By November 14, 2006

A tale of two Sidis

I was in the market for waterproof motorcycle boots after almost drowning on the return leg of my trip in September. It took almost a week for my boots to dry out, and even then they were still damp when I wore them for the first time.

As usual, I turned to NewEnough for motorcycle gear. They have a great return policy, and very good pricing. Their customer service is also outstanding — I’ve spent a fair amount of cash with them and are always my first choice when I need something.

Sidi is known for their high quality motorcycle boots. They are also known for their high price tags. Sidi recently started selling less expensive entry-level boots under the name SetUp about a year ago. SetUp boots are still made of the same materials and (presumably) the same Sidi quality. They lack some of the upper end features like articulating ankle support, replaceable skid surfaces, etc. I originally had my sights on the SetUp Gran Prix. It’s a waterproof sport boot, similar in style to my original boots:

Photo taken from

I have whacky feet. I normally wear an 11.5 US, but my feet are pretty narrow and I have a high instep. My heels are very tapered. Shoes that are long enough have too much room in the heel. Heel slippage on a full-sized boot spells blister disaster. I took a guess at the European sizes and ordered the Gran Prix in a size 45. I received them a few days later.

Unfortunately I guessed wrong, and the size 45 boots fit great in the heel, but were too short. I knew they wouldn’t stretch, especially with the Gran Prix’s reinforced toe cup. Back they went, and this time I decided to order a pair of Sidi boots as well.

Photo taken from

The Sidi On Road boots have been on the market for some time. They have a good reputation with the touring crowd because they are bulletproof in bad weather. One of the anecdotal reviews I read had this to say about them:

Truth to be told, road testing was performed only in mild downpour situations, so really heavy precipitation was simulated by running in place while a friend pointed a water hose full blast for fifteen minutes at a tester’s feet. In any case, no water made it through the Sympatex liner.

When the boots arrived, I wanted the SetUp Gran Prix to work out. They were, after all, much cheaper than the Sidis. The 46s were long enough but I had too much heel slip. The On Road boots were much better. As you can tell from the photo, the Sidi boots have a system of velcro-backed leather straps. This allows for a more customized fit than the SetUp’s traditional side-zipper system covered by a leather/velcro flap. I was able to synch up the areas that were a little loose.

The Sidis have been comfortable right out of the box. I had to break my other boots in, which was literally a pain. I rubbed off a fair amount of skin walking around Charlottesville at this time last year. The Sidis have a more streetshoe style sole. They are more comfortable to walk on and provides more traction on wet surfaces. It’s nice to not fall on your ass while walking, but the big benefit to this style of sole is keeping your feet underneath you while stopped on a bike.

One of the unexpected pleasures of the On Road boots is that the loops are on the “outside” side of the boot. My previous pair, and the would-be SetUp replacements, had the zipper/protective flap on the side of the boot that contacts the motorcycle. The flap would catch on my motorcycle, and as the velcro started to deteriorate things only got worse. The inside section of the Sidi is nice and smooth, with no buckles or flaps to catch against the bike.

So far I’ve only put about three hundred miles on my On Roads. They breathe very well for waterproof boots. I’ve worn them in ambient temps up to 77 degrees so far, and between the boot and my CoolMax socks I haven’t noticed any unusual sweating or heat. I haven’t had to endure any rain yet, but I’m confident the Sidis will perform as expected.

I’m very pleased with my On Road boots so far. They look badass and have been great so far performance-wise. I hope to have a foul weather report on them soon.

Posted in: motorcycling, review

4 Comments on "A tale of two Sidis"

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  1. Wow! Two-sixty is a hefty price tag, but they _really_ look good! Good enough for me to like a pair even though I don’t even ride a cycle 😀

    I think I’m better off looking for “normal” boots instead 🙂

    Nice write-up though. Glad to see you enjoy them.

  2. drfaulken says:

    Yeah, that’s the main reason I wanted the SetUps to work out. I am kind of afraid to calculate how much I’ve spent on protective gear in the last 18 months. 🙂

    It’s supposed to thunderstorm tomorrow, maybe I’ll ride my bike to see how they do.

  3. Dave says:

    I just ordered a pair of last years On Road Sympatex from New Enough. They are closeouts because the 2007 model uses Gore-Tex instead of Sympatex. The price is $214 + 11.83 shipping.

    I was going to buy the Way TePors @ $150 or the $190 Oxtars because I cold not see the $260 even though they were the boots I wanted but at $214 I could not resist.

    Now I have to sweat out the fit. I think I will have them tomorrow. I use 12 street shoes and 13 runners. I ordered 48 so we will see. I hope they are wide enough and that 49 was not the right size.

  4. drfaulken says:

    Hey Dave, welcome to Gibberish!

    I hope the boots work out for you. I love mine, and have even worn them as street shoes every now and then if the rain is really bad.

    I know it’s cold comfort, but NewEnough will gladly take the boots back if they don’t fit. The price is right, I hope the sizing is, too!

    Good luck, I’ll be wearing my On Roads early next month on my first motorcycle trip of the year.