What's Cool In Road Cycling

Sidi Wire 2 Carbon Air Shoe Review: Hole-y Moly

Sidi Wire 2 Carbon Air Shoes roll in as the brand’s second-from-top line kicks, but are they really second best? With double dial closure, a soft instep strap and LOADS of ventilation, I think these are the top dogs…

Sidi has been at or near the top of most folks cycling (and moto) footwear list for a couple of decades. Snuggled into arguably (and possibly IN-arguably) the performance footwear capital of the world, the Montebelluna region in northeast Italy, Sidi has continually pumped out improved models over the years.

While the “Shot” is currently the top of Sidi’s heap (and price point), my choice for their best product is actually the latest “Wire” model, the Wire 2 Carbon Air (W2CA).

So how can it be that a shoe retailing for a fair chunk of change less could be the better choice?

In fairness to a very good shoe in the Shot, I have a particular need that might not be priority 1 for footwear… I live in Phoenix Arizona, where morning rides start at 5:00AM. But it’s not the time of the ride start that makes me enjoy the “W2CA’s” over the “Shot”, it’s the thing that creates the necessity of that early start.

The morning low temps in Phoenix in the summer average in the ’80s (28c). While that’s the average, lots of rides will start in the high 80’s to low 90’s (32c)… At 5-f^cking AM… The rides virtually always end in the 100-s – 110’s (43c).

So unless you’re one of Sidi’s Pro-Tour sponsored riders and can have a set of the “Shot’s” made with a fully perforated outsole like the W2CA’s, if you live in anything like my world, THIS is what makes the Wire 2 Carbon Air the best shoe Sidi currently make.

The W2CA’s uppers are made from a PU Microfiber that Sidi call TechPro. Sidi has been making versions of this Microfiber for several years and it’s a very good material. Water resistant (obviously not waterproof with all the holes…) Techpro doesn’t soak up sweat or water from outside sources so that you have to carry it around with you as natural leather does.

This also gets a hydrophobic and bio resistant treatment that helps eliminate mold and bacteria from forming. TechPro is also fairly resilient and scuff and tear resistant while, and it won’t stretch out of shape like leather, all while remaining fairly supple and pliable so that it forms to feet with relative comfort.

Another feature that I actually prefer with the W2CA’s is the top strap. Sidi call this the Soft Instep Closure system. It is adjustable for position…

This is a stiff section of material with a soft padded backing that wraps comfortably around the top of my foot… I actually prefer the feel and position to having the harder dial platform down the center of the shoe found on several top-line models from lots of brands today. The Shot’s are relatively comfortable mind you, I just like this better as it sits above the portion of the last and tongue and while it’s very secure, the strap has nearly no contact with my foot/ankle.

The strap is secured with one of two adjustable Techno-3 Push dials.

The second Techno 3 Dial secures a larger length of Sidi’s Wire.

Over the past several thousand miles I’ve had in Sidi shoes, their wire has never once bound up or tangled and their buckles haven’t jammed… So the fact that both the wire and dials of this new system are upgraded to be even stronger and less likely to foul, jam or snag has me thinking this will work fairly flawlessly.

Perhaps the only drawback is that under shoe covers, these dials are not as easily snugged as others, but then shoe covers don’t really get a lot of play in Phoenix, and when they do, it’s generally a different pair of shoes in that season anyway.

One of the areas that Sidi deviate from most all others is that they have active and adjustable retention at the back of the shoes as well, in the form of their Adjustable Heel Retention system.

There are two little “wings” at the upper section of the heel cup (one on each side that helps the cup squeeze in a little at your Achilles). The screw pictured above changes the tension at these wings and genuinely tightens this section making an already secure molded heel cup fit a bit more securely (and in a fashion that I think adds comfort).

Ah, and that the heel cup is also ventilated…

As you might expect, Sidi uses the Vent Carbon Sole for the W2CA’s…

Sure, there are vents in the “Vent” sole… One at the midfoot that is always open.

And another at the toe that is adjustable with the same standard Phillips head screwdriver that you can use to REPLACE THE TREADS AT THE TOE AND HEEL.


Ah, and yes these vents are clean through to the interior and not cosmetic…

I tossed in the caps above on replaceable treads because it seems like most manufacturers have come to the conclusion that gluing on heel treads to save weight (and cost) is the way to go.  While I like light shoes just as much as the next guy, I also like being able to wear shoes for years, and Sidi’s replacement parts (buckles, straps, dials, heel and type pads) make a lot of sense when you’re dropping several hundred bucks on a pair of kicks.

The Vent Carbon sole is stiff, but not so much that there isn’t a bit flex in the back third of the shoe. While “stiffness” is generally touted as a more-is-better sales feature, a completely stiff/unbending sole would be terrible. The trick is to keep the forefoot area that stabilizes the cleat attachment stiff so that it doesn’t deform and create lumps in the toe box/forefoot of the shoe. But as you stand and sit and move around a bit on the bike, you do want a shoe that will move a bit and allow your ankle to align with your knee.  There’s just that slight bit of twist allowed here.

Another feature I would rather all shoes be made with is a functional anti-slip cleat surface with properly placed measures.

Not a huge deal as most shoes have some sort of surface treatment in the cleat area, but many are aesthetic, where this actually works.

Sidi has also provided a bit better insole in recent years. The latest version being a vibe damping base forefoot and a slightly denser arch and heel.

These insoles are perforated from toes through the midfoot…

Which makes sense because the vented soles are not simply cosmetic window dressing…

The shape of the insole is fairly neutral so a lot of people shopping at this price point will still replace the stock beds (as is the case for most stock shoe manufacturers), and in that case, the interior of the shoe is also fairly neutral in the W2CA’s, meaning you can insert aftermarket soles who’s shape will be well maintained.

On The Road
The Wire 2 Carbon Airs move air well, toes to heel. So much so that early spring had me complaining of cold feet on days in the ’50s, as I could actually feel them venting and the feeling of cold was all the way back to my heels.

On mild and warm days, these are the current ventilation favorites along with Giro’s Prolight Techlace, where the Techlace is a bit less stiff and also lack the mid-foot sole ventilation (and replaceable heel and toe pads) but do come in quite a bit lighter.

Really, those contrasting features are what sets a shoe like the Wire 2 Carbon Air apart from a lot of “less is more” (in both features, weight and money) that brands are selling today.

Both the W2CA’s and Shot’s represent Sidi’s commitment to a full-featured, no sacrifices shoe and the craftsmanship is VERY good… There’s not a stitch out of place and the design flows well.

Sidi’s materials upgrades for both the SHOT and Wire 2 is well appreciated. The TechPro Microfiber hugs your foot well and the new dial adjustments are appropriately small and accurate, making the upper portion basically disappear when properly tightened. The dial placements allow the wire to snug up evenly across the forefoot and the newly smaller (and purposefully shaped) padded strap holds my foot in place with nearly no sense of where the dials and wires are. It’s like pulling on a compression sock that hugs your foot without binding. Even the slight adjustment to the heel retention system makes it all seem form fit.

I wear a C-D width shoe mind you, but the design here allows for these to fit well into the D’s, and Sidi are famous for their “Mega” offerings as well for those of you that should quack rather than speak.

This fitting and the lack of pulling and binding means the stress on the shoe is spread out, meaning this upper is very likely going to last a while. That makes me happy that the heel and toe pads being replaceable are a good thing.

All in all, my feeling is that in the case you’re in warmer climates, the Wire 2 Carbon Air is Sidi’s real top of the line shoe… In mild or cooler places, it’s the Shot. Putting both shoes on, I honestly feel no difference in performance or comfort beyond the added ventilation (though the heel cup is also supposed to be a bit more rigid on the Shot).

With that, saving a few dollars shouldn’t break your heart either. The Wire 2 Carbon Air Retail for $499, where the Shot rolls out at $549. Not inexpensive, but this is detailed craftsmanship using top-flight materials to build a full-featured shoe.

You can find more at SIDI.COM

In North America you’ll find these through: Ciclista-America.com

• Check SIDI pricing and buy em here.

• Link to buy the Park Tools Shop Screwdriver Set here

Have Fun,
Charles Manantan
[email protected]

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