I was looking for ankle protection after the second time I got my ankle between the crank and the spokes after being ejected from a unicycle.
I came across a pair of Sidi motorcycle boots in my size in a charity shop for $50. Beautiful mid-calf length leather boots. I love the reinforcement over the ankle and there is excellent shin protection too.
I though they might be worth posting a review.
These boots are a far simpler design than any other motorcycle boot I have seen. Inside leg zip covered with a Velcro secured flap. None of the big clips that seem to be popular currently. Anything else I have seen would be too bulky to wear while riding a unicycle.
I am a size 10 (45). They weigh 680 grams each.
There were pros and cons but some surprises.
My feet are long and narrow and these boots fit me like they were made for me. I felt more sense of the position of my foot in space in them than I do with my usual unicycling shoes which have wide soles and allow some sideways movement.
Locating these relatively narrow soles on wide pedals (CrankBrothers 50-50) doesn’t require a lot of accuracy yet feels very precise.
The soles are relatively hard so there is no actual feel of the pedal through the sole. However I was still able to tell where I was located on the pedal especially forwards and backwards by the leverage on my foot. This sense seem enhanced
They rely heavily on the pedal pins to stay located. This seems pretty reliable for my rides. However I am not I trials rider but I don’t think they would be so suited trials as most riders seem to like a sticky sole.
They grip well with any downward pressure but the detachment is sudden when that pressure is lost. It does seem to make them relatively easy to move about on the pedals at will.
Ankle support was good and sole is relatively stiff so they tend to limit the extent of hyperflexing of the ankle.
This can be double edged. Any shoe which offers a lot of extra ankle support is bound to limit the movement too. Occasionally I have mistimed leg thrusts and the flex of my ankle has redirected and delayed the force in a good way but sometimes I feel that my ankle is being overcome. This boot reduces that feeling.
The boots have a very stiff instep. I almost always ride with the ball of the foot on the pedal but found myself much more comfortable riding on the insteps than I have before. The difference between the two positions seems smaller with these boots.
One of the big downsides is there is not much sole padding for heavy running dismounts. I was also concerned about griping smooth concrete during dismounts with the harder sole but this has not been an issue so far.
I had been concerned that the flap over the zip might rub on the cranks and get displaced. This has not been an issue at all with the 50-50s which have a fairly wide gap from the crank. With Odyssey pedals they did rub a occasionally but it wasn’t an issue.
I was worried they might be hot and sweaty but it wasn’t an issue at all. The boots are fully Gortex lined. This fabric is waterproof to liquid but allows vapor to pass. It poured raining the first time I rode with them and my feet stayed dry.