- Myriad adjustment
- Limited colour options
When roaming the paddocks of the Tour de France in 2019, the Cyclingnews tech team was excited to see Italian Alberto Bettiol roaming around the EF Education First bus rocking iridescent shoes. New shoes always pique our interest, and these were the Sidi Wire 2 Carbon Air cycling shoes.
That was last year, and in that time nothing has changed to the Sidi Wire 2 shoes, so why are we looking at them now? Well, with the Sidi Wire 2 Carbon road shoes taking a spot in our guide to the best cycling shoes we thought it time to put them to the test alongside their peers to see how they measure up.
It's worth reiterating that we have the Sidi Wire 2 Carbon Air shoes, which differ from Sidi Wire 2 Carbon shoes by way of increased 'air', or ventilation. This comes virtue of hundreds of tiny vent holes across the upper material of the shoe.
There is also a 'Matt' version of the shoe which, perhaps unsurprisingly, comes in matt colourways.
Waltzing into the fray at £330.00 / $499.99, you'd be forgiven for thinking these shoes are the best cycling shoes available from the Italian brand, but if it's price alone that we consider then there is a 'better' pair in Sidi's lineup. Or at least, a pair that will make a bigger dent in your pocket. The Sidi Shot, which features two central Tecno dials retails at £350.00 / $549.99.
Also worth mentioning is the Sidi Sixty, which were launched in late 2019 in celebration of the company's 60th anniversary, and will also set you back £330.00.
We're not sure who did Sidi's currency conversion, but customers in the USA might want to consider looking to the UK market to save a few dollars.
There's no denying the Sidi Wire 2 shoes are premium then, so what is it you get for your money?
Well, upon opening the box, you're greeted with your shoes - of course - along with a drawstring bag inside which you can store them, should you wish. There's also two spare screws, two washers and an L-shaped allen-key-and-screwdriver for all the adjustment on offer (we'll come to that later).
Design and aesthetics
When it comes to the design of the Sidi Wire 2 Carbon Air shoes, we're pretty sure adjustability was on the brief, as it's something that's been built into almost every part of the shoe.
The obvious adjustability of retention is more considered than most of the competition. Rather than taking an off-the-shelf solution from BOA, Sidi patented its own system called Tecno, of which the Sidi Wire 2 shoes use two. One of which is built into the tongue for a somewhat hidden aesthetic, while the upper dial is in the common position on the outstep near the top of the foot.
These dials offer a similar end result to the BOA system you're probably familiar with, but with a fold-out ratchet handle and quick release levers. They're also replaceable, should you wish to bling up your shoes even more. How they compare from a usability standpoint is yet to be confirmed. We'll be sure to report back after we've used the shoes.
On the instep of the shoe, there's further adjustability still. The upper Tecno dial is fitted to a pressure-reducing wrap-over EVA pad, which instead of being sewn or glued into the shoe, is fitted by way of a 13-point-adjustable toothed strap.
At the back of the shoes there's something called a 'Reflex adjustable heel retention device', which put simply, features two screws that adjust the shoe to grip your heel. As per the images below, you get approximately 10mm of lateral adjustment, which transitions from comfortable-but-not-quite-secure loose to I'm-probably-going-to-get-blisters-if-I-leave-them-like-this tight.
Flip the shoes over and say hello to the 'Vent Carbon Sole', which is as stiff as a concrete breeze block. At the front of the sole is another option for adjustment. There's a replaceable toe pad, which isn't uncommon on the best cycling shoes, but the addition of a piece of sliding plastic which covers-and-uncovers a v-shaped vent beneath the toes gives you the option to increase or decrease wind ingress, depending on your climate.
There is just the one standard colour available which is predominantly white, however, two limited-edition options also exist. The first consisted of a pale-blue upper and is difficult to come by now. The second is an iridescent blue-purple flick. We weren't provided with the choice when requesting a pair for review, but we're not unhappy to have the second limited-edition colourway. The lack of options might be a deal-breaker for some, but Sidi seems to have gone for quality over quantity, as none of the three colourways disappoint.
A close look at the material itself suggests they should be easy to wipe clean, however, the myriad vent holes could be a source of water - and therefore dirt - ingress that might be tough to remove without a toothpick and too much time to kill.
Compared to the retro-modern combination of the Fizik Infinito R1 shoes, or the racing chic of the Rapha Powerweave shoes, Sidi's Wire 2 Carbon Air takes on a considerably more 'in-your-face' modern approach, with the obvious plain weave carbon sole and Transformers heel. That's no bad thing.
The cleat nuts don't sit in adjustable channels like some others, but the fixed position is neutral, so the possible cleat positions should still suit a wide spectrum of riders' needs.
The Sidi Wire 2 Carbon Air shoes are far from light. At 342g per shoe (size 46 without cleats), they concede 35 grams to the Fizik Infinito R1 shoes and 86 grams per shoe to the svelte Giro Empire SLX in the same size.
The insoles are around a 3/10 on arch support, which means nothing without context, so let's just say they're not very supportive. The sole of the shoe itself is rather flat, too, so if you're anything like me, you'll probably be swapping them out for something higher, and that will come with an extra cost that'll need factoring in.
No stiffness index rating is provided, but in comparison to others, the layman's test of bending by hand results in zero flex whatsoever.
At first impressions, sizing is ever-so-slightly on the small side. The EU46 (converted as a UK11 and US12) fits my feet but the wiggle room at the toe is lacking. Only time will tell if this is going to cause discomfort.
There's a centimetre measurement quoted by Sidi's size guide, which puts these shoes at 28.5cm. This is actually 12mm shy of the length quoted by Fizik for the same sized shoe. It's worth noting the difference in size is nowhere near this much.
Tech spec: Sidi Wire 2 Carbon Air
- Price: £330.00 / $499.99
- Weight without cleats: 342g (actual, size EU46)
- Outsole: Sidi Vent Carbon Sole
- Stiffness index: N/A
- Retention: Tecno 3 and Single-Tecno-3
- Colours: White, Pale Blue, Iridescent (Air)
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