Riding in Motorcycle Boots

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.

quick question, what cranks and frame are you riding? I’ve never actually heard of someone getting their foot between the spokes and crank. That sound particularly painful, but it looks like you found a pretty good solution :slight_smile:

Generally speaking, when you feel the need to add something, that something should be practice. Or do you want to learn to depend on wearing motorcycle boots when you ride a unicycle?

The first incident was a QU-AX Luxus 20 inch with 114mm steel cranks. I was still learning and had just upgraded from the undersized no brand one I learnt on. Suddenly I could ride up and down what seemed like serious hills at the time. I got distracted going down hill and didn’t dismount under control.

The second was my first serious ride on my KH 26 inch muni with 150 mm Moment cranks. I was coaught unaware when the Hookworm tyre took off down a side slope.

It takes a special talent.:wink: As you would note there isn’t enough space to get past the foot or to fit the ankle.

The way to do it is to lose control and step off the front going down hill. The wheel runs between the legs and just above the ankle there is enough room to slip in behind the advancing crank.

On the first occasion, my ankle went in and could do nothing to stop myself falling backwards wedging it in even harder t the narrowing gap.

The KH has a bit more space, the Moment cranks have rounded edges and I didn’t fall backwards so it wasn’t as bad.

You bet it is painful. The swelling was huge and my foot was very colourful right down to the toes. First time I had to have the next day off work. Took months to feel normal again.

Sure. The first time I did the injury I was a novice. I ride that little uni now with no protection equipment and wonder how it got the better of me back then. The second time was my first real outing on the 26. Hopefully I will feel the same about it next year.

But on the other hand, one can lose opportunities to practice through injury especially when trying something new the first few times. Taken to its logical conclusion you would also eschew the use of helmets, gloves and other protection equipment in favor of practice. Hell, why not ride naked?:wink:

The injury on the 26 shook my confidence. The boots have helped restore some of it.

I actually like riding in the boots. The soles are not perfect for gripping the pedals but I am getting used to them.

They are very comfortable and very light for motorcycle boots. Only 180 grams heavier than my unicycle shoes. I have not found them to be a hindrance to foot speed at all. Indeed I did my first dive roll last weekend after reaching an insane cadence riding my 26 on a netball court and being unable to run out of a UPD.

Then there are the appreciative comments. Rode past some kids the other day and boys commented, “Like your unicycle”. The girl followed up with “Like your boots”.

Fair enough - especially your last reason. :wink:

However, the general principle applies: if the arrow misses the target, look first to the archer, not to the bow.

In answer to your questions to me, I wear a helmet on almost every ride. This is as much to deflect criticism from other road users as anything else. I have never hit my head on the floor in a fall in 27 years of riding. (Although I once split my chin in a UPD when I was wearing an open face helmet.

I wear gloves because my palms sometimes hit the ground.

I used to wear a full face helmet and shin pads and wrist guards but would no only do so if I were riding very rocky terrain, which I don’t do often.

Found my boots online. They are “Sidi Dry Road Rain”

Rain boots are designed to fit inside the legs of waterproof pants which is why they have a short uncluttered upper.

Lined with a water resistant material coupled with Trockenfuss®- an anti-bacterial hydrophilic lining making for a comfortable dry interior.
Zipper and Velcro closure system for a snug fit.
Internal ankle padding
Reflective insert on the heel.
Nylon inner sole and removable arch support.

You got a bargain there. Dry feet riding in the rain is pretty impressive. I’ve always found getting overheated a major issue when riding, more so when I was a beginner 3 years ago, and less so over time. Still searching for the coolest clothes though (in the literal sense, I abandoned the metaphorical sense years ago), so these boots would not be for me. It’s much warmer where you are too. Interesting that our experience is so different.
Recently in fact I rediscovered the excellent pedal grip of my 5/10 walking boots in the rain, compared to Brooks Cascade running shoes that slipped off often enough to cause frustration and a few pedal scrapes on my shins. So I’ve gone back to a notch warmer wearing those again. I wish Five Ten made open shoes! Next shoes will be 5/10 Impacts or similar.

I was worried they would be hot too but it hasn’t been the case. However I rarely ride more than eight kilometres before a break. (I am quite partial to a Bananaberry Smash at Maccas by this distance before I head into my main hill climb.)

My clothes can be totally soaked with sweat but my feet stay dry in these boots. Whatever Trockenfuss® is, it works.

I also wear long sports socks with nylon legs and cotton feet. Then a pair of what seems to be some kind of wool blend. The were given to me by a friend from New Zealand so they might even be possum fur.

I grew up still further north in Bundaberg (25 degrees S). I was an enthusiastic long distance runner and did a lot of miles in hot conditions. Rode a bike a lot too.

I ride in the late afternoon when things have cooled off a bit.

Rode in the boots today again. I am finding the lesser grip of the soles is a definite drawback. Foot moves without warning just when it really shouldn’t.

Going to study the pins and the tread pattern in the soles. The pins might work better in alternative locations.

Serendipity may have kicked in today. I dragged the toe of the left boot on the road in a UPD and the front of the sole peeled off.

Now I am seriously contemplating replacing the soles with something more suited to gripping pedals.

Asking for suggestions over on the shoes thread.

Hybrid Boots

Check out my new hybrid uni boots made from the uppers of my Sidi motorcycle boots and a pair of Adidas Nets basketball shoes.

I found the as-new basketball shoes at the local Salvation Army shop for $8. The zig zag tread works pretty well for grip with pinned pedals. The soles are well cushioned for landing.

I imagined they would solve the poor grip and lack of cushioning I experienced with the motorcycle boots. All I had to do was fit them together, which turned out to be easier than I expected. The soles came off the boots very easily. Both the Sidi and the Adidas are simply constructed on a flat foot bed. I had been incredibly lucky because the shapes of the soles are virtually identical.

However the Adidas are Size 46 (European) while the Sidi are 45 and on close inspection I could see there would be a risk that they might not quite fit perfectly if I tried to glue the Sidi uppers directly to the Adidas soles. I thought about gluing in a spacer then I reaslised the Adidas, being slightly larger, they might be modified so the Sidi uppers fit snugly inside the shoes, leaving most of the upper in place.

I removed the tongue and toe cap from the shoe and the Sidi upper slipped straight in almost perfectly. I cut out the heel reinforcing plate from the Adidas. Combined with the boot stiffener, it was making the heel altogether too stiff anyway. And then the fit was absolutely perfect. I didn’t even have to glue anything. It is held together by a ridge left around the toe, the heel structures and the laces. If it does ever become a problem during UPDs thn I will put a little urethane glue across under the toes.

The resulting hybrid boot as all the best features from both the boots and the shoes. They are extremely comfortable. The ankle protection and support is awesome. The hard plastic shin protection plate is also excellent.

The laces can be used to finely adjust the fit of the boot to the foot. One of the things I liked about the original boots was their snug fit making the foot positioning very precise. The laces improved on this.

Despite the extra thickness around the foot, the assembled boot retains all the flexibility of the two component layers for normal foot movements but holds firm beyond this, preventing extreme flexing of the ankle. The tough synthetic Adidas uppers protect the softer boot leather from pedals strike and make the feet feel invulnerable. They are probably excessive for what I do now but I am feeling considerably encouraged to try a few small drops that I would never consider otherwise.

They are not as heavy as they might look. The Sidi boots are lightly constructed for a motorcycle boot. They weighed 680 grams each before I removed the sole. The original Adidas were 495 grams. The finished boot weighs 795 grams which is pretty good considering the high levels of protection extending more than 20 cm above the ankle.

I would cut them slightly differently if I did it again, leaving a litle more of the toe cap in place around the edge especially where they join the blue material.



I love the innovation! :sunglasses:

No pedal bite for you! Nice work.

Yes. I now have soccer (football) shin guards that fully protect the back of it too.

Been looking at hard plastic hockey shin guards for the front further up and more soccer guards for the back of the upper calf.