In my days of crazy motorcycling youth, I didn't bother with any boots.
I was lucky to never break an ankle or foot.
I remember having to kick over my XR500 after dropping it; my right foot was so bloody bruised from all the kicking that the next day, I could hardly walk. That didn't teach me, though.
Catching roadkill with my foot once didn't teach me either.
I suppose just age and wisdom caught up with me and now I won't get on any bike without proper footwear, even if it's only a pair of Sidi Dohas.
So, no, boots are not NEEDED to ride a motorcycle. But it's better to wear them.
Successfully surviving motorcycling since 1976.