Thursday, April 26, 2012

These Boots are Made for Riding (Off Road)

Upon verifying with Jimmy Lewis that my KLR650 MeFo tires were aggressive enough to take his two-day off-road class.  (Said Jimmy:  “[they] are the least aggressive tires we will allow so they will be ok”), I registered and, upon reading the registration materials, realized that I would be needing to make another purchase… Boots.

Street style boots are not made to wear while riding in off-road situations hence, [sic] we recommend that you have a sturdy pair of motocross or enduro style boots for your safety.

I’ve been riding cruisers for almost ten years, and very rarely wear my Red Wing riding boots.  I don’t like that they come up to mid-calf.  I don’t like that I lose sensitivity for shifting and breaking.  They are a pain in the ass to take on and off.  So I commute daily to work wearing dress shoes, and generally wear tennis shoes when I am not commuting*.  

I was not looking forward to purchasing a big-ass off-road ski boot, but lucky for me, the adventure riding craze has created demand for all sorts of new products, including “Adventure Riding” boots that (claim to) bridge the gap between on and off road, providing both protection, comfort, and the ability to walk without it feeling like a young fawn on ice.

I didn’t spend as much time as I would have liked researching adventure riding boots on the forums, but I settled on “Sidi Canyon Gore Tex” because:

  • They appear sturdy enough to get me to South America
  • They are “low profile” with one buckle, and a lot shorter than similar boots
  • “Sidi” has a reputation of manufacturing high-quality boots
  • While the Canyon Gore Tex are expensive, they are not as expensive as the top of the line adventure boots
  • The boots have received favorable reviews

I found them for sale at Helmet City for $350.00 (+ $30 tax), called them up, and they promised they would arrive by Thursday.  They never arrived (and still, one week later, have not yet arrived, or rather, I believe they arrived at the wrong address, but I am still working with Helmet City to resolve this and refund my credit card).

It was too late to order another pair online, so I found Beach Moto just down the street in Santa Monica, a brick-and-mortar retailer that carried all sorts of high-end motorcycle apparel (and no stranger to the Adventure Rider forums).  After describing my needs, the owner sold me on “Sidi Adventure” boots which, while a lot larger than I would have liked, had all the benefits of the “Sidi Canyon” boots.  He really knew his stuff, and while I ended up walking out the door (wearing the boots) with a $435 charge on my credit card, I was happy I would be prepared for Jimmy’s class.  (I'd like to point out that I am a cheap son-of-a-bitch, and never thought I would pay $430 for something to wear on my feet unless I was, like, climbing K2 or something.)

Now that the class is over, and I’ve worn them all day for four days in a row, I am really happy with them.  I do not have any basis for comparison other than my street boots, however, I am amazed at how breathable they were even in temperatures reaching the high 90’s.  I got used to shifting with them after a couple of hundred miles, and felt fine walking around in them.  Also, this was the first time in my life in which strangers complimented me on something I was wearing on my feet.

Nancy Sinatra has nothing on me, in spite of her killer dance moves:

* I really, truly need to get better about the whole “all the gear, all the time thing”

Sidi Adventure Boots:  $435 | Total Cost:  $5963

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