I got into off-road motorcycling three years ago when attending a Dirty Girls riding class by Ruts to Racelines. We spent a good part of the day discussing dirt basics and practicing drills, many of which required standing on foot pegs, a novel concept for a street rider. I recall several close calls with my inadequate leather street motorcycle boots that day when my foot was pinned under the bike and when it made contact with a big rock in the woods. Finding myself in love with being dirty, those boots went right into the trash that very day and I started my search for proper dirt bike footwear.
Sidi Lei Boots
Let’s face it. We ladies have limited options when it comes to motorcycle gear. Too often, women purchase men’s or youth boots, compromising on fit, safety, and quality. However, Italian manufacturer Sidi offers professional-level boots specifically designed to better fit and protect women. The women’s X-3 Lei boots feature high-end materials and components formed onto a female foot "last", the form used to make the sole. The X-3 is now superseded by Sidi’s X-Power Lei ($449.99). Both versions are quality off-road motorcycle boots that combine comfort, safety, and durability.
The X-3 Lei offers foot, ankle, and shin protection while allowing for comfort and adequate range of motion so that you can easily walk in them. In addition to using the female foot last, Sidi designs these boots with a medium height shaft that has a lot of adjustability. This is important because mens boots often ride too high on a woman's leg and kids' boots too low. Additionally, women often have a wider calf to ankle ratio than men and need the extra room provided with these boots which can also accommodate knee braces. On the trails, you learn to find traction at low rpms with very precise clutch control. And when the instructor says, “Drop your heels for more traction!” I can actually do that in the Lei’s.
Technomicro is also waterproof to keep your feet dry during water crossings. Unless, of course, water seeps in from the top. When that happens, the boot will actually keep water in.
Other features I particularly like about the X-3 Lei include a nylon insole, a smooth surface on the inner part of the boot for proper bike grip, and removable arch support and replaceable bolt-on parts. Also, the anti-skid rubber sole can be replaced by a cobbler.
Off-road riding offers challenges that are both frightening and stimulating. It takes guts to suck at something new at middle-age especially when that something new is a male-dominated sport. When you’re starting out in dirt, momentum is your friend and the last thing you want to worry about is breaking a toe. When I hit the trails, I keep reminding myself that freedom is on the other side of the fear. This inner fear is calmed slightly by the peace of mind that I am wearing quality protective gear. The Sidi Lei boots are totally worth the money for that confidence boost.