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Gear Review: Sidi Cobra Air Riding Boot


Cobra, that’s quite a fierce name for full-length boots. But are the boots too fiercely focussed? Or friendly too?

Sidi Boots

Sidi’s Cobra Air motorcycle boots sound like a serious pair of boots for a go-fast rider. That isn't’ what Sidi promises though. These are the Italian brand’s entry level boots that are supposed to be a “crossover boot that bridges the gap between track and aggressive sport touring.” How well do the Cobra Air justify their not-so-insignificant Rs 20k price?

Boot Name: Sidi Cobra Air
Size: Eur 43 / UK 9
Price: Rs 19,500 (incl. GST, List price, Online)

Colours available: Black

Specs:

Upper material - TECHNOMICRO Microfibre
Perforated: Yes
Armor - replaceable toe slider, heel cup
Size tested - 43

Rider Details:

Shoe Size - UK 8

Pros - Light, flexible, easy to put on
Cons - Sole is delaminating from the arch, torsional rigidity feels a bit lacking, bit pricey

Design

Studio Product shoot 6104

In keeping with the fascinating name these Sidis have a stealthy design philosophy and are finished almost entirely in black. Thankfully there are a few splashes of colour to brighten things up. The red and white logos and the streak of red in the heel protector do catch your eye. There's a robust and technical look too thanks to the toe protector with the silver Philips head screws and the prominent heel protector that juts out at the rear. However, it is easy to miss the shin protector or the moulded band that arches from outside of the ankle to the back of the boot as they too are finished in black. The sole is heavily dimpled and features a prominent heel that reminds me of formalwear. This old school look might rob you off a few style points, but it isn’t an issue on the motorcycle.

On the whole the Cobra Air is understated. That might be good or bad, depending on your tastes.

Fit & protection

Studio Product shoot 6116

The Cobra is one super easy boot to live with. Firstly, it feels extremely lightweight, which according to Sidi is courtesy of the microfiber material used for the upper portion of the boot. Putting it on is snappy as the straight zip is easy to pull up; the secret sauce is a stretch panel between the zip and the ankle padding, says Sidi. Straight out of the box the boot feels flexible, demanding no break-in whatsoever. While I wear size UK 8 shoes I had been recommended the UK 9 size. The fit was just right: with socks the boot fit just right. It isn’t loose, but it won’t feel tiresome even after a long day. There’s plenty of ventilation too, which makes it all the more more comfortable. So, most folks looking to travel or commute extensively will appreciate the comfort of the Cobra.

Also Read: Gear Review: Ixon Falcon: One-piece Leather Suit

The Cobra Air’s first serious outing was on a track in Spain. Despite the lack of familiarity they felt immediately dependable. The feel for the pedal and the pegs was absolutely undiluted and even when you are cranked over the dimpled soles seem to find a reassuring hold on the pegs. But there are a couple of areas where the Cobra Air could do better. For starters, the fit around the calves felt a bit roomy even with the velcro panel tightened up. Also, serious track day riders will expect greater torsional stiffness for added protection in case of any tumbles. These aspects would be important for the track or sport riders out there.

Sidi boots action

In terms of protection this CE certified boot has a couple of interesting details. For instance, the polyurethane shell that cups the heel houses a shock-absorbing material. In case of an impact the outer shell which is designed for 3 mm of movement presses against this material which helps absorb the force. The “vertebra protector” moulded polyurethane panel is also said to reduce chances of injury to the calf and the Achilles tendon.

Quality and finish

Studio Product shoot 6119

The Cobra Air feels fairly sturdy for the most part and is simple and sensible. The two screws for the toe slider will make it easy to replace them, ditto for the heel protector. The nylon panel for shin protection looks good too. Disappointingly, though, we have had issues with sections of the soles coming unstuck around the arch of the foot.

Verdict

Sidi verdict

The Cobra Airs from Sidi are a versatile pair of boots. They offer good comfort and are easy to live with too whether you want to travel (you will have to trade waterproofing for ventilation, though), commute or do the occasional track day. Likeable, yes. Impressive, no. I could pass off the unstuck sole as an exception in quality standard, however the need for protection or trendier aesthetics is a bit glaring. For instance Performance Racing, the dealers of these Sidis, also offer Forma’s MotoGP spec boots for a couple of thousand Rupees more. That is incredible value. However, Alpinestar’s SMX6 is a fairer comparison. Which despite being even more also still feels like better value. So if the Cobra Air wants to justify its price tag Sidi needs to pack in a bit more.

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