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RIDE Adventures Blog

7 Best Casual Motorcycle Shoes for Your Next Ride Around the Block

Posted by Kurt Spurlock on April 30, 2024
Kurt Spurlock
Kurt Spurlock is a writer for the motorcycle and outdoor industries with 15 years of experience in the saddle. When it comes to adventure bikes, he’s all about keeping it fast and light, and has taken his “street legal” DR650 just about everywhere from Big Sur to the Smokey Mountains.

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Look smart, ride smart: The best casual motorcycles shoes pair low-profile style with elevated protection and comfort whether you're riding to work or walking the streets. 

There's nothing quite like walking through a crowded grocery store in a bulky pair of motorcycle boots. The clunks... the squeaks... the sideways glances... We love our dedicated riding boots as much as the next person, but if we're being honest, they kind of suck for day-to-day use. 

At this point you'll all be familiar with the typical talking points around motorcycle footwear. It's well understood that abrasion resistant materials, crush proof soles, and impact protection are all worth their weight in gold, but we want to talk about a criminally overlooked aspect of casual motorcycle shoes: Off-bike performance.  

Most folks who risk riding in regular sneakers do it for two main reasons: They look better than motorcycle boots, and they're more comfortable to walk in.  Today we want to highlight a few pairs of casual motorcycle shoes that both look and feel great off the bike so you've got one less reason to leave those sneakers at home. 

Casual Motorcycle Shoe Quick list:

Shoe: Summary: Price:


TCX Street 3 WP Shoes

Built for the crash, but pass for your favorite pair of Vans. Low profile, waterproof, and comfortable to walk in.  CHECK PRICE
alpinestars-j-6-wp-motorcycle-shoesAlpinestars J-6 WP Leather upper and old-school style that mimics a classic Nike hightop. Elevated material quality for a premium look and feel.   CHECK PRICE


Forma Hyper Boots

Sky-high full-grain leather sneakers with serious impact and crush protection. Side zipper makes for convenient entry and exit.  CHECK PRICE

alpinestars-faster-3-riding-shoesAlpinestars Faster 3 Riding Shoes

Track-inspired style in a more casual package delivers added safety without the added bulk. CHECK PRICE

tcx-ikasu-casual-motorcycle-shoesTCX Ikasu

Japanese street style meets CE-certified protection in this lace-free sneaker. Looks wild, but packs the usual TCX safety treatment. CHECK PRICE

dainese-metractive-riding-shoesDainese Metractive Riding Shoes

Flows air like nothing else we've worn for outstanding comfort and protection in the hottest weather.  CHECK PRICE

cortech-menace-casual-motorcycle-shoesCortech Menace Motorcycle Shoes

One for all the Chuck Taylor fans: Converse All Star style with proper abrasion, impact, and crush protection.  CHECK PRICE


Motorcycle Trip Kit

Do Motorcycle Shoes Actually Make A Difference?

Considering the current debate around sub-par CE testing standards, you'd be forgiven for asking the unforgivable question: Why can't I just ride in sneakers? Here are the broad strokes on why that's still a bad idea. 

Crush Protection is Key

While some full grain leather or suede sneakers could probably handle a slide across pavement well enough, the key difference between your favorite pair or high tops and a dedicated riding shoe is actually found in the sole, not than the upper. 

That's because any motorcycle shoe worth buying (and any that carries a standard safety certification) is required to have a crush-resistant sole, a feature that's woefully lacking from all casual sneakers. The idea here is that even under the full weight of your motorcycle, the sole of a riding shoe holds its shape rather than folding up like a taco, which is exactly what any pair of Nikes or Vans will do when the chips are down.

We'd consider this a "bare minimum" for any proper motorcycle shoe, although the best of the bunch go a step further when it comes to protection. Riding shoes may be much more flexible than boots in the toe box, but in terms of lateral flexibility, the two should feel identical. 

Reinforcement and Padding

While the sole of a motorcycle shoe is the main attraction, additional protection around the heels, ankles, and toes is always appreciated. Riding shoes will never match the added beef of a serious racing or motocross boot, but if you can maintain walking comfort while adding protection from foot and ankle fractures, why wouldn't you? 

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Ideally this means flexible armor like D3O covering both ankles (some manufactures only cover the outer ankle), as well as some extra material and/or rigidity in the heel cup and over the toe box. Casual motorcycle shoes won't do much for hyperflexion injuries, but they're worlds better for the occasional bounce off the pavement. 

Abrasion Resistance

Not all leather is created equal. Most casual sneakers use "split grain" leather or suede because it's lighter and less bulky, but it's also thinner and less protective than the full-grain leather found in dedicated riding shoes. 

It's also important to point out that even if a casual sneaker uses full grain leather or suede, the "crash-worthiness" of the material is untested. Say what you will about the current CE regulations, but the consistency of the European Union's abrasion tests are one of the few redeeming qualities of EN-17092 standards. 

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Our Top Picks for Casual Motorcycle Shoes 

Have your cake and eat it too. Here are our current favorite motorcycle shoes that look great, protect well, and deliver all-day comfort on and off the bike. 

1. TCX Street 3 WP Shoes

We've been living with the TCX Street 3 for a little over a year now, and pound for pound it might be our favorite casual motorcycle shoe of all time. This handsome shoe borrows old-school style from Vans' popular Sk8-Hi sneaker, but hides a heavy dose of protective features beneath its attractive exterior.

Our favorite of which is the "Z-Plate" technology found in the midsole of the Street 3, which provides heavy duty lateral crush protection while still flexing naturally when you're walking off the bike. Combine that with an Ortholite insole and you've got one of the most comfortable and stylish CE-certified riding shoes on the market.

kurt-wearing-saint-engineered-motorcycle-riding-jeans"As the name suggests, the Street 3 is the ideal motorcycle shoe for casual street riding." 


  • Looks like your favorite pair of high tops
  • Great comfort and walkability
  • CE-certified crush protection and abrasion resistance


  • Look and feel a bit bulkier than a regular sneaker
  • Waterproof versions run warm in summer weather


TCX Street 3 Shoes


2. Alpinestars J-6 WP Shoes

Nike fans rejoice: the Alpinestars J-6 WP is about as close to a Dunk High or Jordan 1 as you'll find with proper road-going safety features. Unlike your favorite pair or Dunks, however, these motorcycle shoes are fully waterproof, making them ideal for daily riders who occasionally get caught in the rain.

Outside the J-6 gets a premium look and feel courtesy of a full-grain leather upper, while inside a soft padded lining keeps your feet from rubbing against protective bits in the heel and ankles. We'll also note that the J-6 is one of the few casual motorcycle shoes that sport solid reinforcements in the toe box, which helps justify the asking price for us. 


  • Slick street style
  • Full grain leather and suede look and feel premium
  • Above-average protection for the heel, ankle, and toe


  • Expensive for a riding shoe
  • Not ideal for wide feet


Alpinestars J-6 WP Shoes


3. Forma Hyper Boot

If you've ever slipped on a pair of Forma's popular adventure boots, you'll know these folks take boots seriously. Their Hyper Boot is a casual motorcycle shoe applies that same ethos to a high-top sneaker with high style. 

The Hyper Boot gets props from us for its full grain leather upper, which Forma wraps around additional hard protection for the heel cup, toe box, and ankles. Combine that with a waterproof/breathable Drytex liner and you've a great three-season riding shoe that works as hard as it plays from the daily commute to weekend rides in the mountains. 


  • Extra-tall full grain leather upper for maximum abrasion protection
  • Added hard protection for the heel, toe, and ankle
  • Waterproof lining works great for commuters


  • Bit heavy/bulky
  • Extra tall collar isn't for everyone


Forma Hyper Boot

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4. Alpinestars Faster 3 Riding Shoe

While we typically prefer our casual motorcycle shoes to be as low-profile as possible, we know some folks prefer a more moto-centric look for their riding footwear. If racetrack inspiration is what you're after, Alpinestars' Faster 3 shoes will scratch the itch. 

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We're fans of the Faster 3 because they blend equal parts race-inspired style and race-inspired protection with a double dose of TPR reinforcement in both the toe and heel. The sole sports a rigid shank for added stiffness and crush protection, and Alpinestars even added additional padding over both sides of the ankle for additional comfort and safety.   


  • Race boot style for the street
  • Above average protection/ CE certified
  • Breathable Rideknit version available for warm weather


  • Not the most low-profile look
  • Fits on the narrow side


Alpinestars Faster 3 Riding Shoe

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5. TCX Ikasu Shoes

Quite possibly the most uniquely styled motorcycle shoes on the market, TCX's Ikasu riding shoes are made in Italy, but their look is pulled straight from the streets of Japan. You won't mistake the Ikasu's laceless construction for anything else out there, but the futuristic design isn't just for looks. 

The single front-zip entry makes the Ikasu one of the easiest shoes to put on and take off money can buy, and also means there are no laces to worry about getting caught on your foot controls or fed to a chain.

The Ikasu's wild style is backed by all TCX's usual safety tech as well including their Z-Plate shank, D3O ankle padding, and hard heel and toe reinforcements. 


  • Unique futuristic style
  • Zippered entry is lightning fast and won't catch your foot controls
  • Typical premium safety features we expect from TCX


  • Polarizing looks
  • No laces = no adjustability


TCX Ikasu Air Motorcycle Shoes


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6. Dainese Metractive Air Shoes

The folks at Dainese recently purchased TCX, which means their latest lineup of casual motorcycle shoes have inherited all the best parts of the brand's renowned safety and design. Chief among them is TCX's easy-walking Z-Plate shank and Groundtrax outsole, which deliver equal parts on-bike protection and off-bike comfort. 

The Metractive Air made our list due largely to its highly-breathable knit mesh upper, which flows air better in hot weather than anything else we've tested. We'll also give Dainese the nod for their super-secure lace garage design, which marks a major improvement over the bare-bones elastic strip most motorcycle shoes employ.   


  • Outstanding in hot weather
  • Dainese design with TCX technology
  • Lace garage looks great, adds peace of mind


  • Too breathable for cooler temps
  • Toe box feels a little soft


Dainese Metractive Air Shoes


7. Cortech Menace Riding Shoes

We know we're not alone in wishing the folks at Converse would make a CE-certified version of their classic All Star sneaker. That day may never come, but thankfully Cortech's Menace riding shoes are here to scratch the itch in the meantime. 

Free Motorcycle Trip Kit

The Menace swaps Converse's classic cotton canvas for a heavy-duty polyester, which looks the part while doubling down on abrasion resistance. You'll also find molded hard parts in the heel and toe beneath the Menace's low-profile exterior, which work in tandem with a crush-resistant midsole to meet EN 13634 standards. 


  • Looks like your favorite sneaker
  • Legit CE certified protection
  • Wildly affordable


  • Definitely chunkier than your favorite pair of Chucks
  • Runs a bit warm in hotter weather



Cortech Menace Riding Shoes


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Closing Thoughts on this Best Casual Motorcycle Shoes Article…

To put it plainly, you'll never find a dedicated riding shoe that's as comfortable as a pair of sneakers, but a select few come damn close. Because our rock-bottom requirement in a casual motorcycle shoe is a crush-proof sole, they'll never flex quite as naturally as an old pair of Chucks, but that's a very good problem to have when your foot is underneath a 500-pound motorcycle with a hot exhaust. 

Protective footwear is one of the most important pieces of riding gear money can buy, second only to a good helmet in terms of effectiveness and injury prevention. A proper pair or riding boots may be the weapon of choice for dedicated touring, but when off-bike performance matters, nothing beats a good motorcycle shoe. 

→Read More: 5 Best Motorcycle Sunglasses for any Style and 7 Best Motorcycle Jeans That Will Actually Save Your Skin.

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