This combination could be a big mistake: A brand-new pair of mail-ordered boots and a three-day dual-sport riding class. For better or worse, I would be committed to wearing these boots for at least eight hours each day, on pavement and in the dirt, walking up hills, sweating in them and standing up on the pegs of a Kawasaki KLR650. I was going to find out in a hurry just how comfortable these boots are.
I cut off the tags and slipped the Sidi Canyon Gore-Tex Boots on my feet. There’s an unusual step (at least for me) to putting on these motorcycle touring boots: A spider buckle that runs across the top of the foot. It works like a ratchet buckle on ski boots. I very much like this nifty feature, and not just because of the looks. There are no zippers on the boots, just full-length inner gaiters and 7-inch flaps of hook-and-loop. I prefer this no-zipper approach because, more often than not, the gaiter gets caught in the zipper. For me, the extra couple seconds it takes to secure them on my feet with the spider buckle vs. pulling up a zipper is time well spent.
The Canyons are made from Italian top-grain leather and have a Gore-Tex waterproof breathable membrane. The boots are reportedly water and oil repellent. I’ve only had the chance to wear them in a light rain, so I can’t comment on how dry they’ll keep your feet in the wet, though I can comment on the ankle-bone protector, as I sacrificed myself and dumped the KLR650 on my left foot. I fell completely over (see photo), with the weight of the bike resting on my left foot. Yep, it protects the bone just fine, as my foot came out unscathed.
In addition to the ankle-bone pad, there are plastic injection-molded internal heel and toe protectors. Sidi does not use steel in the toebox as steel can be crushed, and in turn, crush your toes. This plastic is pretty tough; I dropped a hard-cover dictionary on my foot several times from standing height to check the strength of the toebox. I couldn’t feel the dictionary strike my toes from the tip to up to 1 1/4 inches, but farther up where the leather is more supple–ouch!–I felt it.
The Canyons have patches on them that could pass for suede; but it’s simply leather that’s been treated differently. Two of these patches are on the top portion of the foot area. Even after four months of shifting use, the pad on the left foot shows no signs of wear. These are not high-heeled boots; the soles add maybe 1 1/4 inches at most to your height. They are about 11 1/2 inches tall at the highest point, which is in the front where the internally padded shin plate is. It turns out that, thankfully, these boots were flexible and comfortable from the moment I put them on. There were no “hot spots” and I didn’t get any blisters, even on that first day when they were brand-new.
The Canyons don’t feel overly bulky or heavy, and they don’t get hung up while shifting a bike through the gears. The bonded non-slip, lug-type soles are double stitched in the high-stress areas. The flex panels at the instep worked well to keep my feet comfy when walking up dirt hills during the dual-sport class. Inside is a removable arch support, just in case you want to replace it with something more molded. I find the current arch support just fine indeed. I very much like how the boots open up wide, so that getting a foot in is not a struggle. There’s also thin 2 1/4-inch reflective piping in back.
Fortunately, the Canyon Gore-Texs have turned out to be good boots that are both sturdy and comfortable. They’ve been my everyday riding boots since the class, and except for being a bit dusty, they show barely any signs of wear. Retail for the Sidi Canyon Gore-Tex boots is $300.
For more information: See your dealer or contact Motonation, 1100 N. Magnolia, Suite A, El Cajon, California 92020; (619) 401-4106; www.motonation.com