Date reviewed: January 2017 | Tested by: Steve Rose| Price: £285 | www.sidiselect.co.uk
Boots are simple for me. One pair for April to September that are lightweight, sporty and waterproof, another for October through till March that are a bit more robust, a little warmer and waterproof. It’s personal, but I prefer leather to synthetic and I expect them to be easy to get on and off, flexible to wear over or under jeans and last at least three years without breaking despite not being cleaned, or looked after in any way at all.
Oh, yes, and to protect my feet, ankles and shins should a 250kg motorcycle land on top of them.
Leather outers with a Gore Tex liner. A bit more bulk than my Sidi B2 summer boots and a much chunkier sole that resembles a hiking boot. There’s subtle plastic armour on the heel, calf and instep, but no toe slider and the shin has two layers of soft armour, rather than the usual hard plastic.
The inner liner is Cambrelle, which adds some insulation and the fastening is via one sturdy zip and a leather flap that runs across the front and fastens with Velcro to the other side.
They are a little too wide at the top to get narrow-leg jeans over, but there’s plenty of adjustment to geta comfy fit inside..
After two winters both main zips still work smoothly with tangs intact and the Velcro still sticks. A conservative estimate would be 10,000 miles ridden, almost all in foul, kit-wrecking winter conditions. Which, if you think about it is like being sand-blasted at 60mph in a freezing wet bucket for seven days straight. For them to still look this good and work this well is a testament to the design and construction.
One three-quarter length YKK zip on each boot plus Velcro running around the top. Done up tight I can get some jeans over the top, a bit slacker lets me get leathers inside with plenty of room.
They are a little more fiddly to get on than my summer boots, but still a lot easier than many full-on race boots.
I have narrow, size ten feet and often find that bike boots come up short. These are a Euro size 45 (ten and a half) and they fit me perfectly. The chunky sole and internal protective shank make them a little clumsy to walk around in for too long, but nothing like as bad as proper adventure or off-road boots.
They have been 100 per cent waterproof, absolutely dependable regardless of the weather. Warm too – with thick winter socks, I can’t remember the last time I had cold feet. The Gore-Tex liner breathes well so occasional summer rides, when my other boots are elsewhere have been comfortable too. That’s impressive, but for this money I’d expect that.
The thick soles rob a bit of feel for dancing on the footpegs, but the trade off is that they are re-assuringly sturdy. They’ve barely worn at all after 10,000 miles moving around on footpegs and many hours walking. There’s still plenty of life left in them.
At 1.23kg each, they are 25 per cent heavier than my summer Gore-Tex boots. Real leather is heavier than synthetic equivalents and making a sole that chunky obviously adds some weight. They’re not race boots though and I’m happy to take the extra half a kg per pair.
A great, solid road boot that works well on most bikes. The sole design is a little chunky for the most extreme sports bikes, but you wouldn’t buy these if you had one of those. Easier to get on than the fussiest ‘boot-within-a-boot’ brigade, but not as simple as some, it’s not a problem unless you’re a competitive person that gets dressed with a stopwatch. The full leather uppers give me confidence and subtle, but plentiful plastic armour is built in a way that it flexes without squeaking.
There are more supportive boots for this price and better protected ones too, but they are all more focussed towards sport or adventure riding and most aren’t waterproof or warm. The appeal of the Gore-Tex Armadas is their versatility and what has proven to be exceptional weather protection in wet and cold weather. As a high-miles, year-round road rider, these are pretty-much perfect. In three years nothing has broken or failed and they are still as waterproof as when they were new.
List price is £285 and I’d be happy to pay that. I’ve seen plenty out there with impressive discounts and at those prices these boots are an absolute bargain.