When you are looking at adventure boots and mx boots on sites such as amazon or eBay, it’s easy to confuse one with the other. The large amount of variants between each one and the more often than not poor image qualities can make choosing the best boot a rather tricky choice. The truth of the matter is that as boots, they couldn’t be any further apart. The construction of each one is different and they behave in totally different ways, especially when you’re on the motorcycle. We’re going to do our best in describing the main differences as well as the major pros and cons of each. Do note however that we’re generalizing things when we’re discussing strictly adventure boots versus mx boots. Nowadays at least, you can find tons of adventure/mx mix boots which utilize characteristics from both types. For the sake of this article, we’ll be referring to adventure and mx boots in their most popular form. For more articles on motorcycle footwear, check out our guide on the best motorcycle boots for wide feet.
Comparison between adventures boots vs mx boots
First of all, let’s talk a little bit about how they compare. As far as weight is concerned, on average adventure boots are 2 lbs. lighter than mx boots (per side). Most adventure boots fall in the 2.5 to 3 lbs. weight category, a significant improvement over the 4 to 4.5 lbs. mx boots. Although that may not seem like a massive thing, lighter boots mean less fatigue and easier riding. If you’re going to be travelling for extended periods of time, a boot’s weight can make all the difference between comfort and a nuisance.
There is also a pretty significant height differences. Adv boots are typically between 12 to 15 inches tall, very rarely dipping into the 10 and 11 inch range. Motocross boots on the other hand are commonly 15 to 16 inches tall. Obviously, having a taller boot will mean a somewhat more compromising position with limited movement. In fact, we’d argue that it’s the height not the weight making mx boots less ideal to everyday driving.
Then we get to a really big issue with motorcycle boots: water. There’s only a handful of mx boots which are genuinely waterproof and don’t let any of it seep inside the actual boot. By contrast, most, if not all, adventure boots feature a waterproof design. They will comfortably stop water entering the inside for years and years to come. Despite that, adventure boots haven’t lost any of their flexibility. The shaft is nice and wide and the forefoot area boasts an impressive flex. There’s a ton of leather but not a lot of plastic. Adventure boots feel like quality items (the majority of them), boasting more flexibility and comfort. They don’t feel too far off casual foot wear.
Mx boots don’t make a compromise for comfort. Externally, there’s about as much plastic as it’s humanly possible to get on the outside of a boot. Plastic is, naturally, a lot cheaper than leather. By cramming the exterior full of plastic mx boots manage to save some manufacturing costs but end up ultimately losing out on quality in the long run. They won’t be as comfortable to walk or ride as the adventure boots, but they have a slightly different purpose anyway. Basically, they’re designed to withstand a ton of abuse. Banging your feet into things, having the bike catching on rocks, roots, etc.
When it comes to price, you’re once again left with a disappointing amount of choice. Quality adventure boots cost upwards of $250, but are closer to $400-$500 if you want to get a really good pair. Mx boots on the other hand are much more attainable. You can find excellent products at just about all price points. Even the cheapest $100 boots offer some redeeming features, which is more than what can be said for a $100 adventure boot.
Now here’s where it gets interesting. Although they were designed for different applications, most people will tell you to wear as much boot as you’re capable of tolerating. For most on-road and light trail riding, you’re completely fine using adventure boots. They’ll offer plenty of protection without sacrificing comfort. If you’re riding on more challenging trails with lots of rocks and mud, you’re probably better off getting an mx boot.
Most popular brands
If you’re after affordable adventure boots, we strongly suggest you take a look at Forma and their entry-level offerings. Don’t let that entry-level tag fool you. They’re just about as good as any other adventure boot out there. Alpinestars does a wonderful job of offering both entry and high-level boots suitable for most if not all pockets, but it’s the REV’IT or TCX boots you really want if you’ve got the cash. At around $450 per pair, they’re not what you’d call cheap, but they are probably the best adventure boot money can currently buy. The SIDI Adventure 2 Boots are the most expensive coming in at almost $500, but they’re not that much better than TCX.
When it comes to mx boots, you’re far less restricted in terms of choice. Alpinestars makes excellent boots at all price points, but our money goes on Fox. Fly is a pretty strong competitor, as is O’Neal, but if you’re after the most expensive boots it’s going to have to be TCX yet again. Six Six One is a popular brand in the mx world, and for a good reason. They produce excellent boots at decent prices, and you can often find them on most pro riders’ feet.