|03-26-2007, 10:03 AM||#1|
Joined: Oct 2005
Location: 10 Miles North of Deal's Gap
Gear Review: Sidi Mini Force Women's Boots
As some of you may know, I broke my left foot during the East Tennessee Neduro riding clinic on 12/29/2006. I fell down during a hillclimb exercise and my left foot rolled under my right knee (my legs looked like the number 4) as I slid down the hill on my arse. This resulted in a couple of torn ligaments and a small fracture. I was wearing BMW Savanna boots, which are twin to the Oxtar Infinity. A better pair of boots would have prevented the injury.
I wear a ladies’ 7, or 38 Euro, which rules out most men’s boots. One of my main concerns about selecting boots is that I have teddy bear legs. My calves are fairly big from a lifetime of running, riding and working out. I’ve had problems finding street boots that close over my calves, and I worried that this might be a problem with dirt boots too. I considered the following boots:
Alpinestars Stella Tech 6
Sidi Mini Force
I was underwhelmed with the quality of the MSR and Thor boots. They felt cheap, and finishing items like buckles didn’t seem trustworthy. I tried on the Alpinestars boots at my local Cycle Gear and was very impressed with the quality and fit, but a little taken aback at the price ($280). The Sidi Mini Force allegedly shares DNA with their men’s Crossfire boots and at $160 is substantially cheaper than the Alpinestars. In a leap of faith, I ordered the Sidis sight unseen from a local dealer. They seemed like a better bang for the buck, if I could close them.
The Winner – Sidi Mini Force
My Sidis arrived and I was delighted to find that they closed with a bit of room to spare. My initial impression was of typical Sidi quality – I feel that they didn’t skimp a bit on the women’s boot. They were stiff, as expected. The buckles are easily adjustable and stay closed. The Mini Force is made of a combination of plastic, real leather and synthetic leather. It has steel toe caps and lots of replacement parts are available from Sidi. I believed I’d found my boot.
I impatiently waited for the weekend. This past Sunday, some friends and I hit the hills outside Spring City, TN. We rode for about five hours, consisting of nasty, rutted, wet and rocky doubletrack and beautiful, twisting, thank-doG-I’ve-got-barkbusters singletrack.
I lost track of the water crossings and often we simply rode up creeks. The Mini Force is not a waterproof boot; as far as I can tell, no women’s dirt boot is. They are splashproof, though. My feet didn’t get wet until I had to put my feet down in a creek and the water came in over the inner bootie. My feet took a couple of hard whacks on rocks and stumps, and though I felt the impact, I never felt like my foot was in danger of injury. I also had to put my feet down in some very awkward spots, and the support was superb. The boots were also noticeably more flexible at the end of Sunday’s ride, and I expect them to continue to soften up a bit more.
The boots themselves: outside
guts - I tried to hold the boot open so you can see the internal bootie. You're looking down into the boot here.
heart and sole
all shiny and new
what they're supposed to look like. And no comments on the fruity pants - I bought them cheep.
If you’re in the market for a women’s dirt boot, please have a look at the Sidi Mini Force. They’re only $20 - $30 more than the unimpressive offerings from MSR, Fox and Thor and are superb boots. I look forward to riding in these boots for many years to come. I see no reason to doubt Sidi’s claim that the Mini Force is the sister boot to the award-winning Crossfire men's boot, so this may be one of those rare times when women get off easier – the Crossfire costs about $400.
The truth will come with ten thousand miles in the saddle. -Corb Lund
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