Summary: The Sidi Fusion Boots are a good bargain in an entry-level sport boot for all-round street wear and occasional track days. Sidi quality and reputation, made in Italy and plenty of protective features.
The most enjoyable and memorable journeys are those that start with a minimal plan and where the sojourner simply allows fate to play its hand in direction, speed and destination.
That has been the case with what is now an irregularly scheduled webBikeWorld series on Sidi boots.
Even with all the Sidi reviews that have been published here within the last couple of years, we've only just touched on the extensive Sidi boot lineup.
Sidi gives birth to new versions of boots faster than Mendel bred peas, so this is one journey that hopefully will continue for many years.
This time, I'll describe the latest offspring of the Sidi breeding program for 2010: the Sidi Fusion boot. Good timing or good planning must have spanked this one to life; the Fusion boots are a relative bargain but they still have all of the strong Sidi genes and characteristics found in their purebred brothers and sisters.
And after all, that's the purpose of the breeding program; create newer, stronger, better and, hopefully, cheaper versions for future generations to enjoy. That the Fusion has much of the race-bred goodness of specimens like the Sidi Vortice (review) at a price designed for a flaccid 2010 economy illustrates genius of foresight.
Hmmm... I never thought I'd be able to stretch an analogy this far, so I better give it up before it gets stale!
The Sidi Fusion boots are part of the Sidi "Race" boot family. In addition to the Vortice mentioned above, this includes specimens like the very popular Vertigo line (Vertigo Corsa (review), Vertigo Corsa Air and Vertigo Rain and the Vertigo Lei (review) for women); the Sidi B2 (review) and the Strada.
Motonation, the U.S. distributor for Sidi (also AGV Sport and Vemar) uses the "Sport On-Road" designation for these boots, which includes all of the above plus the street-oriented and very comfortable Sidi Doha boot (review) for men and women.
The list prices in this category range from $170.00 for the Doha boots all the way up to $500.00 for the Ultra-Glam Sidi Vernice boots, a high-gloss blingy version of the Vortice. If you show up with those dudes on your feet at track day, you better know what you're doing!
The Fusion boots are very reasonably priced at a list of $200.00. They're probably most similar to the Sidi Strada Evo (review) boots, which I haven't tried but were reviewed by another webBikeWorld contributor. (Editor's Note: The webBikeWorld Sidi boot reviews have been published over several years and were authored by different evaluators, so it's not always possible to compare and contrast every item in every review.)
The Fusion boots also forgo the removable and replaceable parts featured on the high-end Vortice and B2 boots, although the plastic toe sliders on the Fusion boots are easily replaceable. For street and sport use and the occasional track day, the Fusion boots are fine.
In fact, I liked them so much, I bought a pair of my own. They're a perfect replacement for the old TCX SS Performance 2 boots (review) I inherited after a webBikeWorld review and which frankly don't have the quality of the Sidi boots and have pretty much been beat into submission during due to my use and abuse.
This has been mentioned before on webBikeWorld but I think most new motorcycle riders, at least in the U.S., start by buying a helmet (I hope), then maybe gloves and/or a jacket. Once they get serious, it's time for a good pair of pants and then boots. A good argument can and has been made by webBikeWorld readers for buying the best boots you can find and not relying on street boots to do the job. Believe them.
Of course, a good pair of heavy leather work boots is better than a pair of sneakers, but the minimum requirements are toe, ankle and heel protection and the Fusion boots offer that and more.
The Fusion boots have a full range of features that are certainly much more protective than any street boots one could wear. This includes very sturdy toe and heel cups, a sewn-in panel on the back that is designed to protect the Achilles tendon and another stiff panel in the front to protect the shins.
The boots also have both an inside and outside ankle protector, which consist of plastic armor circles sewn under the leather. Just in front of the inside ankle protector is a vertical slit with a narrow piece of elastic material underneath. I wasn't sure what its purpose was but it seems to provide some flex for the ankle at that point.
The construction of the boots and the outer and inner composite sole provide a very stiff feel. The soles have very little lateral movement, which is another protective feature. Sidi says the outer soles have a dual-compound rubber feature and so far they have provided a lot of traction when I'm holding the bike up with my feet on the ground, or backpedaling to get into a parking spot. Traction is an important factor in motorcycle boots because it can be dangerous to be slipping and sliding as you're trying to push a heavy motorcycle backwards into a parking spot or the garage.
Overall I'd say that out of the box, the Fusion boots feel much sturdier than the TCX boots ever did. The leather on the Fusion isn't leather, it's Lorica, a synthetic leather which in my experience is an excellent material. It's supposed to be more abrasion resistant than leather and it feels very thick and secure but there's really no way to tell the difference between it and the real thing. Plus, it seems easier to clean and it won't become decomposed over time.
Other features include a heavy shifter pad over the inside of each toe. I have a little laugh whenever I see boots that come with a shift pad on the right boot, a nod to the past. I wonder how many right-hand shifting bikes are still on the road -- or how many motorcyclists other than us old-timers realize there were bikes that had right-hand shifters?
Finally, the Fusion boots have a mesh lining with a thin layer of foam padding underneath. It's not a thick liner, which I think is good, because I'd rather have the room inside and a minimal amount of padding between me and the outside of the boots to give me a better feel.
The Fusion boots sent over by the Editor were a size 44 which, according to the Motonation size charts, are equivalent to a size men's 10.5 US. They felt more like a size 10 to me, which I think is what most size 44 boots convert to. The size 44 just felt a bit too tight for me overall.
I haven't actually measured my feet in a shoe store for some time, but Motonation has a good set of instructions on how to do this. I ended up with a 10.5 foot size, according to their instructions, which should fit in the 44 but the size 44 just felt a little too tight for me and I wasn't sure if they would ever stretch out enough considering the thick-feeling Lorica and overall out-of-the-box stiffness of the boots.
I usually take a slightly larger than size 10 anyway, depending on the boot and the cut of the toe, so I ordered a pair of 45's for myself. Motonation says that a size 45 Euro translates to a 10.75 US, which I think is consistent with other brands. The 45's seem just a bit loose, which often happens with boots made in European sizing -- the jump from 44 to 45 seems larger than an increment of 10.0 to 10.5 in U.S. boots.
One thing that all of us have noticed on the last few pairs of race boots or taller boots that we've reviewed is that there seems to be a trend of making them tighter at the top of the boot -- a trend I'm not in favor of. The Fusion boots do seem to me to be more snug at the top than I'd like, which makes it difficult to insert the legs of a pair of leather pants.
Maybe most owners are now wearing the boots inside their pants or jeans, and this is the positive factor in having a narrower upper part of the boot -- they can fit under even a modestly wide pair of jeans or other motorcycle pants.
I found that there isn't much expansion room at all at the top of the Fusion boots. They have a flap at the top that covers the top of the zipper when it's fully raised, and what looks like an expanse of hook-and-loop material for the flap to adjust, but there's almost no adjustment at all for width.
So potential owners who feel they might have thicker than normal calves might want to try these on first. My legs seem pretty thin and the top of the boots feel snug. I can barely stuff a leather pant leg inside but would like to have about 25 mm or more width adjustment.
As I mentioned, this is an issue that we've found on several different brands lately, so my suggestion to motorcycle boot manufacturers would be to make sure you figure out a way to add more adjustment.
The snug fit doesn't seem to affect movement or walking in the Fusion boots though and there is a safety factor in having the boots fit tight enough that they won't go flying off during a crash. The boot itself narrows at the ankle, which keeps the boot tight when it's zippered up. The rear protector has a hooded cover at the lower edge, which gives added flexibility at the back of the foot but still protects the Achilles tendon.
Race-style motorcycle boots are not made for walking anyway, but bouncing around in the garage or walking out to the bike in these isn't a problem and there are really no moving parts to squeak like there are on the more extensively equipped full race types.
The full-length zipper on the side of the Fusion boots makes it very easy to put the boots on and take them off. I have no trouble at all doing this and they're probably about the easiest to use tall race-style boots I've tried.
The Fusion boots are not claimed to be water resistant, but with no openings other than the small vertical expansion panel mentioned earlier, the boots are fairly waterproof in light rain or an occasional splash.
Motonation said that the Fusion boots will soon be available with an upgraded Lorica outer and a Fusion "Rain" version that will be waterproof. Perhaps an "Air" version is also in the works? The standard Fusion boots shown here don't seem to be unusually hot, but it would be nice to have some venting for summer use...although that would probably alter any water resistance.
UPDATE: Motonation has confirmed that a Fusion Rain version will be available at a list price of $225.00 in December 2010 and an Air version will indeed be available (February 2011) at the same standard Fusion list price of $200.00. All Fusion boots will also get an upgraded upper material with no price increase (although the uppers are so nice on these, I'm not sure what "upgraded" means!). They also mentioned that the Fusion is Sidi's best-selling sport boot in the USA.
The boots have what has become the standard race-boot type styling and these -- at least in the all-black shown here (they come in black and white also) -- look good without being too loud. I could probably do without the Sidi logo on the outer part of the heel, but after all, these are sport boots and touring or adventure riders have more demure Sidi styles to choose from.
The toes feel slightly wider than the TCX boots, which is also good. I like big, wide, boxy toes but that is usually not possible on a motorcycle boot where there may be minimal room for the toes in and around the shift and brake levers.
The toe sliders on the Fusion boots are very generous and the sort of make the boots look a bit strange when you look down at the toes, but the sliders are highly functional. Otherwise, the boots are impeccably made without any flaws that I can see.
The Sidi Fusion boots are an excellent choice for street and sport riding. They have a full array of safety features, other than the torsional ankle bracing system found on boots costing about twice as much.
The styling is modern and the boots can be worn under just about any type of motorcycle pants. I wish there was more adjustment at the upper part of the boots, but hopefully mine will loosen up over time.
At a price of $200.00, I'd much rather spring for a pair of Sidi brand boots than others, because of their reputation and the quality. Besides, both the size 44 and 45 were made in Italy, which is a bonus!
wBW Product Review: Sidi Fusion Boots
|Available From: Motonation (U.S. Distributor) Manufacturer: Sidi (Italy)||List Price: $200.00|
|Colors: Black or Black/White (Europe only)||Made In: Italy|
|Sizes: 39-48 (6.0 - 13.0 US)||Publication Date: October 2010|
|Comments: Boots provided by Motonation for this review per our review guidelines.|
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