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Sidi Nitro Boots Review

Sidi Nitro Boots Review
Sidi "Nitro" Boots Review
by Bill C. for webBikeWorld.com
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Summary

The Sidi Nitro boots are comfortable and good-looking.

The boots are constructed from Sidi's "TechnoMicro" synthetic leather, a lightweight substitute just like the real thing.

The latest Sidi Techno 3 closure system is the big bonus here; it works smoothly and effectively to form-fit the boots to individual comfort.

The system is also very secure and eliminates traditional hanging laces that might catch in the foot pegs or controls.

Background

In the not-too-distant past, short motorcycle boots were...well, they just weren't.

If you wanted short boots, you wore a pair of street-oriented work boots. Short-length boots with motorcycle inspired features, such as ankle, toe and heel protectors, shift pads, etc. had yet to be invented.

But within the last 5-7 years or so, the short motorcycle boot type has become very popular and there are dozens of different styles to choose from.

This probably has a lot to do with the dual-purpose capability of this type of footwear; you can wear a pair to work (casual) and not attract too much attention.

Sidi Nitro Boots

Sidi Nitro Boots

Sidi offers about a half-dozen different versions of short motorcycle boots as of this writing, including the very comfortable men's and women's Sidi Doha Boots we reviewed.

There are many other types (see the webBikeWorld Motorcycle Boot Reviews page for a listing), but Sidi always puts their own signature on any motorcycle boot design, and that goes for the Sidi Nitro boots as well.

The Sidi Nitro boots don't look unusually radical, instead following the more-or-less conventional look for short motorcycle boots circa 2013. The trick with these type of boots is to have a good compliment of protective features that don't overwhelm the styling with too much "Boy Racer" look.

Fortunately, there are many different styles available today, including those from Sidi and others, ranging from models that look very much like street boots (BMW Street Sneaker 3 Boots (review)) to the type that is basically a short version of a full race boot (Sidi Apex Boots).

The styling of the Sidi Nitro boots is perhaps biased more towards the motorcycle/race side of the equation than street, but when worn with a pair of jeans, not many people will notice. Or to put it another way, the boots shouldn't attract too much off-the-bike attention. That may be good or it may not, depending on your needs.

It doesn't bother me, because I'm more interested in the protective aspects when it comes to motorcycle boots, although I do think that something like the Sidi Streetburner boots are perhaps a bit over the top. At that point, might as well wear a pair of no-compromise full-size race boots instead.

Fit and Comfort

The Sidi Nitro boots are about as comfortable as this type of motorcycle boot gets. These are not street boots and they're not really made for walking, so it's all relative, but the Nitro boots are much better in that regard than any pair of regular length motorcycle boots I've worn.

The Sidi TechnoMicro synthetic leather feels a bit thin but it's comfortable and may even provide something in the way of ventilation or breathability. One thing's for sure: it helps make these boots pretty light. One of these size 44 (10 US) boots weighs but 486 grams (1 lb. 1-1/8 oz.). That also helps make them feel comfortable when walking.

That size 44 fits in what I think we can now call the Sidi template or last, as noted by H.B.C. in his Sidi Armada boot review. Sidi boots usually fit to the expected size and are slightly narrow. My size 10 feet are of average width, which I assume is a "D", and the Nitro boots fit me very nicely. There seems to be a touch more room in the toes than I normally find on a size 44, and that's good.

"E" widths and above might have a bit of difficulty though and might want to instead look at wider-fit short boots like the Alpinestars CR-4 Gore-Tex XCR boots (review) or Icon Accelerant boots (review), which have a wider "American" style fit.

Sidi Nitro Boots Front Rear
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Excellent Ventilation

The liner in the Sidi Nitro boots is the typical gray-colored Cambrelle found in other Sidi boots, this time with very little padding on the inside. This fabric is comfortable and it does a good job at moisture control.

One feature of the Nitro boots that will be appreciated when riding in warm weather the ventilation. You can see the perforations on the boots and the thin-ish layer of Cambrelle absent the padding directs the air flow into the boots for a nice cooling effect.

Much too cool, in fact, for our current 35-45 degree F winter weather. So I haven't had all that much time on the bike wearing these boots, I'll admit, because they're just not suited for winter weather by any means.

That ventilation really helps when you're off the bike also. I wore the Nitro boots to work for a day just to see, in our notoriously hot office and they felt more comfortable than any of the work boots I usually wear. Even walking down the hall (and especially when stepping outside in the cold) I can feel the air moving through.

So this should be the boot to have come July and August! The con to that pro is that the excellent ventilation means that the boots are not waterproof or even water-resistant.

I didn't try it but it's obvious that water will immediately leak through the many vent holes. The Nitro boots are not lined with Gore-Tex or other membrane; if they were, they would be constructed from leather, as the natural breathability of leather is needed to make the Gore-Tex membrane work effectively.

Sidi Nitro Boots Upper Ankle

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Protective Features

Starting at the top, the Nitro boots cover the ankles and have a nice hook-and-loop strap across the front for added security.

There are plastic inserted disks on either side to protect the ankle bones, although the disks feel softer and smaller in diameter than in other Sidi race-oriented boots. But, they're better than the ankle protection (or lack thereof) we've seen in other, less expensive short motorcycle boots.

The toe and heel cups feel sturdy and stiff, but again not race-like quality. That fine line between comfort and protection has been nicely defined here I think though. The "shock absorbing" heel cup is specially mentioned by Sidi, but nothing is said about the toes, although the design of the boot gives the toes some firmness.

The stitching is nicely done and double-row in all the stress areas, which is a plus. The outside of the heel is a section of TechnoMicro synthetic leather that should add to the abrasion resistant properties.

Finally, the sole doesn't have a metal or plastic stiffener, as far as I can tell, but it does feel stiffer than a street work boot. The toes bend slightly for easier walking.

All told, I think the Sidi Nitro boots offer a good compromise of protection with "streetability", biased slightly towards the protective side of the equation, more so than some of the other short boots reviewed on webBikeWorld.

Sidi Nitro Boots Lace Guide

Sidi Nitro Boots Lace Release

Special Mention: Sidi Techo 3 Closure System

So now we get to the most unique feature of the Sidi Nitro boots: the Sidi Techno 3 closure system. This is the patented lacing system pioneered on the Sidi Vortice boots (review), first reviewed on webBikeWorld when they were introduced in 2008.

The system has gone through a few iterations since then and it's now compact enough to fit on a lightweight, smaller and shorter boot than the all-out, no-compromise Vortice race boot.

I can say this: the system that was a bit fussy back in 2008 has been greatly improved and it has several nice benefits over traditional laces.

First of all -- and most important to me -- is the fact that the Sidi Techo 3 system eliminates any hanging or loose lace ends and loops. This means there's little chance of anything getting caught on a foot peg while riding -- or worse -- when crashing. You don't want a boot to get caught up on the foot pegs or other hanging parts on the bike if you go over, so in that regard, the Sidi system is actually a safety feature.

The system works with a thin nylon or synthetic string that runs through half-moon shaped plastic guides that are attached to each side of the front of the boot (six total). It's a continuous loop and a ratchet dial at the top is used to loosen and tighten the string.

Squeeze the two buttons on the dial and pull the little tab with the Sidi logo and the string comes loose. The dial has a flip-up latch that is used to tighten (or loosen) the string, but it it not necessary to flip it up to loosen the strings; just squeeze the buttons on both sides of the dial and pull on the tab and the string will loosen.

Flip up the lever on the dial and turn to ratchet the string closed and this is the second advantage of the Sidi Techno 3 closure system: the laces can be tightened within a micro-precision increment, one click at a time.

The third advantage is this: the continuous string system flows easily through the guides, placing even pressure across the front of the foot, much better than you can get from an old-fashioned string lace system, which usually does not put even pressure across each lace hole, especially as it gets towards the bottom lace holes.

I also discovered that if I make the Nitro boots too tight, I can actually reach down while riding (probably not advised!), squeeze the two buttons on either side of the dial while bending my foot up slightly to loosen the boot just a notch or two. Or, I can reach down, flip open the latch on the dial and give the boots a click or more of tightening and the pressure will be equally distributed with no other effort on my part. Try that with a pair of those old-fashioned lace boots!

Overall, the system has been greatly improved since it was first introduced by Sidi and it is a perfect fit, if you'll pardon the pun, on the Nitro boots. I feel sure we'll see the Techno 3 closure system used on all short Sidi boots at some point and that suits me just fine.

Sidi Nitro Boots Soles

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Sidi Nitro Boots: Soles

The soles on the Nitro boots are made from what Sidi calls a "high grip" type of material and it is definitely "stickier" than many or most other motorcycle boots. Touch it and you can feel the grip, which translates to good traction when backpedaling the bike out of a parking spot.

There's a slight indent where the heel meets the sole, which fits nicely over the motorcycle's foot pegs and also makes it easy to slide the boots back and forth on the pegs.

Like several of the other short motorcycle boots, the soles on the Sidi Nitro boots are a bit thin, and I guess that's a price you have to pay for the "sportier" styling.

But the soles have an interesting construction feature, because they are rounded or chamfered all along the circumference. I read about this when the Nitro boots were introduced and didn't think much about it but it is a subtle design feature that does make the boots move around more easily on the bike, as there are no hard edges to overcome.

The edges where the soles meet the uppers has a nice-looking cross-hatched molded pattern. And I have to also comment on the quality of the soles and the way they are bonded to the uppers, which is very nicely done with a tiny seam and no visible glue or any other marks that demonstrate anything but outstanding quality.

The Nitro boots sort of slide more easily up and over the pegs and the sole design also makes the boots feel more comfortable off the bike -- less like heavy work boots and more like sport athletic shoes. You'd probably not notice this difference unless someone told you about it, so consider yourself told!

And Toes...

One other feature on the Nitro boots is the toe protectors. There are 14 tiny 2 mm tall hard-ish plastic (TPU?) nubs that stick through the TechnoMicro synthetic leather on the toes.

They look interesting and different and are actually less noticeable I think than a big rubber or plastic toe protector patch might be. They also provide very good grip on the shifter.

Sidi Nitro Boots Slide Show
Conclusion

The Sidi Nitro boots are comfortable and good-looking; that's more or less a given.

But they have a couple of important features that do make them stand out from the competition. These include the excellent ventilation that should be a big plus come Summer. And the Techo 3 closure system has really been fine-tuned on the Nitro boots. Once you get used to it (which doesn't take long), it has several advantages that you simply won't find on other boots of this type.

The price isn't bad either; perhaps a bit more than you'll pay for some of the cheaper brands, but you're getting some value here in the ventilation and the closure system that can't be found elsewhere.

The bottom line is that I really like the new Sidi Nitro boots enough to give them a webBikeWorld 5-Star rating. And now that I've become a big fan of the Techno 3 closure system, I really resent going back to traditional laces!

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wBW Review: Sidi Nitro Boots
Manufacturer: Sidi Boots (Italy)
North American Distributor: Motonation
List Price: $215.00
Colors: Black or White/Black. Made In: Italy
Sizes: 41-48 Euro. Rating: Five Star Rating
Review Date: March 2013
Note: Item was provided by a retailer, distributor or manufacturer with these Terms and Conditions.

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