Sidi X-3 Boots Review: Dirt Test
A new model of off-road boots from Sidi is always a welcome development, and the new Sidi X-3 off-road boots do not disappoint. A company known for producing high-end footwear for both the pavement and dirt rider, the new Sidi X-3 (first marketed as the X-Treme) is aimed at riders who don’t feel the need for the heavily armored Crossfire line of boots, yet still want a boot fully capable in a racing environment.
At $375, these are no budget boots, so no excuses will be allowed for shortcomings. Fortunately, from the first ride on, the Sidi X-3 boots proved to be fully capable of serious off-road riding (we’d stick with Crossfire boots for motocross).
For those familiar with Sidi boots, which are designed fully in-house using Sidi-exclusive technology, according to Motonation’s Bill Berroth, the American importer of Sidi boots. Certainly, when you first have them in hand, ready to put them on for a ride, you’ll notice unique Sidi features — easy to use and secure buckles, a hinge at the ankle for easy use, easily replaceable stitched-on sole — as well as the plastic protection you expect from toe to shin, plus minimal leather.
Adjusting the sawtooth buckle is the normal annoyance the first time, but they stay in place once set and the buckles snap down easily and with an authoritative click. The Cambrelle interior lining isn’t quite as plush as some boots, and there is no bootie, but they feel good in conjunction with Sidi Tech MX socks.
Walking to the bike, you will notice a couple of things. First, right out of the box, the Sidi X-3 boots are easy to walk in. The hinge at the ankle means there is no break-in required, and these are boots that feel right the first time you ride in them. Second, the X-3 boots are lighter than most, which will reduce fatigue on long off-road rides or in cross-country competition. First impressions are excellent.
From there, the Sidi X-3 boots shine immediately. Get on the bike and start riding — and then forget about them. Shifting and braking is fully natural, again, right from the start. Even on the fairly sensitive rear brake of the Husqvarna TE 250, the X-3 boots allowed just the touch needed to properly actuate them as needed.
Support is outstanding, so you can stand up and blast through whoops without feeling vulnerable. Putting out your foot in a turn doesn’t cause any trepidation, as the boots are fully confidence inspiring. A plastic bumper protects the bottom buckle from damage and inadvertently being released.
If you read the Sidi X-3 literature, you do go in knowing the protection is there, and you can sense it when examining the boots. The heel is nearly unyielding plastic, as it should be, while the toe-shift has a bit of give for the feel you need. There no steel shank in the Sidi TA sole, as Sidi uses a nylon insole to provide need rigidity to protect your feet on landing from jumps — they work.
The pivot area isn’t just there to improve comfort — it also provides lateral support so rolling your ankle is nearly impossible. The shin guard is thick, but pliable, so it protects from roost, rocks, and branches, while still being fully comfortable as it conforms effortlessly to your shin shape (or any knee braces). When wearing Alpinestars Fluid Carbon Tech knee braces, the top of the Sidi X-3 has plenty of room to accommodate them, and the Velcro closure is secure.
All day rides are no issue with the Sidi X-3 boots. There are no hotspots and pinching does not exist. The light weight of the boots increases endurance and leaves your legs less worn out at the end of a difficult excursion. While we see these as hard-core off-road boots, Sidi also sees the X-3 boots as a boot for adventure riders. We haven’t taken them out on the street yet, but we have no reason to doubt they will work great for the ADV crowd who is serious about dirt.
Five different colorways are available, though strangely nothing in red. We tested the Tony Cairoli inspired Black/Flo Yellow version, with the other colors being black, white/black, blue/black, and orange/black.
Of all your protective gear, boots get the hardest workout. You are constantly on the pegs, putting your foot out, hitting rocks, pushing the bike, or otherwise engaging your feet in the ride. Proper foot protection is non-negotiable, and the new Sidi X-3 off-road boots give you the protection you want at a price that is attractive for the quality and protection provided.
Photography by Kelly Callan. Berroth by Don Williams.