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
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,
a lot of waterproof footwear, these do not look
like wellies. They are armoured, stylish and they look
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
impact absorbing padding as on the higher range race boots.
The first thing you notice when you come to handle them
that they are light but still feel like regular boots. In
fact the only real difference you'll probably notice is
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
normal boots. They feel the same, they seem to breathe, which
is a neat trick and avoids your feet being banned by UN
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
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.