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Non-riding test review. They just came in today and my bike is pretty much shelved for the season. I'm going to try to borrow a friends bike this weekend and get a ride miles impression.

Until then, this is what I have.
If anyone wants to add their feedback on the Alpinestar SM Plus or SMX, since those seem to be popular too - feel free.


My foot:
Sz 10.5 dress shoes / 11 sneakers.
Width: 4 in.

Boots:
Sidi Vertigo: Listed Sz 45 - 11US - 10.5UK
Puma 1000 V2: Listed Sz 44 - 11US - 10UK


Initial Out the Box Impression
If the Imperial Army were looking for a new boot supplier for their Speeder Bike Storm Trooper Unit, no doubt, they would award Puma the contract. These boots look next level and are visually impressive.

Fit and finish, construction in terms of the tolerances between the panels, how the seams meet, the overage of material after the stitching has Sidi beat. All the tolerances are tight and precise. Even the plastic both shiny and the matted surfaces are hard and seem to be a notch above as well as the choice of leather (or more likely synthetic pleather). The structural rigidity cannot be topped. Much of what looks like styling accents are actual reinforcement bodies, like the Puma logo along the side - that is a solid piece of plastic that runs from the forefoot to the back of the ankle joint where it meets the pivot for Ghost Doctor ankle bracing.

Advantage: Puma

The bracing system which Puma calls Ghost Doctor does add a bit of visual heft but dimensionally the 1000's are not much wider than the Vertigos. Carnage had commented earlier that Puma's exoskeletal system may be too wide and require adjustable rear sets, so I broke out calipers to measure the widest portions of each boot where you'd normally encounter heel guard / exhaust mid-pipe interference issues and got the the following measurements (rounded off a bit):

Upper Calf / Boot Opening (when closed)
Sidi - 4 1/2 in.
Puma - 5 in.

Heel Cup
Sidi - 3 3/4 in.
Puma - 4 1/2 in.

With respect to the Pumas, after having a quick sit on the bike with them on you'll find that the heft of cage is mostly fore and aft of the boot and on the outer side where the buckle is located. The inner side is relatively clean and protrusion free. Puma was smart enough to incorporate a little recessed 3 in. x 1 1/4 in. rubber pad on the on the inner side of the exterior of the shin cuff in case is does rub against the inside of the motorcycle.

After going through some riding forms - foot on footpegs in aggressive and normal riding positions, it yielded no perceivable clearance or rubbing issues - but under actual riding this may change. I'll have to report back.

Note: I'm 5'10 "- 34" inseam and use stock footpegs and rearsets.

The only thing I could think of to take marks off for was the toe slider. The Pumas are metal (looks like Magnesium) while the Vertigos are what looks to be Delrin, however the screw heads on the Sidis are set much deeper in their recesses. The Puma's are much shallower. One screw head is at the point of the toe slider and is probably only 1/8th in. from the surface of the slider itself. I know shearing down the head of the screw is something many track guys like to keep tabs on because the slider is a nightmare to remove and replace once the head is milled down.

Sizing

Both the Sidi and Pumas fit true to size - however the construction method of the Pumas make them feel a bit pinchy. With time I'm sure they will mold better to my foot and fit like a glove. The Sidis on the other hand have already broken in nicely but almost to the point where they have a little too much range of motion.
Note: If you have a wide or fat foot, you probably will not like the Pumas. The rigid ankle bracing, heel cup, and lateral side protection running from heel to just before the fore foot are hard plastic and feel like they will never give or allow for much break in room. Taking them to get professional stretched at a cobbler - based on what I see from the construction - may prove difficult.

Weight
Noticing in hand that there was a difference between the two, I drug out my coke... errrrr I mean general purpose scale just to get an account for how much each boot weighs.

As expected, the Sidis have Puma beat in this department. The Vertigos came in at 2lbs on the nose, while the 1000 V2's were 3.5lbs per boot. Since no one rides around with just one boot on (you're either full squid or not - never halfway), I fell back on my college level differential calculus, which let me to the this complex equation:




Sidi: 2 x 2lbs = 4lbs : Puma: 2 x 3.5lbs = 7 lbs

Sidi < Puma by 3 lbs total.

3 lbs isn't going to make much a difference to 99% of us unless you're at the point where you are spending hundreds if not thousands trying to get weight off the bike and trying to shave 10ths off your time.

Putting Them On
Putting on the Sidis is a straight forward affair. Zip the boot down from your calf to the forefoot, zip back up, close the velcro, and crank down on the calf tightening mechanism. With Sidi you're not as much putting them on as you are sidestepping into them.

Puma has a completely different method. The inner sock liner is a continuous unit affixed to the boot that sits inside a rigid shell they term the Ghost Doctor. If you played any B-Ball in the 90's, you'll recognize the concept! It's from the Adidas EQT's Hoops sneakers ( a little German back biting nepotistic idea stealing there if you know the history of Puma and Adidas ), which in turn Nike sort of bit with the Air Huaraches.
With the boot open, you grab the back finger loop, slip - or should I say push your foot down into the boot, then there's a drawstring quick lacing system hidden in the back side of the achilles heel protector which you yank up on which tightens the entire boot around the back of your foot, then you interlock the shin and calf protector, cinch the strap, buckle into the latch and you're done.

Yup, no doubt about it it's definitely more involved than the Sidis.

The back drawstring closure was a bit tricky at first to figure, but that was only maybe the first 1 or 2 times you put the boots on or take them off. The drawstring closure makes the boot fit more secure. Nice and snug, but comfortable. The ankle brace also is robust enough without prohibiting the range of motion for riding.

What I did like over the Sidis is that there's no closer mechanism gimmicks or anything else to annoy me or break. I keep having a fear of that red turn-key or the release tab snapping off at some point. It just doesn't feel like very sturdy plastic and I can see on the first cold riding day this thing becoming fragile enough to snap if you forgot to let it warm up when you came in.

Fit and Feel
Whereas as with the Sidis you feel almost as if you are wearing a pair of comfy Italian shoes or touring boots, in the Pumas there's no question that you just dropped your foot into a race boot. If you have ever worn a pair of Ski Boots, the isolating feeling will be remotely similar. They are not as restricting as Ski Boots (I tried doing the Michael Jackson "Smooth Criminal" Lean Forward Test and nearly fell on my face) but they definitely have less range of motion than the Sidis - which is a plus for our purposes.

Another test I did was simply raising my feet off the ground, holding my legs out in front of me, and doing small circles in the air with my foot. With the Sidis there was no issue - it was just like I was doing them in a pair of basketball sneakers.

With the Pumas however, like the Germans say: Nein! The Pumas basically lock your entire foot into a singular unit with the boot which means when you try to accomplish this move your whole lower foot and leg ends up moving.

The one thing I did note while on the bike was the feel of the pegs and foot position. The Vertigo's sole is softer than the Puma's and provides more feedback thru the sole to your foot. The 1000's felt more isolated and numb almost like my Teknic touring boots. It maybe something you become accustomed to after awhile but I do have to give Sidi the high mark in this category. "Balls of your foot" placement or where you foot was exactly positioned was never a question. There is a drawback with all this though - the Sidi Vertigo's soles are notorious for how quickly they wear out. Wearing a hole thru the footpeg section in a year's worth of riding is not unheard of. If you walk in them they will wear thru even faster, so get comfortable with the fact that you will be resoling them what seems to be about every year or so if you are a pretty avid rider.

Range of Motion vs. Protection
Puma wins, period! The industrial designers and mechanical designers behind this boot put a lot of thought into the form and function of this boot and it shows. Laterally, the Sidis leave a bit to be desired. I feel I shouldn't be able to roll my ankle too much in a Race oriented boot but the Vertigos have about as much roll and range as I do in my basketball sneakers. I will say that if I wanted a boot to walk around in and wear all day, the Sidis would be the one to go with. Very comfortable.

The Pumas while having an acceptable range of motion for that sort of thing, you'll end doing a bit of the RoboCop walk. These are definitely not the boots you wear all day to run errands and chill out in. No way around it but the trade off is very well controlled ranges of motion. Beyond certain engineered flexibility points, they will not move! Again, think Ski Boot. It will keep your foot, ankle, and lower leg locked in as singular unit and you will have absolutely no ankle tweaking or twisting, but that doesn't mean it is not completely inflexible.

The up and down range of motion is very good. It should give you all that you need before the Ghost Doctor system kicks and prevents any additional forward or rearward foot and ankle flex.

I already mentioned above how your foot is encased in an exoskeleton like cage which is part of the Ghost Doctor system, well to me that's a big plus. My first motorcycle accident was a low side where my bike ended up slamming down on the side of my foot, trapping it and dragging me along with. Even though I had on full armored boots, the weight of the motorcycle jacked my foot up to the point I thought it was broken. With the Sidi's on, based on the way its armor panels are stitched onto the leather, I wouldn't expect any different. The Sidis provide excellent abrasion and initial impact protection but look as if they're lacking in the sustained impact force protection department.

With the Puma's - hell - I could probably drop an anvil on them and I wouldn't feel a thing as the force would be spread across the entire cage systems as opposed to being concentrated in that one panel area.
 

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Good review for sure, I recently picked up a pair of the Pumas myself as I loved the street all leather units so much the race versions should share the quality...I was right. Although the smx PLus units I've had f or a few years still feel like a favorite old hat, I know the Pumas are supperior in protection when push comes to shove.

Just make sure your sitting down if you forget to undo the rear lace system. I was balancing on one foot when I attempted to pull the boot off. After falling on my face I realized these were NEVER coming off in a crash!:woot:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Good review for sure, I recently picked up a pair of the Pumas myself as I loved the street all leather units so much the race versions should share the quality...I was right. Although the smx PLus units I've had f or a few years still feel like a favorite old hat, I know the Pumas are supperior in protection when push comes to shove.

Just make sure your sitting down if you forget to undo the rear lace system. I was balancing on one foot when I attempted to pull the boot off. After falling on my face I realized these were NEVER coming off in a crash!:woot:
Agreed. I had to put in some real grunt to get the damn things off!
I'm sure this will improve with break in - but I can guarantee these will not slip off your feet or burst open under any circumstance.

Nothing short of Superman is pulling these off once closed.

Since you have a set too White Wings, can you tell me - the ratcheting system to tighten the strap and cinch in the boot. How do you loosen it a few notches? It's a ridge lock system like Ski binding, and goes into the inside of the front face of the boot cuff between the cuff and inner liner, but I don't see the release tab to back it out if say you overtightened the strap and needed to back it out.
 

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I know EXACTLY what you mean. When/if you over tighten the boots you need to follow these steps.

Unbuckle the rigged strap from the buckle so it's free.
Move the strap so it's coming out of the boot at a 90' angle.
Pull straight out.

It's a clever system that doesn't allow the strap to loosen unless you pull straight out from the boot. I will make a video of needed but my guess is our friends at sportbiketrackgear.com have got us covered already.

Interesting color of boot as well. It reminds me of mustard!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm actually interested in the difference between your 1000v2 and my standard 1000's. Yours were supposed to be easier to take off than the first editions I have.
Hmm, that's a good question.
I've seen the V3's and outside of a toe slider redesign, I can't see any other improvements.
 

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pretty good reviews but the sidi you have doesn't have ankle protection right? I don't have that model . I am beginning to like the Puma more and more.

SMX are comfy but are no where near the level of protection as the Puma and upper level Sidis. A* actually have been lacking for years in ankle lateral protection.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
pretty good reviews but the sidi you have doesn't have ankle protection right? I don't have that model . I am beginning to like the Puma more and more.

SMX are comfy but are no where near the level of protection as the Puma and upper level Sidis. A* actually have been lacking for years in ankle lateral protection.
The Vertigos have ankle protection, but the go about it a bit differently.
If you look where the ankle bone would be - that black triangular plastic knob midway up the boot, this is mounted to about 1/2 inch off a plastic cuff that surrounds the back of the ankle and achilles heel.

This is their form of ankle protection for the Vertigo model. Think of that black triangular piece like a frame slider. Provides some cushion and keeping the ankle off the pavement.

I'm sure it's effective and strategically placed; Sidi is a well respected brand who does tons of testing, but is it as good as Pumas, probably not.


On the flipside, I've been all over Puma's site and I can't find A THING about their motorcycle boots? :mad:
So what happens when it's time for me to buy replacement parts like toe sliders and soles? Or what happens if I need parts after a crash? I don't a lot of retailers will stock V2 parts now that the V3's are here, so I'd need to go to Puma directly. I hope they get something up on the web quickly.

As for Alpinestars - hmmph! They've been resting on their brand recognition and name a bit too much for my liking. They've sort of become the Arai of the footwear business, charging too much for 5-6 year old designs with no real new innovation.
 
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