Thursday, September 1, 2011

SIDI DOHA DAY BOOT – PRODUCT REVIEW

And my morning ride through our little local Tuscany

I DON’T LIKE RIDING IN TENNIS SHOES. It just seems dangerous. Same goes for dress shoes or the casual ones I wear to work. Yet, I’ve done it. And continued to do so. Why? Because I am too lazy to like lug my professional shoes with me to work and change out of my what ever my current road boot happens to be.

Since I reentered motorcycling about eleven years ago, I’ve been on the prowl for sturdy, supportive motorcycle footwear that didn’t scream, “Hey! This guy came to meetin’ on a bike! What you ridin’? A Harley?” Nothing against Harley garb, but I was looking for something that would look trim and professional.

Yesterday, I found ‘em. The Sidi Doha seemed to fill the bill. Yes, A&S had my size: 12ish US. Yes, the shoes felt supportive. And, yes, they didn’t scream motorcycle boot. I was in and out in less than 6 minutes.

In the evening, I began to have second thoughts. Had their sleek line swayed me? …their suede upper? …their thick, sticky, solid rubber sole? I determined that an early morning ride would put my impulse purchase to the test.


THE SEPTEMBER MORN dawned cool and inviting. I hummed a little Neil Diamond as I slipped the new Sidi’s on over my wicking socks. The back of my foot popped into the heel cup. Not a lot of room for my toes to wiggle around, but the ball of my foot fit precisely where the widest part of the toe box was engineered. Seemed to me that if I took an hour-and-a-half ride and found myself captivated by the ribbons of secondary roads, that’d mean the foot-shoe relationship would be a long lasting affair.


RIDING THE BACK ROADS of Placer County is much like (I would suppose) riding roads through Tuscany. Citrus and stone fruit orchards line sections of pavement. Fermenting peaches and plums perfume the air. Stretches of pastureland graze cattle, sheep and goats. Vineyards have become the area’s rage and mom and pop wineries are producing reputable reds.

I’ve driven these roads countless times, exploring the historic cemeteries, still-working barns and stopping to purchase mandarins or sample wine. Each day varies in temperature and humidity and – like the subtle differences between vintages – each ride on these familiar roads is delightfully different from the last.

Today I eschewed my favorite, Wise Road, for tiny, hummocked strips of pavement that climbed over rises and dropped into oak shrouded tunnels. The yellow caution signs at the twists and turns appeared as invitations and the various one-lane bridges had me wondering about construction dates: the 1930s or back when the Romans staked claim to the area?

Early on, a low sun accentuated every bug carcass and scratch on the face shield of my Shoei RF -1000. That was irritating. Also, I noted gentlemen farmers, commuting from “estate” to their town-based cubicles in pricy German or American road cars, often couldn’t negotiate their side of the road while also managing a cup of Starbucks. Equally, if not more, irritating.


WHAT WASN’T IRRITATING was the pair of Sidis. They planted nicely when I needed to stop. They didn’t walk off the pegs. They accommodated the shifter without my having to think about the distance between the sole and the top of the toe box. They breathed the cool morning air. They felt, well, comfy.

After ninety minutes, I am home. I did very little walking on my tour of the local Tuscany, so I wore them around the house for an additional hour or so. The Doha’s felt like a snug pair of shoes that would become a bit less stiff as they broke in.

Given what I noticed abut the morning ride and what I wasn’t aware of vis a vis my feet, I’m thinking the Sidi Dohas and I will have a long and pleasant relationship. My ten-year quest for a professional looking day boot to wear on the bike has come to a favorable conclusion.  Too bad I'm not workin' any more.


NOTE:

A&S BMW/Triumph/Ducati/Vespa is one of the premier motorcycle dealers in the country. They are also in my backyard. They are local and therefore, my money is going to a local guy. I always check with A&S first. The Church of the Open Road encourages readers to shop locally.

Owner Randy Filice reminds me that A&S does have a price match guarantee.

© 2011
Church of the Open Road Press

6 comments:

  1. Tony (the wrench) DelgardoSeptember 1, 2011 at 6:42 PM

    Im happy for you Uncle Dave. I would go get a second pair if i were you because as murphy would have it they will probably be discontinued and unavailable by the time you wear them out. Good comfy shoes are hard to find and props on supporting your local bike dealer. I do the same in hopes that they will always be available for emergency parts on the weekends. For a few months there they were essentially out of business. Thankfully someone came in with some money and revived Chico Honda Motorcycles.

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  2. Wild Goose Reader responds:

    I got those too, super comfortable, even in +90 degree weather.

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  3. Pashnit reader rightly comments:

    It doesn't protect the ankles, calves etc.

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  4. Another Pashnit rider weighs in:

    Look like they would be decent to walk in as well. Always nice to find something that fits your requirements.

    It is a personal thing, but I wouldn't buy a bike boot that did not scream "this knucklehead rides a bike" - not that I give a rats ass what anyone else thinks, but because the boots that do scream that are generally doing the sorts of thing I want them to do and protecting the sorts of things I want them to protect. But then I also do not ride in jeans and always am ATGATT ... I figure I can change my shoes and take off my over pants when I get where I am going.

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  5. A good percentage of the time, I wear Dainese touring boots. Comfortable. Well-engineered. Not bad looking. They are great for the open road and great for walking around.

    The boots listed in this post are a substantial improvement over the Clarks I wear to the office or the Keens I wear when going on a hike or just knocking around.

    Most certainly, up-over-the-ankle boots are superior to any "high top" riding shoe and the wise rider will discount the amount of time necessary to change in and out of footwear. But the reality is that many folks will greatly compromise their safety by wearing a regular street shoe or tennis shoe rather than to spend time with that change once they arrive at their destination.

    Shoes such as the Sidis mentioned here, provide a safer alternative for commuting, though not as safe as a full-on motorcycle boot.

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  6. From another Wild Goose Rider:

    This is my commuting shoe - worn it for years. I work on a Navy installation and am subject to Navy regs requiring all riders to have over-ankle footwear. The only problem with them is you will eventually wear a shiny spot on top of your left shoe - which is a dead giveaway for a knucklehead who rides a bike.

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