This article originally appeared on BikeRadar
The Sidi Shot may well be the most expensive stock cycling shoes on the market. They come with unique technical bits, such as the adjustable heel enclosure, plus a huge amount of tradition and experience from the Italian cobbler. But are these shoes really worth £359 / $549? It's a hard sell.
- Highs: Comfortable for many riders; effective and adjustable heel closure
- Lows: Heavy, expensive and the dials aren't as easy to loosen as Boas
- Buy if: You're an Italophile and like the idea of an adjustable heel
In sharp contrast to the new ultralight and ultra-pliable Giro Prolight Techlace shoes, the Sidi Shots are much more substantial in the hand and on the foot.
Getting your foot into the Shot feels almost like snapping a cleat into a pedal, or stomping your foot into a ski boot. Getting your foot out is similar. But as with a good cleat/pedal interface, the benefit is a feeling of positive engagement with your bike.
Some of this ski-boot feel comes from the shape of the unique adjustable heel closure, and some from the semi-stiff upper material, but much of the structured feel comes from the chunky plastic mount that the two dials sit on atop the tongue.
The adjustable heel enclosure provides a noticeable secure fit, and unlike other shoes with tight tops to the heel cups, the Shot's mechanical adjustment shouldn't expand over time
Sidi began making shoes with dials way back before Boas were a thing in cycling. As perhaps a forebear to the Shot, Sidi even had a design with a plastic lace that went around the heel.
Unlike some Boas that can tighten and loosen in small increments, the dials on the Shot only tighten. You press a spring-loaded level at the base of each dial to release and then unwind the dial or pull your foot up to loosen the shoe.
Sidi calls its latest adjustment system the Techno 3 Push System. When flipped open, the dial tops allow for micro-adjust tightening. To loosen, you need to push the black spring-loaded button and either turn the dial or just pull your foot out
The dials tighten smoothly, evenly pulling on both sides of the shoe. The top dial pulls a loop around a slotted anchor on each side of the shoe; the lower dials pull a figure-eight loop around two anchors on each side.
The system works well enough for getting a comfortable fit, and there is no stretching of the wires on the upper. Getting the shoes off requires two hands and some tugging.
Adjustable heel with sculpted padding
There are three primary components to the Shot’s heel: a solid external heel cup, a sculpted inner with a padded lip, and the adjustable external closure that clamps down over the top of the heel.
The first two are already in use in other shoes by Sidi and a few other brands. The idea is to keep the foot, which naturally flexes, solidly engaged with a carbon-soled cycling shoe, which does not. In Sidis and other shoes, it works well.
Both Specialized's new S-Works 6 (far left) and Shimano's new S-Phyre (yellow) have tight heel cup tops. The DMT at far right has the more traditional rounded shape
What’s novel here is the addition of a plastic c-clamp on the back, which can be adjusted via screws on either side for width.
When combined with the first two, it locks the foot solidly into the shoe. The feel is quite similar to Specialized’s relatively new S-Works 6 shoe, which has an extraordinarily tight heel (but no adjustable clamp). The S-Works is a chore to get into, but once on, can be ridden without tightening the Boa laces.
The upper heel of the S-Works 6, however, can slightly change shape over time. The Shot’s plastic clamp seems impervious to stretching.
The Sidi and Specialized heels both feel locked in place once on
Thick sole, plain insole
Sidi doesn’t disclose sole thickness, but I measured it at about 10mm, which is certainly on the beefier side of stack height. Contrast that to, say, the 5mm of Pearl Izumi’s Leader III (which eliminated the cardboard lasting board most shoes use).
On the plus side, it’s certainly a stiff pedaling platform.
Contributing to the shoe’s weight and perhaps the sole thickness are screws fore and aft, with a replaceable heel pad and an adjustable vent under the toes.
The mechanical vent closure is more polished than my electrical-tape solution, but heavier
As someone who wore a pair of Sidi years ago until the heel pad wore nearly clean off — and someone who sometimes tapes over shoe vents in the winter — I can appreciate the reasoning behind both.
The insole is about as plain and flat as you can get. Some competitors ship high-end shoes with either multiple insoles for various foot volumes or arch heights, or adjustable inserts. A Sidi proponent might argue that good shoes don’t need gimmicky tinkering. Personally, I find the stock fit comfortable, but know that if you want to adjust for arches or metatarsal support, it’s going to cost you more.
While some brands have gone with adjustable fore/aft in the cleat bolts, Sidi has kept its tried-and-true position
Bottom line: a robust, high-engagement, high-dollar shoe
With Sidi you get some of the best and the worst of an old school Italian brand. Fit is of course a personal thing, but the Sidi last didn’t just drop out of the sky. Sidi cobblers have been making shoes for the world’s best for decades. That knowledge and applied craftsmanship count for something.
I have found previous Sidis to last for years, and see no reason why the Shots would be any different, with their sturdy construction and replaceable parts.
Getting in and out of the shoes is a bit of a chore. The weight and sole thickness are basically twice that of best-in-class competitors, and the price towers above all other stock cycling shoes on the market. But if and when you get past all that, the reward is a comfortable, locked-in feeling when on the bike.
Sidi earned its reputation as a master shoemaker decades ago, and the Shot is a fine road shoe. But I would want a much lighter overall package and a more robust insole before I could say the price is justified