I can’t imagine walking around barefoot or riding a motorcycle without any footwear. This is just inconceivable to me and if I could thank the prehistoric human who became the first shoe maker I would. Fast forward, oh I don’t know, a few million years or so to 1960 and you’d be at the birth of Sidi; a company started by Dino Signori (Trivial Pursuit factoid: the Sidi logo started off as a union of Dino Signori’s initials).
Dino’s passion for producing footwear has been infused into every shoe that is manufactured and the innovation in Sidi’s motorcycle related products are second to none. Case in point: The Cobra boot has incorporated technology that not only creates a boot that will protect your feet if you’re unfortunately involved in an accident but moreover one that is extremely comfortable to wear. Not an easy task to complete successfully.
These boots have the CE marking which means they conform to all of the manufacturer’s obligations with regards to the product complying with the EU directives that consider these items. I’d expect nothing less from Sidi but not every manufacturer goes through this certification process (particularly from an independent notified body) so something to take note of.
To start with the basics, that is the outside of the boot, the Cobra has a Lorica outer construction with double stitching in all high stress areas. Add in a DuPont polymer toe shift pad to avoid a wear spot, thermoplastic resin ankle protection and a dual compound sole and you quickly come to the realization that this is a boot comprised of the needs and demands of racers as well as those who ride strictly on the street.
The sole of a boot is an area that can deform and wear quite quickly since a lot of pressure is put upon it especially when riding a motorcycle. Sidi counters this by creating a composite sole that resists side to side compression, offering greater protection compared to the leather inner soles that other manufacturers use.
I’ve worn Sidi boots before and if you have as well then you’re surely accustom to Sidi’s patented and trademarked Vertebra System (first introduced in 1998). The “Vertebra System” shields the back part of the calf and allows for additional movement. I’m happy to report that I’ve yet to hear the high pitch squeaking noise I had in my previous pair of Sidi boots.
Since I have big feet (insert inappropriate sexual innuendo here) I like the fact that Sidi provides flexibility by adding padded elastic panels in the front and rear of the Cobra. Not having these areas rigid means that these panels give that extra bit of movement which really makes for a comfortable boot.
One of the best things I like about Sidi boots (not just the Cobra) is their belief in longevity. What do I mean by that? I mean, when you purchase a quality product you want it to last as long as possible so having the ability to extend its service is of course beneficial. Keeping with that philosophy the Cobra has bolt-on parts (not the cheesy Velcro add-on’s some other company’s use), which means that every part that is capable of being removed, can be replaced. Therefore, the nylon toe slider and arch support are replaceable.
Speaking of arch support, there’s quite a bit of engineering in there. If you look closely you’ll see that the polyurethane shell holds a shock absorbing insert, visible from the outside through two small slits that mark out the look of the heel. The shell is mobile as it is fixed to the boot by 2 screws that allow 3 mm of impact movement. Not something that I want to test out but good to know it exists.
But wait there’s more! There’s also a nylon shin deflector plate and even the zipper has been scrutinized as it has an elastic panel adjacent to it that allows a bind free zip each and every time. This is the type of craftsmanship and dedication you can expect from Sidi.
Now that we have the outside covered, let’s examine the inside. The Cobra comes with a perforated Teflon treated nylon lining that aids in moisture evacuation which means on those hazy hot and humid days your feet won’t feel like they’re in a swamp. Plus, this transfer of moisture from the inside to the outside means no mold build-up. You want mold go buy some Camembert.
Alright already, enough about the construction and technology employed, can we get to the part about how it fits and functions? Sure, coming right sir/madam. The fit is on the snug side so I’d opt for the larger size if you’re in between sizes. I’m used to wearing full on race boots but if you’re not it may take you some time to get used to them (compared to work boots or motorcycle related sneakers). If you wear flip-flop’s or boat shoes, drop the keys, turn in your license and go play some Xbox.
Interesting enough, when I met my riding buddies for our normal weekend jaunt, almost all said: “Looks like someone got some new boots.” So although guys aren’t supposed to be into shoes, I guarantee you that when you sport a brand new pair of Sidi’s your friends will notice.
The next logical question out of my friends (and probably yours) was: “So how much do they cost?” The Cobra costs $260 which places them somewhere in the middle of the Sidi boot line. I said that I think they’re priced competitively and offer tremendous value for the money. They agreed as well.
So where does this leave us? Well if I had to sum it up in one word it would undoubtedly have to be: Excellence. I say this without any hesitation which is unusual for me since I’m a very skeptical person and harsh critic when it comes to gear but Sidi has once again created a boot that is capable of protecting the pro’s, track day enthusiasts and street riders.
The Cobra (and Cobra Air) come in an assortment of sizes (4-15 US [37-50]) and colors (Black/Black and Black/White) and can be purchased via Sidi’s official US distributor: Motonation.