Despite a spirit that’s hard to dampen when the weather turns or the terrain gets taxing, I am a traveller first. On occasion, this means jumping out of the saddle and trekking for a mile or three to see incredible sandstone formations, clambering up and down boulders at Joshua Tree National Park and sliding through slot canyons in Arizona. Or simply walking around dusty streets in Bolivia or exploring the landscapes on foot in Peru.
Needs and wants
Neither a road riding boot or motocross footwear will work for my years-long trip across the Americas. I wanted maximum protection, but still allow for walking a few miles here and there, accommodating my feet when it’s sub-zero to searing hot, not to mention keeping them bone-dry through water crossings. Tall ask? Not so much. Opting for the Sidi Adventure boots (I’m on my second pair, they’re so good), a heavily armoured adventure boot that includes a hinged ankle for walking short distances.
Materials, construction and fit
From initial impressions, the boot looks motocross oriented, with a massive shin plate, rigid armoured heel and reinforced toe box. Additional strike plates abound, including one for the inside and outside of the ankle, foot bridge and arch. Even loaded with all this protection, the Adventure Gore-Tex is pretty comfortable. Despite the use of so many solid materials, there’s a convincing chance that the boots will still fit immediately, they did for me.
Behind all the armour and hinges, there is a leather upper and a full-length rubber sole. The calf and ankle latches all have a sizable adjustability range and within a few minutes was tuned to my shape. The boot also boasts a slim, cool non-bootie design.
Living in the boots
Even riding hard over loose gravel and rocks through Huascaran National Park in Ancash, Peru and Death Valley for instance, the boots were comfortable. I will say that quality, knee-high socks are a critical component of the comfort, but these boots are not saunas. I also spent weeks riding in Mexico’s summer; the boots took the heat well there.
On the other extreme, I rode my motorcycle out of snow from both Ushuaia and Caviahue in Argentina and never experienced blocks of ice for feet. Perhaps best of all, the boots are 100 per cent waterproof, with a breathable Gore-Tex membrane that is ‘Guaranteed to Keep You Dry’ without making your feet overheat in hot weather. I have tested the boots countless times through water crossings up to my shins and come out of the other side smiling smugly—dry feet are always happy feet.
Genuinely thrilled with the Sidi Adventure boots over the last 41,000 miles and 22 countries in climates spanning from -10C to +40C, I will be using them for the remainder of my trip up to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. They broke-in fairly easily and have never given a hot spot or blister, even with the odd short hike around various national parks through Latin America and the US.
However, due to having skinny shins, I’m looking forward to upgrading to knee-high Klim Mammoth socks, in order to keep my feet that little bit more toasty come the cooler climes. I wondered at the start of our journey if all this protective gear seemed like overkill, until it saves your life or limb. I have had a number of slow speed crashes where my foot has been trapped beneath my motorcycle, all 200 kilograms of ‘Pearl’ laden with luggage. Buy the best and cry a river at the point of purchase, not in a mangled heap when you have an offy.
There’s no doubt, these are not your Nana’s slippers. They are Fort Knoxs for the feet and that level of protection will be sincerely appreciated should you require extreme armour for below the knees. I would unreservedly recommend giving them a try.