Skip to Content
From The Guest Room is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Read more

Are Cowboy Boots Good for Riding Motorcycles?

Are Cowboy Boots Good for Riding Motorcycles?

Cowboy boots are one of the most versatile boots of the 20th century thanks to the evolution in their construction.

Nowadays, you can see cowboy boots popping up outside ranchs in the American West. They can be a sturdy shield for construction sites or elegant footwear for the office.

On the other hand, our riders also wonder if they can use cowboy boots for riding a motorcycle. Well, this is an interesting question!

Honestly, the answer is yes, but the point is, that not all cowboy boots are suitable for motorcycles.

In today’s post, we will help our riders understand this matter more.

Key takeaways

  • You can use cowboy boots for motorcycle riding, but not all cowboy boots are suitable.
  • You should make sure your cowboy boots have non-slip outsoles (usually made of rubber). This helps your feet don’t slip out of the pegs, thereby ensuring better stability.
  • Cowboy boots should also have non-slip heels, you should choose heels with rubber heel caps to accommodate that. Also, the heel should have a flat and wide bottom and not be too high (no more than 1 1/2 inches). The above ensures that you can easily shift while riding a motorcycle.
  • Stay away from cowboy boots with slippery outsoles and heels made from leather, this is the traditional outsole and heel of cowboy boots.
  • You should only use cowboy boots for motorcycle riding at a relative speed and within the allowable range on easy terrain. Because cowboy boots can hardly be compared with motorcycle riding boots in this regard.

A man and a woman wear cowboy boots and are riding a motorcycle

Are Cowboy Boots Good Enough for Riding a Motorcycle?

In the UK or Europe, professional racing motorcycle boots are usually required to meet CE certification standards. This standard is quite similar to the ASTM standard for American work boots. This ensures high safety for the wearer.

Professional racing motorcycle boots are often resistant to tearing, punctures and other external forces. This ensures professional riders have good protection.

Some cowboy boots these days are usually more reinforced (such as steel or composite toe) and are certified to the ASTM standard for American work boots. Therefore, they can appear on dangerous construction sites.

However, no cowboy boots have ever achieved CE certification standards suitable for motorcycle clothing (or anything like it). Therefore, you cannot bring a pair of cowboy boots to participate in professional races.

But in terms of structure, we believe that you can completely use cowboy boots for riding on the street at an allowed and moderate speed.

Man wear the shane cowboy boots and are riding motor

The Shane Cowboy Boots from Tecovas

Cowboy boots certainly can’t compare to specialized motorcycle riding boots. But if you’re not into professional racing or if the states don’t really have any special rules for motorcycle footwear, you can use them to ride a motorcycle!

Riding boots have a very specialized construction that can provide good protection for the ankles, feet and legs. In addition, they provide high comfort and better support for controlling the motorcycle (you can easily shift gears or brake pegs). This is necessary when you are riding a motorcycle at high speed and on uneven terrain.

But if you only use your motorcycle to ride around the city or town at a moderate pace, you may not need that much. And a pair of cowboy boots that I recommend as below should be enough for you to use for this purpose.

In fact, wearing cowboy boots for riding a motor is possible and they can offer relatively good comfort and protection for you on the road.

Riding motorcycle with cowboy boots

The fact has shown that many people use cowboy boots for riding motorcycles. Cowboy boots have heels to rest on the pegs. They also provide good ankle protection, so they will work well for riding a motorcycle.

The construction of cowboy boots can also be considered sturdy as they are made from 100% leather (in fact, the origin of cowboy boots is work boots so they certainly have good durability and protection).

In the past, cowboy boots were also born with a high structure to protect farmers from other pests such as small snakes and scorpions. Amazingly, this tall structure can also protect riders from the elements such as rocks, thorns, or debris.

Cowboy boots with high shafts made from full-grain leather will surely protect your feet and legs from the engine heat.

Besides, they also have good resistance to severe weather. The weather conditions can not hurt you much and you can be guaranteed to be warm in winter and cool in summer. These are the essentials that riders often look for during long trips in unusual weather conditions.

Another highlight is that all “true” cowboy boots have no lace. You won’t have to worry about it getting caught in your motorcycle’s engine.

However, it is not that simple. Actually, it is difficult to ride a motorcycle while wearing traditional cowboy boots. This difficulty mainly comes from their original construction, which is the leather sole and leather heel.

Cowboy boots and hat on the house

What kind of cowboy boots provide enough safety and comfort for riding a motorcycle?

Traditional cowboy boots often have leather soles. So their bottom is often slick, causing slipping off when riding. You don’t want to slip and lay down a 700lb motorcycle.

To solve that problem, you should use modern cowboy boots with patterned or ribbed soles. Currently, there are many cowboy boots with rubber or synthetic soles that meet your requirements.

You also need to pay attention to the heel of cowboy boots. Many cowboy boots also have leather heels with very slippery bottoms that can still prevent your feet from staying in place on the pegs. Plus, there are slanted heels with a height of more than 2 inches. These things make it difficult for you to shift while riding a motorcycle.

And here’s your solution, if the heels of your cowboy boots are not too high (about 1 1/2 inches or less) and have flat bottoms with non-slip rubber heel caps, then you can rest your heels on the pegs and shift easily.

Nowadays, there are many cowboy boots with rubber heel caps to prevent slipping, you can easily find them. As for heel shape, the roper heel and stockman heel will meet the above requirements. These heel types are flat, wide and easy to balance to support shifting.

I also recommend using cowboy boots with a roomy toe box like round toe or square toe for riding a motorcycle. With such toe boxes, your toes will not be numb, instead, you will be more comfortable and feel the rear brake better every time you press.

Man wear cowboy boots with square toes and roper heels

Some types of cowboy boots you can use for riding motors include stockman, roper, or western work boots.

In general, you can rely on cowboy boots for riding motors since they are very solid and safe. A good pair of cowboy boots can last up to 10 years, which proves they are safe and reliable enough to ride motorcycles.

Some comments about wearing cowboy boots for riding a motorcycle

A picture of Erdal Ergin

“Back in the 80s I wore my cowboy boots on my bike. The shifter will mar/mark the toe on your left boot from the black rubber on the shifter. So best to use a darker color boot. I started wearing some black boots because of that. I did not worry about the soles much back then. I was in San Diego and it rarely rained at the time. But the leather soles can be a bit slick” – Victor Harrelson

“Yep. I ride my Harley dang near every day of the week and wear cowboy boots 100% of the time” – Victor Harrelson

My style! Motorcycle, Cowboy Boots and Denim

Update 2022: Tom Cruise wears cowboy boots for riding motorcycles in his film

Well, I just got back from the cinema, and you know what movie I just watched? That is Top Gun 2: Maverick.

This movie is such a masterpiece that made us wait for 36 ​​years to enjoy part 2.

What excites me about this movie is that at the beginning of the movie, Maverick (Tom Cruise) uses a pair of cowboy boots to ride his motorbike on the airport runway.

Wow, can you believe that? This is really the clearest answer to the question of whether cowboy boots can be used to drive a motor. Sure!

Some of my friends say it’s a pair of Tecovas boots. I’m not sure, have you seen Top Gun 2: Maverick? Let me know what brand those cowboy boots are!

Before you leave

In conclusion, while cowboy boots may not be the conventional choice for motorcycle riding, they offer a unique blend of style and certain functional benefits.

Their sturdy construction, high shafts, and slip-resistant soles provide a degree of protection and support, which are essential for safe riding.

However, it’s important to recognize their limitations, especially in terms of ankle support and specialized protection compared to dedicated motorcycle boots.

For those drawn to the allure of the open road and the rugged charm of cowboy boots, integrating these iconic boots into your riding gear can add a touch of personal style to your journey.

But always prioritize safety – ensure your chosen footwear provides adequate protection and comfort for the specific demands of motorcycle riding.

Ultimately, the choice of wearing cowboy boots on a motorcycle should be a balance between personal style preferences and the practical considerations of motorcycle safety gear.

Remember, the road is an unpredictable place, and being well-prepared, both in terms of style and safety, is the key to a fulfilling ride.