring a smart-looking stitched sole you’ll find yourself questioning their ability as a motorcycle boot, but never fear, Rev’it! always places function before form.
The Rev’it! Mohawk 2 Boots deliver rider protection in the form of a reinforced heel and toe design, armoured ankles and an anatomically shaped footbed for both comfort and safety. To prevent the ingress of dirt, wind and water the tongue of each boot is gusseted and stitched and riding comfort is improved thanks to a padded ankle zone.
Riding motorcycles can quickly take their toll on boots. Gear shifters are the biggest culprit so to add longevity without sacrificing style the Rev’it! Mohawk 2 Boots come with a removable shifter strap.
Features: High cut / smart style / removable shifter strap