Climbing the infamous Galibier during the Marmotte sportive is an eerie experience. You might be sharing this fearsome French alpine test with hundreds of other riders, but nobody talks. The only sounds are tyres slowly fighting gravity and, this July, some gently creaking Sidi Fives.
By the time these Fives had made it to the mountains they’d had a good few hundred miles put into them, but the durable Lorica faux leather had yet to reach maximum suppleness. It will, and next time they hit an Alp they’re bound to be running silent. And here ends the nit-picking criticism, because in all other respects the Sidi Five is an outstanding shoe.
Of course, at £205 a pair you’d expect it to be. Even more so because they’re Sidis – long beloved of the pro peloton and minted amateur alike, specifically because this Italian brand is one of the best in the cycling shoe business. A little bit of noise, that you’ll only ever notice in unreal conditions – or maybe while walking through a quiet house en route to the bike – is the only criticism.
The breathable upper, which is mesh as well as Lorica, really is slipper-like, helped by a subtly padded tongue and seam-free lining. This comfort is enhanced by the ease with which you can tailor the fit to your foot. Velcro straps across the forefoot and midfoot have added nylon teeth, which increase both security and adjustability.
The uppermost strap has a large pad for even pressure over the arch and the buckle is highly adjustable for width. However, because these are an Italian brand, the wider footed should definitely try before they buy. The buckle is also easy to adjust when you’re on the move – one press will incrementally loosen it if you want to relieve any pressure while riding. Our tester’s narrow heel was well supported too.
The carbon-fibre-reinforced nylon sole is as stiff as you’d like, with only minimal flex. This is great for power transfer, yet also proved surprisingly comfortable – hotspots and cramps caused by immovable feet were never an issue. Another welcome, typical Sidi touch is that the buckles and heel pads are replaceable. If past experience is anything to go by, the rest of the shoe will last for years. They’re pretty light too, at 325g (euro size 45).
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine.