Price: $699 | Rated: 9/10 | Available in sizes 41-46 | Distributed by Darbi Accessories

A pure sportsriding/race boot, the Sidi Mag-1s do require some time and effort to break in and mould to your feet. With this done, the lightweight slimline design rewards you with a seriously armoured boot that doesn’t snag on anything, bike or clothing, and vitally, fives clear feel and feedback from the soles of your feet.

They aren’t sumptuously padded and make no pretence about being suitable for touring, so don’t expect a full waterproof liner – these kicks head the other way and actually have forward facing (but closable) vents for the underside of your hardworking tootsies. The sensation of cool air rushing past your toes and down the arch of the foot on a hot day at the track really can’t be underestimated.

The armour is cleverly concealed between the inner liner and the outer leather, not just to look smart but to protect the complex armour membrane from damage and also to make the boot clean, as in no protrusions. That extends to the flip-out swivels that ratchet the tough laces into position, assisted by the gadgets that influenced the name – magnets. Listening to feedback from racers who found the other system tricky when wearing leathers, the hitching points have moulded magnetic locators, so they stay in place after assisting you finding the right spot. Three of these ratchets are on each boot, with two heading one way and one the other, again designed to avoid snagging while riding. The main externally visible armour is in the form of the heel caps and the replaceable shin plate and clever ventilated toe sliders. On a cool day, simply slide the plastic vent closure across and the wind stops flowing and even in the rain, the boots stop pretty much any moisture creeping in. The wide opening makes for easy on and off but does mean the liner can’t seal the whole way up the boot, hence a sport or race boot, rather than a general purpose.

I found them pretty rigid to start with, making me walk like an extra from a zombie movie (yes, more than usual) but they soon softened. You can feel the protective system holding your ankle but movement on the bike is not impeded. You won’t go hiking in them, as the cut is designed to be neutral while doing one thing – riding a sportsbike, so there is some resistance when trying to stand upright for long periods. Your call but most high-end race boots make no apologies about the lack of compromise, so the fully armoured thing is fine with me.

It did take a while for the ‘white’ thing to mellow with me; they are quite the statement but I really like the low profile of the boot and the way it avoids feeling clumsy while still having sole rigidity around the outside, a softer zone on the balls of your feet for footpeg feel and solid stuff around the heel and toe.

All in, a pretty decent bang for the dollar and they are backed up by racers using them at the very top levels. Nicely finished and with everything about the boot looking quality, the only slight drawback is the breaking-in required, but now they are wrapped around my pieds, Meh, I’m over that too.