Hopefully you've read my personal philosophy about riding boots. If not, I highly recommend taking a look before passing on the idea of investing a pair of boots that offer more protection than those cute, really stylish "motorcycle" boots that you saw at the mall.
The main difference between a protective riding boot and those cute, wedgy Cole Haan, Nine West or other boots you're thinking about wearing is protection. I'll say it again, PROTECTION. This time in bold. PROTECTION.
I don't know what it is, but many riders (including myself, back when I was a noob) forget about their feet. Our feet do almost everything on our motorcycles! Braking, stopping, shifting. It's so important to have this part of our body covered too.
As I mention in my boots overview, one of the main jobs your boots are supposed to do is to keep your feet from being crushed. Not by a car, not by a truck, but just by your own motorcycle! The fact that you're small ankle bones are vulnerable to the weight of your 400-500lb beast is more than enough to brake, fracture or shatter bones in your feet/ankles. I'm not saying boots will eliminate the possibility of injury, but just like the rest of our gear, they minimize the risk. I'll take a fracture or sprain over a break/shattering any day!
So I'm going to give you a few recommendations for real boots that offer real protection where you need them. These are all comfortable for walking, breathable, waterproof and will last you a good 3-5 years with almost daily wear and tear. They're all meant to be worn under your riding pants. Although there may be space to tuck your jeans in, if you're wearing actual motorcycle pants then you're going to wear them over the boots.
All of the sport touring style boots below (non track looking) would also be perfect on a scooter. Super comfortable and a clean look.
Keep in mind that none of these offer the protection that a track boot offers in terms of extra ankle support/bracing, shin protection and reinforcement in key impact points. But they offer way more protection than those hiking boots, doc martens, horseback riding or sneakers you're wearing, so save up some money and invest in a pair of Real riding boots!
Alpinestars Gran Torino GORE-TEX®
MSRP $299.95, RoadRider San Jose (local) Although these aren't on the Alpinestars website, they are the newest introduction for the women's line for Spring 2012.
Daytona Ladystar GORE-TEX®
I want to recommend these SO bad, but they're very difficult to get from Germany right now. Here's a link to my review and where you can call to find out about availability and how they saved my feet over and over again. They offer 2 inches of additional vertical height, the most of any women's (protective motorcycle) boot currently on the market (not including high heel boots, no)
The Siren I believe is an updated version of the previous Dainesella boot. I really like the styling on these. These also feature a 3/4 length zipper to allow for ample calf space. These also have a fairly narrow fit in the toebox as the toes are a little bit more tapered (not pointy, just not super round).
Dainese Luma GTX
The Luma is essentially the lower half of the Siren, which is fantastic if you have any issues finding boots to fit your calves! These are also fully waterproof with a GORE-TEX liner, which is a really great deal at this price point. I think these offer the most heel height next to the Daytonas.
I had to go up a full size to fit into these, to a 38, because they were sooo narrow, especially at the entry. Order one full size up and you'll be much happier. They'll break in over time, as will any leather boot. If you have narrowish feet, you'll like the fit especially around the ankles and the arch. I think the zippers are a little skinny, so I'd use a zipper pull on them to make on and off easier, and it won't wear out as quickly. You can really tell the quality of a good boot (motorcycling or otherwise) by the quality of the zipper. Out of all the riding boots I've tried on, these have the narrowest calf fitment since the zipper goes all the way to the top. I have a 14" calf measurement and they fit me perfectly.
Sidi Livia Rain
The Livia is an update to the old Jasmine. In addition to the styling changes, they've added more reflective features and a reinforced toe shifter. Very calf friendly, with a 3/4 zipper and velcro adjustment. The fitment on Sidis is generally wider around the ankles, heels and calves. If you need more space in those areas, you'll appreciate the fit profile on these. Otherwise, consider the Dainese or Gaernes for a snugger overall fit.
MSRP $219.99 Revzilla (online), TCXboots.com Euro sizes 38-42 (their website says they're offered starting at 35/US 5, but it doesn't look like that size is available through any retailers.) I'm usually a 7, and I wear a 37 in these. Very calf friendly, with a 3/4 zipper and velcro adjustment. The toebox is tapered, (not pointy but not super round) so you may find them to be a little tight up there if you have a wider foot.
Want Even More Protection?
Maybe it's your first track day or you're looking for something for all around street riding. Here are some ideas. Keep in mind that these are designed a little more towards performance and more protection. They also have a very sporty, forward articulated riding position in the ankles. If you're riding an upright dual sport/ standard or cruiser, these will be far more uncomfortable than the sport touring styles above.
Alpinestars Stella SMX-5
These are based on the men's SMX-5, offering the same features/function. Everyone I know who has these boots love the way they fit and feel. I'm told that in general, Alpinestars are more comfortable, but I think that's going to depend on your feet and what fits you the best. These fit generally snug all the way around (ankles, heels/arches).
Dainese ST Avant Race Lady
MSRP $299.95 www.dainese.com, Dstore San Francisco (local) Something that's a little different from other boots is the rear zipper, making it easier to step in and out. This one is also vegan friendly, made of Lorica instead of cowhide. These fit generally snug all the way around (ankles, heels/arches).
Sidi Fusion Lei
Sidi Vertigo Lei
Read my review here.
If you're a fan of pink, you can still find last year's patent leather black and pink style in local dealerships, online or on MotoNation's website. The Vertigo offers more protection than the Fusion and would be a great track boot with the extra heel and calf protection, as well as additional calf space adjustment to accommodate leathers.