BikeSocial Publisher. Has been riding since before Frankie said ‘Relax’, owned more than 100 bikes and has written for, edited or published most of the UK’s best known bike magazines. Strangely attracted to riding high miles in all weathers, finds track days ‘confusing’ and describes the secret to better riding as ‘being invincible’.
Date reviewed: January 2018 | Tested by: Steve Rose | Price: £249 | www.sidiselect.co.uk
Testing boots is simple. ‘All’ I ask is that they be warm in winter, cool in summer, comfy enough on all kinds of bikes, easy to get on and off and protect my feet, ankles and shins should a 250kg motorcycle land on top of them. Simple huh? Oh, and being a Yorkshireman I don’t want to pay too much money thank you.
So, what I usually look for is leather construction (because I’ve seen synthetic leather fall apart like paper on an abrasion rig), Gore-Tex lining (because it works… always, and feet get wetter than anything else when it rains), a minimum number of simple, robust fasteners and the best balance of protection and comfort.
Leather outers with a Gore-Tex liner, simple-but sturdy armour on the shins, ankles and calves and one zip plus Velcro to get them on. The toe sliders screw on and in three years have yet to fall off or even shed a screw. Both main zips still work smoothly with tangs intact and the Velcro still sticks. I have no idea how many miles I’ve done in these boots, but a conservative estimate would be 30,000. For them to still be waterproof and fully functional after that time says a lot about their construction.
One three-quarter length YKK zip on each boot plus Velcro running the full length. Done up tight I can get jeans over the top, a bit slacker lets me get leathers inside.
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. Lightweight and comfy enough to wear all day around the BikeSocial office, walk around a racetrack or use as wellies while mucking out a horse (sorry Sidi).
The Gore-Tex liner breathes, meaning even in really hot weather (like a couple of trips through Death Valley last summer) my feet have been fine. That’s impressive for a £249 boot.
The thin soles give excellent feel on any bike, but are sturdy enough to offer reassurance that they’ll protect in a crash. They’ve worn a bit after 30,000 miles moving around on footpegs and a few hundred hours walking, but still have plenty of life left in them.
At exactly 1kg each, these are a good compromise for a waterproof race boots. Real leather is heavier than synthetic equivalents and making a sole that sturdy doesn’t come easily. The armour on these is a little lighter than on some full Star Wars race boots.
Easy to get on and off and flexible enough to use on sports bikes, cruisers, adventure bikes or commuters. Leather uppers give me confidence and subtle but plentiful plastic armour is built in such a way that it flexes when you walk, making the boots surprisingly comfortable off the bike as well as on it.
There are more complex boots, more protective ones too and much more expensive ones, obviously, but for me, as a high-miles, year-round road rider, these are perfect.
The soles are grippy enough to stay put on greasy foot-pegs but not so soft as to wear out quickly (a problem on many race-type boots). In four years nothing has broken or failed and they are still as waterproof as when they were new.
Let’s put the cost in perspective; £249 over four years is £62.50 per year or a little over a pound a week. Given that I ride four or five days every week that’s about 20 pence per ride to have my feet warm, dry, comfy and safe. Sounds like a bargain to me.