Sidi Wire 2 Air Vent Carbon Review
Cons: Costly, high-weight, can be too stiff, fasteners can be a pain on the fly
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Sidi Wire 2 Air Vent Carbon
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|Pros||Ventilated, unbeatable power-transfer, lots of replaceable parts, durable, stable||Very stiff, light and lean, improved adjustability, natural fit, good-looking||Super low weight, very stable, unbeatable power transfer, great adjustability||Lightweight, stiff, affordable, simple||Surprisingly light, good comfort, quality strap design, affordable|
|Cons||Costly, high-weight, can be too stiff, fasteners can be a pain on the fly||High cost, runs narrow, strict return policy||Less comfort than earlier versions, upper material susceptible to wear, can feel too rigid||Limited comfort, one fastener, mid-range power transfer||Limited stiffness, low breathability, upper can crinkle|
|Bottom Line||The classic Sidi design you’d expect to see peppered throughout the pro peloton||A beautiful, premium road bike shoe that over-delivers across all our performance measures||A pro peloton reimagining of one of the most popular shoes on the road||Sturdy and simple, this is the right shoe for serious road riders on a budget||This is your standard quality road bike shoe — nothing fancy, but enough to get you on the bike and spinning in a reasonable degree of comfort and efficiency|
|Rating Categories||Sidi Wire 2 Air Ven...||Fizik Vento Infinit...||Shimano SH-RC9 S-Phyre||Fizik Tempo Overcur...||Bontrager Solstice|
|Power Transfer (25%)|
|Specs||Sidi Wire 2 Air Ven...||Fizik Vento Infinit...||Shimano SH-RC9 S-Phyre||Fizik Tempo Overcur...||Bontrager Solstice|
|Measured Weight (Pair)||22.9 oz||19.5 oz||18.8 oz||20.8 oz||20.0 oz|
|Outsole||Vent Carbon||R2 Carbon||Carbon fiber||Carbon reinforced nylon||PowerTruss|
|Upper Material||Highly-perforated Microfiber Techpro||Microtex||Synthetic||PU laminate, mesh||Synthetic|
|Closure||Soft Instep Closure Strap, Tecno-3 Push Dials||2 BOA Li2 B dials||Dual Boa Li2 dials||BOA and hook and loop strap||2 hook loop velcro straps|
Our Analysis and Test Results
After riding a few hundred miles through different climates and weather conditions, across different terrain, and even stuck inside on the trainer, we were happy to reaffirm the place of the Sidi Wire 2 Air Vent Carbon near the top of our list as the Top Pick for Stiffness and Power Transfer. The pros ride them for a reason, and that's because they're intense shoes for intense people. They crushed the rest of the field in most measures, with the notable exception of weight, where they were down near the bottom of our field. Though the weight weenies might not be too impressed with them, you would be hard-pressed to find a serious reason not to dig these. Take a look below to see how we break these down and how they do next to their competitors.
This is a pretty hit-or-miss measure for most shoes. Even the best road bike shoes tend to trade comfort for other qualities, like power transfer. It is challenging to bring together attributes like rigidity, incremental adjustment, durability, and comfort while maintaining a sleek, low-profile design. Sidi did just that, putting in a thick padded heel collar ("thick" so far as cycling shoe padding goes) and a smooth, form-fitting Techpro Microfiber upper that hugs the foot and prevents slippage.
These pro racing shoes offer enough comfort for leisurely touring once they're broken in over five or six hours of riding, but it's hard riding that most riders will find to be the area where they excel, and that's not always consistent with comfort.
They're not without their limitations, though. The toe box may be a bit too cramped, creating a hotspot over the top of the toes for some riders, especially if you're wearing thicker socks for cool weather. The pointed shape isn't exactly a universal foot shape, but if it matches your anatomy, it's pretty excellent.
There's also an annoyance across the top of the foot created by the Instep Closure strap. It's billed as a soft thermo-formed EVA pad, but we found it to be a rigid rubber strap fastening the upper and it drives the upper edge of the tongue, which is also rigid, into the upper foot/ankle area, causing some discomfort and chafing.
Otherwise, the upper perfectly hugs the foot, creating what we feel is an unmatched shoe in power transfer and stability.
These kicks aren't super feathery like some of the others. In fact, they rank among the heaviest in our lineup, which we don't mind because they make up for it in sturdiness and support.
They use a full carbon outsole, tough Microfiber Techpro for the upper, and a good deal of padding and other reinforcement to ensure longevity. Unfortunately, that puts these near the bottom of the weight game at 22.9 ounces in Men's size 45 (Euro sizing).
This measure is where the Italian shoes shine. They have unmatched sturdiness and rigidity, buoyed by their great adjustability, which allows riders to dial in and tweak different aspects of the shoe to get a fit that's more customized to your foot and riding form. In addition, the tough Techpro Microfiber upper material and external heel cup minimize wasted movement and direct force directly into your pedal. And, of course, their thick carbon fiber outsole transfers downward energy directly into the cleat platform.
There's a line between too stiff and hyper-efficient, and the Wire 2 rides it. The weave-pattern sole is designed to allow an ergonomic flex to relieve pressure on the plantar tendon and improve circulation, which helps, but some riders might still prefer a less rigid shoe. It's an intense shoe for intense riders, so the trade-off in comfort is usually just expected in the high-end shoes worn by serious riders. There's really not a good way around it. You simply get used to the shoe and don't notice the discomfort because you're focused on hammering and riding hard and fast. In our view, they're every bit worth the tradeoff.
With five points of adjustment, these bad boys dominate the adjustment game. To bring uniform closure to the top of the foot and reduce heel lift, they use their Soft Instep strap anchored by a Tecno 3 buckle.
The buckles have a lever that opens to twist and tighten and closes to keep a low profile when riding. They use a quick release to loosen or two side levers to loosen incrementally. There is a second Tecno 3 buckle and cable closure along the top of the foot with optional cable anchors across the toes. To top it off, they use a heel retention device that can be tightened or loosened to suit your form.
The Wire 2 has tons of customization and adjustability, but when it comes down to it, it's a lot of knob-turning and fidgeting that you probably don't need. And they have something of a childproof feel to them, which ends up being adult-proof when you're in a hurry or on the fly. In a world of proliferating BOA dials with two-way adjustment and pop-releases, Sidi's once cutting-edge fasteners might need a functional rethink. They're hard not to love, but there are certainly easier systems to use out there, and they're all adorning Sidi's top competitors.
One of the great aspects of this model is the replaceability of parts, including the Tecno 3 buckles, Soft Instep strap, and heel and toe pads, greatly increasing longevity, especially of the upper and outsole. The outsole itself is a tough synthetic microfiber, Techpro, bolstered by a reinforced toe and a hard external heel cup. The thick full carbon outsole adds more weight than other models, but it pays off in added durability.
You can expect these shoes to last many seasons and take a lot of abuse, but hopefully, the latter never has to be tested.
You would be hard-pressed to find a better pro-level shoe. They go for a pro price, but you are getting a top-shelf shoe that will likely crush for a few years. If you're a runner, you'll easily run through that cash in a few seasons and have a fraction of the performance and consistency across seasons.
The toughest part of wearing these sweet high-end racing shoes was the idea of parting with them at the end of our review. It's true that they are not the cheapest shoes out there, and that automatically puts them out of reach for a lot of riders and parsimonious people, but as we mentioned in the value section, these should last a really long time if you take care of them.
Few other bike shoes can touch these on power transfer and potential longevity, not to mention a solid showing in the rest of the categories. If your budget allows it and your skill level demands it, we recommend giving these a spin. Or if you're a sucker for beautiful Italian design and aesthetics. We'd be crazy not to acknowledge that Sidi is yet another manifestation of Italy's indomitable prowess in fine artisanry - or at least preserving the look and feel once production moves to scale or picks up new ownership.
— Ryan Baham
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