SIDI DOHA BOOTS
On several occasions in this column, I have referred to using my bikes as daily runners for errands and whatnot. It can be easy to avoid wearing proper riding gear for short jaunts around town when you use your errand list as a navigation tool.
But urban pavement is just as hard as the open road, and familiarity with our hometown does not compensate for the additional risks of city riding. So I am always on the lookout for protective riding gear that is convenient to use and comfortable to wear. Sure, there is a trade-off of a margin of safety when compared to ultra ballistic-quality, race-proven riding gear. But most of us already know that when we ride during the dog days of summer.
So, if you are inclined to just slip on a pair of sneakers for a quick run to your favorite coffee joint, this review is for you, twinkletoes. Sidi, the venerable 50-year-old Italian motorcycle boot maker, has introduced their Doha boot. The design of the Doha somewhat mimics a contemporary basketball shoe-low-cut, lightweight, over-the-ankle and a lace-up front. The use of geometric leather and CorduraTM panels helps to create a modern, racy look. Remember, they are Italian.
However, function does not take a backseat to fashion. The Dohas are designed for riding. The leather panels are thick and the CorduraTM is heavyweight, with double stitching in the high stress areas. The toe, heel and the sole are internally reinforced for rigidity. The molded, composite non-slip sole curves upward at the rear to provide additional heel support. The dense rubber Sidi logo, located at the ankle ball, offers an additional point of protection.
Generally I tend to shy away from riding boots with exposed laces. If you have ever come to a stop without realizing that the loop on the lace was snagged on the footpeg, it is a rather frenetic moment as you desperately attempt to get your foot on the ground before the wheels stop turning. Credit the design team at Sidi with attaching a Velcro® strap over the top eyelet to keep the lace loops from drooping over the footpegs, rear brake lever or shifter.
Other features include internal comfort padding along the tongue and around the ankle, leather shift toe pads (yes, there is one on the right shoe also!) and a reflective stripe above the heel. For additional comfort, there are removable arch supports and a soft perforated lining on the inside.
The Dohas strike a nice balance between a safe riding boot and off-bike footwear for everyday errands and for the urban rider. The built-in protection and reinforcement underscore Sidi's safety priority. Although this results in a somewhat stiff walking shoe, I found it to be far more comfortable than most taller riding boots. When you consider the light weight, the sole flexion and the considerable range of ankle motion, the Dohas get bonus points as a really nice "crossover" boot.
While we are on the subject of walking, the boots (at least the men's size 10) are true to size yet sufficiently roomy. Since my feet are rather wide, I can appreciate this.
Nowadays I reckon that most of us own waterproof riding boots. Overboots, TotesTM and plastic grocery bags as rain protection are likely to soon join waxed cotton riding suits as museum pieces. So the fact that the Dohas are not waterproof stands out like a nose wart.
But considering the type of riding for which the Dohas were designed, I do not feel that this is an issue at all. In fact, using a good waterproofing spray formulated for CorduraTM and leather should keep the boots dry on wet roads and in light drizzle.
The Sidi Dohas have lately become my around-town riding boots. When I look at my boot arsenal, I tend to gravitate toward three designs: a mid-calf boot for on-road riding, an over-the-calf boot for strictly off-road use and the Dohas for urban warfare.
The Sidi Doha boots sell for $170 and are available in black only. Men's sizes ranges from 36 to 48 (European) or 5 to 13 (US). To order or for more information, contact Motonation, 10225 Prospect Ave., Santee, CA 92071, 619-401-4108, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.motonation.com. Motonation also has a network of local dealers. See the "our dealers" link on their website.