Sidi ST Air Motorcycle Boot Test
I have never been one to worry about space in my closet for boots, and many pairs have accumulated, giving me a fairly good perspective to judge a well-made and well-fitting boot.
With that in mind, Sidi’s ST Air boots rate as some of my favorites. Available without perforations as the ST, I prefer the Air version as most of my riding is in Southern California’s mild climate.
In its lineup, Sidi positions these boots between the Vortice, the top-of-the-line race boot, and the Vertigo, most commonly seen on many sportbike riders’ feet. The ST benefits from the race technology without requiring the extra time involved with donning the Vortice’s inner boot
The ST Air mainly differs from the Vertigo in that it has a dual cam-lock buckle system on the upper securing the clamshell front and back portions above the ankle.
This yields a bit more protection above the ankle than the Vertigo and a bit less than the Vortice, which has a liner boot as well as a more advanced strap mechanism at the instep and top of the shin. Build quality is as good as I’ve seen anywhere, and better than most.
In this age of outsourcing and foreign manufacturing, even with some of the most expensive brands, it was comforting to find the tiny label within the boot that stated Made in Italy. Personal experience over many decades has been that Italian footwear typically fits best and lasts longer – and that is the case with the ST Air. My usual size 45 slid on and fit just like the last few pairs of Sidi boots I’ve owned – perfectly.
That’s not to say that there aren’t other great boots available. There are, but I am always excited by a new pair of Sidi’s. They look great, feel wonderful and work well. Fortunately, I’ve never crashed wearing a pair but anecdotal reports are almost always positive.
The Sidi ST Air are a bit stiff when new, but after wearing them for a day or two I found that ankle and toe flex became easier, especially on the left boot where range of motion is critical due to gear changes. Anyone who has reached for the next cog only to get more of the same because the lever hadn’t been release far enough knows this dilemma.
The features incorporated into this boot are impressive and include the patented Vertebra System, which is designed to protect the Achilles tendon area along with thermoplastic resin ankle protection. The heel cup, toe pads and other bolt-on pieces are all replaceable and the boots can be resoled.
Sidi makes the ST Air an all-around excellent boot for sportbike riders on the street and at the track. Truth is, I often wear this style of boot on cruisers for the high degree of protection they afford because foot injuries are some of the worst. So don’t get me started on people who ride in tennis shoes or loafers.
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and look good the whole time. These Sidi ST Air boots rate 10-toes up!
The Sidi ST Air boots cost $395, and are available at motonation.com.Google+