Road City Sneaker 1.0 review | Budget biking boots tested


Date reviewed: October 2022 | Tested by: John Milbank | RRP: £49.99 |


Yes, you read that right; the Road City Sneakers on review here cost a shade under fifty quid. As casual-style motorcycle boots go, that’s cheap, yet they offer a surprising level of protection.

I’ve been wearing them for just under 1,000 miles on a 2001 Honda VFR800, a 2019 BMW R1250GS, a 1999 Kawasaki ZX-6R and a 2017 Honda MSX125 to find out if they’re any good, or whether you’d be better off stretching to something a bit more expensive…


Pros & Cons
  • Incredible value
  • Excellent certified protection
  • Fine for walking around in
  • A bit cheap feeling
  • Pull tab broke early on
  • Laces too long
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Construction and features

Unusually, and no doubt how the price is kept so low, these boots are made of dark denim, rather than leather or microfibre. There’s nothing fancy going on here – just a pair of lace-up boots that are designed for motorcycle riding so have armour and reinforcement in all the right places.

Despite how cheap they are, the Road City Sneakers 1.0 (I wonder if there’ll be a version 1.1, or they’ll skip to 2.0 next) seem well put together, with the rubber soles glued securely to the upper.

They do feel a little cheap when you first put them on – almost having something of a cardboard feel – but they’re wearing well and still look good after being worn regularly not just on the bike, but off it too.

My only problem with the construction is that unfortunately one of the handy pull loops on the back of the boots snapped after a few uses. I didn’t bother returning them, but Sportsbikeshop – the only UK distributor of these boots, which are made for its German parent company, Polo – has confirmed that they’d be repaired or more likely replaced with no issues as they have a two-year guarantee.

Surprisingly, despite the lack of any protection pads on the tops of the boots, the gear lever hasn’t caused any noticeable wear to the toe area.


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No zips on the side or Velcro Tom-foolery, these are just simple, lace-up boots. The lace holes have smooth eyelets that allow the tops of the boot to pull open pretty easily in order to slide your foot in, and they draw up smoothly and without lots of lace tugging, as some require.

Being picky, the two sides of the upper draw quite close around my foot when the laces are pulled tight, which doesn’t look as good as a more premium pair, but they don’t come together fully so the boots are still secure.

The laces are way too long though – out of the box I had to wrap them around my ankles before making the bow, so I cut them down to suit. I put new aglets on, hence the bits of red heat-shrink tubing. I thought red would look cool. Maybe I should have used white.

If you choose to cut the laces down rather than buy new ones, all you really need do is melt the ends with a lighter once snipped.


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Protection and certification

Motorcycle boots (like all bike kit now), have to be tested and certified as Personal Protective Equipment. That means they must resist abrasion, bursting, and crushing forces.

What’s incredible is that the Road City Sneakers are certified to the higher Level 2 under EN13634:2017 for impact abrasion resistance, impact cut resistance and transverse rigidity (which is where the sole doesn’t crush sideways if it gets trapped under a bike). They only score ‘1’ for boot height, because they’re ankle boots.

These could easily have been certified as just Level 1, so to see boots at this price being provably safer than many much more expensive ones is excellent.

For everything you need to know about the safety labels in your motorcycle kit, click here.




On the bike the Road City Sneakers feel fine, and despite the denim construction and lack of any protection pads, changing gear doesn’t feel uncomfortable.

I’ve worn these for many miles of dog walks, as well as on the bike, and while they’re maybe a little more ‘clumpy’ feeling than some premium boots, and have a fairly thin insole, they’re pretty comfortable. I’d say that the sole doesn’t have quite as much give as some others, so they’re not quite as good, but I’m still happy in them all day long.


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Sole and grip

The sole is claimed to be non-slip, and generally it’s proven to be, though on a wet tile floor in the office I did find them pretty precarious.

They’re okay though, and there’s little sign of the soles wearing yet, despite nearly 1,000 miles on the bike and weeks of walking on tarmac, concrete and grass.



The Road City Sneakers aren’t claimed to be waterproof, and they’re not in any way at all – water passes pretty much straight through them.

There are lots of boots of this style that are waterproof, but the short height makes them of little practical use beyond a brief shower. At least without a membrane they stay cooler in summer.


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Three alternatives to the Road City Sneakers 1.0

These are some of the best value casual-style motorcycle boots I’ve ever seen, so if you’re looking at alternatives, they’ll likely be more expensive…

  • Also achieving Level 2, the DXR Claytons are leather, and great value at £79.99, though our reviewer did have some concerns over durability.
  • The Spirit Motors Billy Winkers are also £79.99 and made of microfibre. They’re only Level 2 in impact cut resistance, but they’re not bad for the money.
  • The TCX Street 3 boots are something of a benchmark in casual bike footwear, but they’ll set you back £149.99. They also don’t quite meet the protection levels of the Road Cities.

These are just three of many alternatives – you can find all the boots we’ve tested here and be sure to regularly check for the discounts available through Bikesocial membership.


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Road City Sneakers 1.0 review: Verdict

I’m impressed. For fifty quid I really wouldn’t have expected to find a set of motorcycle boots that are this comfortable and protective; this is usually the kind of price that shady, uncertified kit is sold for on Facebook ads, not quality gear from the UK’s biggest motorcycle kit retailer.

Sportsbikeshop has proven that being protected on a bike doesn’t have to cost a fortune, and while I do prefer wearing the TCX Street 3s, if you’re on a tight budget I’d have no problem recommending the Road City Sneakers.