webbed feet? Not with these!

Words and pics by Simon Bradley

As you can see, it really does look like a proper boot. External armour and all.Time was, not that long ago, that if you wanted to go out on a motorbike in the rain you had three options as regards footwear. You could do what most people did and wear the same boots you normally did, suffering cold, wet digits and taking a real risk of getting trench foot. You could improve things by sticking your foot inside a carrier bag before putting your boots on, possibly even attaching another carrier bag outside the boot with rubber bands. Or you could splash out (sorry) on a pair of waterproof boots.

The only brand that were readily available at the time, and as the company still exists I'm not about to name them, were basically wellingtons with slightly tougher soles. So if you fell off, and, let's face it, if you were riding in the rain a few years ago the chances of falling off on your rubbish tyres were fairly high, then you were far more likely to break your foot or ankle. Neither of which are much fun. So most people just got wet feet.

Now since those dark days things have steadily improved, until today it's possible to buy purpose made motorcycle boots which are waterproof, comfortable and protective. The fact that this particular pair looks good as well is a major plus.

Sidi are one of the best known motorcycle footwear makers around, and for good reason. Their infamously squeaky Vertebra racing boots are probably the best selling sports boot in the country as they are ridiculously comfortable and incredibly safe while still coming in at a sensible price. But, fabulous though the Vertebra are, they are hardly what you'd call waterproof, what with being perforated and all that. Enter the Black Rain Evo. Cool name, cool boots.

You can see the gusset (is that the right word?) that sits inside the zip and keeps it all waterproof, as well as the rubber toe protector and heel armour...Unlike a lot of waterproof footwear, these do not look like wellies. They are armoured, stylish and they look like regular sporty boots, albeit without toe sliders. Which isn't too much of a loss anyway. They even have a hard, moulded shin protector and separate external ankle armour as well as the normal hard armoured heel cup. And inside there is the same impact absorbing padding as on the higher range race boots. The first thing you notice when you come to handle them is that they are light but still feel like regular boots. In fact the only real difference you'll probably notice is that there is a flap inside the zip which is attached all round and effectively seals the whole boot - the zip is a tightener rather than a fastener. And that's it. You put them on like normal boots, wear them like normal boots and treat them like normal boots. They feel the same, they seem to breathe, which is a neat trick and avoids your feet being banned by UN weapons inspectors after a few hours riding and they're waterproof.

I tested the waterproofness two ways. I rode in the rain, and didn't get wet feet. Then I went and stood in a local pond while I fed the ducks. Yes, really. Because actually immersing a boot is a great way of testing it thoroughly. The inside remained as dry as a DETR press release.

Now since I've had these boots I've done around 3000 miles in them. They're my normal footwear on the bike, unless I need to wear race boots. What I've learned is that you need to make sure your trousers are outside them if it's going to rain, otherwise the water runs down the trousers and gets them wet from the inside. If your trousers aren't waterproof then the water runs down your legs instead. Either way you get wet feet, which rather defeats the object. I've learned that, although the boots seem to breathe, your feet will get quite warm when it's ninety degrees outside. This stops when you get moving. And I've learned that, at a recommended retail price of £135.00, they are spectacularly good value for what could easily pass as a do-it-all boot.

So that's the inevitable conclusion. If you have to make do with just one pair of boots to use in all weathers and all circumstances then the Sidi Black Rain Evo has to be just about the best possible choice you could make.


Waterproof trousers over boots = dry feet and legs. Open face helemet in the rain = all those dead flies washed off. It's a win-win...



Copyright © Motorbikestoday.com 2006. All rights reserved. Users may download and print extracts of content from this website for their own personal and non-commercial use only. Republication or redistribution of content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Motorbikestoday.