by Victor Wanchena
A good pair of riding boots is one of the essentials for a rider’s wardrobe. They need to be comfortable, versatile, and hopefully weatherproof. I have struggled to find a good pair of riding boots, mainly due to my Yeti like size 15 feet. When it comes to larger sizes, I was normally stuck buying work style boots. They were a compromise in many ways including weather resistance.
Fortunately, some of the European manufacturers have taken notice and begun to supply the US market with big sizes. Among those companies is Sidi, an Italian riding gear company with a reputation for quality. I needed an all-around riding boot primarily for street use in all-weather. The boot that fit my need was the On-Road Sympatex Boot. This is a tall, road-riding boot that is lined with a waterproof material called Sympatex. Normally I consider the waterproof moniker to be misleading. Many boots get damp after prolonged exposure to water. Not the On-Roads. They stay completely dry. My first test of this was to stand in water up to my ankles at a local boat launch. Odd looks and dry feet were the only result. I even weighted the boots down with several sockets and left them in a tub of water overnight. After 12 hours of total immersion, the interior was still bone dry and the exterior showed little sign of being water logged.
The fit on the boots is great. Sidi’s tend to run big, so I was able to order a half size smaller than what I normally wear. They use hoop and loop closures on the side and have a low heel, which allows you to move your feet on the pegs as needed. They retain their comfort in most weather and temperatures. I have worn mine roughly 10K miles in a year’s time and I have no real complaints. These miles have included snow, rain, mud, heat, and frost. I used mine in about a 100-degree temperature range and only wanted different at the far extremes. I even walked around in them off the bike and found they work well for short hikes off the bike. My only criticism was that the soles needed a bit more aggressive tread, which has already been addressed. The current production of On-Roads now feature a lug style sole.
Available in a wide range of sizes, the Sidi On-Road Sympatex Boots are priced at $260. You can see the entire Sidi product line at www.motonation.com or several local retailers.