Sidi shoes. I adore them, but they’re filthy expensive. But they are so well-made and durable. Do I really need $550 mtb shoes? Maybe not, but then I think about Sarah-Jessica-Parker-Bueller-whatsername’s character from that one TV series where every episode she was dropping $800 bucks on some kind of heels. But unlike ridiculous dress shoes, my Sidi Dragon 2’s are meant for some serious use.
The new Dragon 2 comes in either black or red microfibre, and both colours are shiny like patent leather. I thought it would be fun if I asked my girlfriend for her opinion on which colour to get, since she thinks all cycling clothing is retarded.
She said “Shiny red!” without a moment’s hesitation.
“But you don’t think that’d make me look like a slut, do you?”
“You are a slut,” she said.
At this point, I’m not sure I could switch to another brand of cycling shoe. I mean, my feet have spent more time encased in Sidi shoes over the past 15 years than any other shoe, cycling or otherwise. My feet have virtually been molded into a Sidi shape.
The new Dragon 2 shares most of the same feature as the first Dragon shoe introduced 4 or 5 years ago. Essentially, the original Dragon took the brand’s industry gold standard Dominator mtb shoe and added a twist-ratchet closure in the middle position and replaceable outsole lugs. The Dragon 2 adds a hybrid plastic/carbon sole similar to the first-gen Ergo road shoe.
I’ve used a pair of the original Dragons as my main summer riding shoe for the past four years. Since just about everything that can wear-out is replaceable, I thought I could get a few more years out of those shoes, but alas this was not to be so. The soles of those 1st-gen Dragons were actually more flexible than the less expensive Dominator because the sole had less material to allow for the replaceable outsole lugs. Over time, I managed to distort the shape of the sole where the cleat mounts. This summer the shoes had gotten to the point that my Speedplay Frog cleats (which contain the retention mechanism rather than the pedal itself) could no longer function properly. After having experienced inadvertent pedal egress at exceedingly inopportune moments, I decided to get new shoes.
Readers should keep in mind that I am very hard on shoes and if not for that and the technical idiosyncrasies of the Speedplay Frog pedals, those 1st-gen Dragons might have lasted years more. I have higher hopes for new ones, as the carbon sole should hold it’s shape unless it cracked, and I think I can replace the carbon if it does. You see, Sidi has always considered shoe stiffness to be a quality for which there is an optimum quantity. In other words, Sidi thinks a sole that is too stiff is no more desirable than one that is too flexible. Thus the Dragon 2 sole is actually a plastic sole that incorporates carbon plates specially shaped to provide stiffness where you need it while allowing just the right amount of flex in the toe area.
Does it work? Yes, the shoe has just the right amount of flex for me, keeping in mind that I generally like a rigid shoe. These are shoes designed for racing UCI World Cup, so tender foots might not find them to be pillowy slippers. Many people have commented that Sidi insoles are rather minimal (less charitable opinions call them “worthless as paper”). My main complaint is that the older grey insoles lost shape and slid around the shoe interior after wearing out quickly, though the newer blue insoles seem to hold up better. But they are still somewhat thin on padding.
So in the short run, these shoes look ridiculously flashy, are stiff to my liking, and theoretically should endure many seasons under hard use. Is that worth $550 retail? Well these are the first shoes of any kind that I’ve purchased in over a year, and I didn’t buy them to wear a couple times to cocktail parties. I think it’s justifiable.