Sidi Armada Boots

Editor Score: 90.0%
Aesthetics 8.5/10
Protection 9.0/10
Value 8.75/10
Comfort/Fit 9.25/10
Quality/Design 9.5/10
Weight 8.5/10
Options/Selection 8.75/10
Innovation 9.5/10
Weather Suitability 9.5/10
Desirable/Cool Factor 8.75/10
Overall Score90/100

Built to morph from an Adventure-Touring boot to a Sport-Touring boot, and back again, the Sidi Armada is a one-boot solution to a two-boot problem.

For the motorcyclist riding, say, a Kawasaki KLR650 medium distances to enjoy some recreational trail riding one weekend, then loading up a BMW R1200RT for a high-mileage getaway the next, the Armada is the perfect boot for both situations.

Waterproof Winter Gloves Buyer’s Guide

The Armada is a boot I didn’t know I needed until a pair arrived for me to test. Heck, I didn’t even know they existed until Sidi suggested I try a pair. Once in my possession, though, I recognized the novel concept, and as a person putting a lot of miles on a variety of motorcycles, I immediately put the Armadas to good use.

The wrap-around upper with ankle braces provide a measure of extra support and protection when riding in Adventure-Touring mode. Removing the support decreases lateral support, while increasing flexibility. Weight is reduced from 2.7 pounds per boot with support to 2.2 pounds per boot without.

The wrap-around upper with ankle braces provide a measure of extra support and protection when riding in Adventure-Touring mode. Removing the support decreases lateral support, while increasing flexibility. Weight is reduced from 2.7 pounds per boot with support to 2.2 pounds per boot without.

The key to the boot’s dual personality is the removable, wrap-around upper and its integrated ankle braces. The nylon braces connect to the boot at the ankle via a single screw on both sides of the boot. The attachment point acts like a hinge allowing for fluid movement front to rear while restricting lateral movement. The upper wraps entirely around the top of the boot, then attaches to itself via a large velcro enclosure.

Certainly, a person can ride a touring bike with the boot in Adventure-Touring guise, and many riders may prefer to have the extra support and protection. The removal/assembly process, however, costs less than five minutes of your time, and if your day includes walking a bike show or swap meet, the half-pound savings of weight per boot could be persuasive enough.

On both sides of the boot, beneath the ankle pivot cover on the support system, resides the attachment screw. Remove both screws, and the support brace comes off. Replace the empty space of the removed brace with the ankle guard, tighten screw and replace cover.

On both sides of the boot, beneath the ankle pivot cover on the support system, resides the attachment screw. Remove both screws, and the support brace comes off. Replace the empty space of the removed brace with the ankle guard, tighten screw and replace cover.

Another key feature of the Armadas are the boots’ weatherability. Constructed with Gore-Tex, the best-known breathable/waterproof membrane on the market, the Armadas keep your feet dry and warm during inclement weather while curtailing the hot-weather swampiness of a socked foot inside a leather boot with no airflow. Thus far the Armadas have remained dry and warm in the various conditions in which I’ve worn them.

Winter Riding Accessories Buyer’s Guide

Gore-Tex is as much about comfort as it is protection from the elements, and when it comes to comfort, I’ve worn the Armadas with both a regular riding sock as well as a thick winter sock with no sense of the boot fitting too tight or too loose in either instance. The boot remains flexible with or without the ankle braces installed, while the elastic area at the upper rear of the boot provides some give for those with large calf muscles.

Dual-position zipper closure points provide further comfort customization for larger calf sizes.

Dual-position zipper closure points provide further comfort customization for larger calf sizes.

In terms of protection, the boots are constructed of leather with double-stitching in the danger zones. There’s also exterior heel protection, interior toe protection and padded shin plates. God forbid I find myself with foot stuck beneath a BMW GSA, but if I were in that position, I’d feel better about the mishap knowing I was wearing these boots.

Other notable features include:

  • Full length inner gaiter
  • Nylon inner sole with removable arch support pad
  • Honeycomb elastic panels above the arch area
  • Cambrelle lining
  • Toe shift pad
  • Bonded non-slip lug type sole
  • Reflective points above the heel

According to our recent Waterproof Winter Boots Buyer’s Guide, the Armadas certainly aren’t the most inexpensive boots, nor are they the costliest. For $400, though, you are getting the only boots comfortable living in both Sport- and Adventure-Touring worlds. The sole of the Armada boot is more off-road looking than that of the average Sport-Touring boot, but if you can get beyond that, the Armada’s do a great job of addressing the requirements of either vocation.

Sidi Armada boots with and without the wrap-around upper and ankle braces. It’s a small but visually noticeable difference. For the motorcyclist with more than one motorcycle the boots make good sense.

Sidi Armada boots with and without the wrap-around upper and ankle braces. It’s a small but visually noticeable difference. For the motorcyclist with more than one motorcycle the boots make good sense.

  • Shlomi

    I got the Armada for almost a year now. Tom is absolutely spot on. If you get used to the look, this is your universal boot. Only when I’m at the track I use my sporty sidi boots.

  • http://ern.reeders.net.au/blog/ Ern Reeders

    It’s about time journalists stopped parroting sales hype. Gore-tex as a membrane on its own may ‘breathe’, to use a metaphor, but under leather it doesn’t. It’s poor at transmitting moisture vapour and when there’s no pressure difference between inside and outside the boot, ie. when it’s warm outside, it can’t.

    • Ric Hill

      Good catch ERN!!!!

  • Ric Hill

    I will remember this when I have $400 USD for boots

  • http://ern.reeders.net.au/blog/ Ern Reeders

    I’ve just had the chance to compare my old Gore-tex lined Oxtar road boots with a new pair of Sidi Crossfires the outside of which is almost all plastic. The Crossfires were cooler by far than the Oxtars. With use, a membrane sandwich is going to clog up with dust, sweat and body oils and it needs cleaning. You can do this with a rain jacket but with leather?

    About the only tech worth considering in this realm is Gore-tex Pro or Polartec Neoshell with plenty of perforations in the leather. They’re the only two air permeable membranes on the market to my knowledge. And even then, in humid warm to hot weather there’s no pressure difference to drive the moisture vapour out.

    So save your money and go without a membrane. Leather can be proofed if you want to keep the H2O out.