by Carmen B. for webBikeWorld.com
The Sidi Livia Rain boots are also known as the Sidi Livia Lei Rain boots in Europe.
These are protective boots for battling the elements when on touring and commuting duty.
The Livia Rain boots tick all the right boxes for protective riding equipment, with an emphasis on protection.
Styling is subtle with nothing identifiable as male or female.
They just look like you'd expect from a "normal" motorcycle touring boot.
Comfort and feel may be an issue, however, due to the Lorica synthetic leather, which doesn't feel as flexible as the genuine article.
Italian sports footwear company Sidi really doesn’t need much of an introduction to anyone involved in motorcycling or bicycling sports.
Nevertheless, it always helps to put things into context for those new to the motorcycling world for anyone who may be visiting webBikeWorld to help choose their next or even their first set of protective gear.
Sidi began as an Italian manufacturer of footwear for mountain sports during the 1960’s. In the 1970’s, the focus shifted to two-wheeled sports footwear for both on- and off-road applications.
Eventually Sidi became one of the major players in the motorcycle footwear field and they maintain that standing to this day.
Checking Sidi’s current lineup, I counted dozens of different boots for men and women, spanning the motorcycle racing, touring, street, commuter and off-road categories, including waterproof versions.
Bottom line? There's something for everyone in the Sidi motorcycle boot lineup.
The Sidi Livia Rain boots are sport touring boots for women, following the basic styling expected in a sport touring motorcycle boot.
They are tall-ish at 30 cm (11.75 inches) in height from bottom of the sole to the top of the boot opening.
The Livia Rain boots at first glance look like a women’s version of the men's Sidi Tour Rain boots and the Livia boots don’t have any design touches that would lead one to believe these are made specifically for women.
I’ve mentioned in other reviews that I don’t care for “girly” styling touches like pink colors or swirly stitched in designs that sometimes adorn women’s riding gear and the Livia Rain boots don’t disappoint.
So the overall styling is reserved but does incorporate some styling points that break up the basic touring boot shape and also provide flexible functionality at certain points on the upper.
These appear as wedge shaped cuts in the flap that covers the zipper on the side of the boot.
The boot secures with a zipper from just above the sole to halfway up the inside side of the calf. This zipper, in combination with a robust pull strap at the rear of the boot, make the Livia boots easy to put on.
Reflective material is used to increase nighttime riding visibility and can be seen on the front, rear and anterior areas for good coverage in all directions when riding.
The outer portion of the Livia Rain boots is made from a synthetic leather-like material that functions like and closely resembles leather but is lighter and stronger.
The feel of this material (which Sidi calls "Technomicro Microfibre", a composite microfiber material) makes me think of plastic or vinyl, however, instead of a natural leather.
This material does make for an overall lightweight construction and it requires less maintenance than what is sometimes called for to keep natural leather lasting for years.
Sidi says that Technomicro has "better strength, softer texture and lighter weight" than leather. It is also "water resistant, highly resistant to abrasion and tearing and is easy to clean and maintain. Technomicro doesn’t stain and offers reduced weight, more flexibility and a better feel than leather or other synthetic material boots."
There are some downsides to the use of the Technomicro Microfibre material however and that will be discussed in the fit and comfort section.
For waterproofing, Sidi’s Raintex membrane is used to line the boots and it is sandwiched between the outer shell and a perforated, Teflon treated nylon lining within the boot.
The waterproof liner runs all the way to the boot opening and the use of a barrier behind the zipper keeps the Raintex in place from top to bottom.
Double stitching is found in most areas of the boot but there is some use of single stitching, including the inside facing ankle protector and outside ankle reflector strip.
Other single stitch areas appear in more for decorative spaces except for the area just above the foot and ankles where the single crisscross stitching allows for some flexibility for bending.
There is also a strong and flexible loop at the top, back side of the calf that I used to pull the boot on.
A YKK zipper is used for the main entry and the boot opening and the zipper are covered by a large flap that is secured using Velcro brand hook-and-loop fastener.
On the rear of the heel area is an oval shaped rubber “bumper” with the Sidi logo and the Tricolore Italian flag colors shown above it. Branding is subtle with a small "Sidi Lei" tag and the embossed Sidi vortex logo on the shin.
On the top of the toe box of the the left boot are 25 small raised hard rubber (or soft plastic?) nibs that protect from and maintain grip on the shift lever.
For the sake of symmetry, this pattern is duplicated on the right boot, despite the fact it is extremely rare to find a right-side shift bike these days.
Overall, the Sidi Livia Rain boots feel very solid and durable, despite their very light weight for a boot of their size.
The various panels are cleanly cut and well stitched giving the boots a very good quality look from the outside.
Looking at the inside area of the boot opening though shows a less than excellent attention to detail as the cuts in the material are a bit ragged.
The Livia Rain boots offer protection in all the key areas I expect in a motorcycle boot.
Starting at the toe, the toe box area is reinforced with a stiff protector between the liner and the outer shell. Likewise, a stiff plastic cup seems to be placed in the heel area for additional protection in this area.
Both the medial and lateral malleolus bone areas are protected by thick foam in between the liner and the shell of the boots.
A similar foam is present in the shin area for additional protection. This section in the shin is thinner than the other inserts and it would be nice to have seen a stiff protector augmenting the protection here.
I can’t confirm, but there appears to be a shank in the sole to help keep the sole from over flexing. A shank also helps reduce fatigue that can occur when the feet are on the motorcycle's foot pegs for long periods of time.
Nighttime visibility is well taken care of with reflective markers in the form of six dots running parallel across the Achilles area. A reflective “swoosh” and another six dots are found around the outside ankles.
Finally, thin strips of reflector material run vertically down the front of the boot rounding out the reflective spaces.
The surface area of the reflectors is a bit small but they are very bright and add a surprising amount of extra visibility when they light up.
Protective and safety aspects of the Sidi Livia Rain boots are good and in line with what I would expect for a touring boot.
Hard protectors in the ankle and shin would raise that level to excellent but could likely reduce the comfort, however, and this is something these boots cannot afford.
The Livia Rain boots fit very much like I expected for this size. Like the previous Sidi boots I have reviewed, the size 42 (9.5 US) fits just a little large on my size 9 feet.
It’s good to know that Sidi boots are consistent across different styles -- or at least the two examples I have tried.
Despite the good fit, I have to say that these boots are not made for walking. A play on an old song but very true in this case. Walking around in these boots is just not comfortable.
The synthetic leather does not stretch or give at all. Certainly leather can be stiff when new but it will usually break in over time. But the synthetic leather has remained as stiff as it was when new.
This inflexible nature forces your foot to try to conform to the boot rather than the other way around. This stiffness also makes the back of the boots rub against the calf and even the sides begin rubbing after a short time walking.
I would highly recommend wearing a pair of socks that exceeds the height of the boot or your leg may be rubbed raw if you try to walk around in them for too long.
Also, the lack of flex makes the heel of the foot rise up away from the sole. This is not very comfortable when walking and it feels strange whenever I have the ball of my foot on the pegs of my bike.
On the other hand, or foot, the stiff upper of the boot makes for a protective and durable shield against abrasion. Also the additional stiffness can help reduce the likelihood of an ankle injury so there are plusses to this inflexibility.
As their name implies, the Livia Rain boots are waterproof and they use the Sidi "Raintex" liner to ensure this. Of course, being webBikeWorld, we had to see how waterproof they truly are.
Filling up a deep basin sink, I placed the boots on my hands and held them in the water. After three minutes I could feel that the inside of the boots was cooler, but no water was getting in.
A full five minutes in the water and the boots remained completely dry on the inside.
When I removed them from the water, they still felt very light, so apparently the synthetic leather really does not absorb water and it is likely keep a lot of water from even getting close to the waterproof liner.
From a build quality perspective, the Sidi Livia Rain Boots are very good. Precision cuts to panels and neat, tight stitching make for a boot that should last a long time.
My only concern in the overal build quality is the slightly rough edges in the area around the opening I mentioned.
While I appreciate the fact that the Livia Rain boots are truly waterproof and obviously protective, I find them uncomfortable for walking, as I would expect a touring boot would need to be.
I think of touring gear as gear that should be comfortable and highly functional rain or shine. I completely understand why a hard, barely flexible material like synthetic leather would be used for a track day boot such as Sidi Apex Lei Boots I reviewed, because you are more likely to remove those after serious riding.
For the more travel-oriented touring ride, however, I would expect to be able to walk around in my boots, especially during rest stops, rather than having to take off the boots for something more comfortable.
|wBW Review: Sidi Livia Lei Rain Boots|
|Manufacturer: Sidi Sports||List Price (2016): $230.00|
|Colors: Black||Made In: Romania|
|Sizes: 37-43 (5-10.5 US)||Review Date: June 2016|