I adored the Sidi Wire Air Carbon as soon as I opened the box, with every inch of them imploring: "Race me, race me!" They have micro-adjustability, a stiff sole and super comfortable upper (as long as the stiff tongue softens). They are on the heavy side for race shoes, but for me, the feelgood factor when wearing these overrode the weight penalty.
Male fit available
Heavy for race shoes
Everyone knows that feeling good and looking good on a bike is worth at least 50 watts on the start line, and you can't get a better example of this than with the Sidi Wire Air Carbon.
The Wire Air Carbon sits at the top of the tree in Sidi's women's-specific range, with just the Sidi Shot men's shoe ahead of it in the entire Sidi road shoe collection.
Sidi believes that women’s feet contour more steeply compared to men’s, so it has therefore designed the Wire Air Carbon to fit with less volume in the instep, a narrow heel cup and area across the ball of the foot, and built on a last with a sharper taper.
The manmade upper (microfibre Polyurethane) has multiple points to also allow you to dial the fit precisely to your foot with the instep, heel and two TECHNO-3 PUSH dials all adjustable via small increments or full release.
Above the reinforced heel cup sits the Tallone Sidi, which prevents any longterm use deformity. The Sidi Wire Air Carbon has an adjustable heel retention device which Sidi says reinforces the back of the heel and allows you to close the heel cup to prevent any slipping in the shoe.
Securing the rest of your foot in place is what Sidi calls TECHNO-3 PUSH dials, which runs the entire length of the shoe. Similar to the wire cable fasting system of the Boa dials, two adjustment points allow the ratcheting in of the cable. With an additional instep closure system, a wide, anatomically curved strap combined with a soft, thermo-formed EVA pad that Sidi says distributes pressure evenly over the instep area, it all adds up to a very snug and secure shoe in even the most powerful of sprints.
Attached to all this adjustment of the Sidi Wire Air Carbon is a Vent Carbon sole, which as the name would suggest has built-in ventilation and air channels.
While I can’t verify Sidi's biological claims regarding a woman's foot, the Wire Air Carbon did fit my feet in all the right places. It's worth taking time to play about with the adjustments as I found it turned a comfortable shoe in a superior bespoke-feeling shoe, almost. The stiffness of the tongue against the top of my foot was noticeable after 30 minutes, something I’m hoping will soften in time as I really don’t want to attack them with a pair of scissors.
While these dials and screws all provide a super-secure fit, I suspect they are also responsible for the Sidi’s weight penalty: at 280g each, these one of the heaviest race shoe on the market. But with a very stiff vented carbon sole making an incredibly stiff shoe and with a low stack height I swiftly forgot any extra weight.
Forgetting the tongue issue, Sidi has managed to impressively balance comfort and sole stiffness. Add this to the low stack of the sole, which allows all pedal effort to be transformed into forward motion of the bike, and I could quite happily spend all day in these shoes.
One thing worth noting is that Sidis have historically come up very small, and the Wire Air Carbons are no exception – so you'll probably have to go up a couple of sizes.
There's no denying the Sidi Wire Air Carbon is high end, and that will always equate to expensive. With these coming it at £325, they will certainly require a home accounts conversation before handing over the credit card.
But with a fit close to made-to-measure, and performance close to perfection, these Italian disco slippers won't fail to make you better on a bike – and not just because of the way they look.
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Hannah is Cycling Weekly’s longest-serving tech writer, having started with the magazine back in 2011. She has covered all things technical for both print and digital over multiple seasons representing CW at spring Classics, and Grand Tours and all races in between.
Hannah was a successful road and track racer herself, competing in UCI races all over Europe as well as in China, Pakistan and New Zealand.
For fun, she's ridden LEJOG unaided, a lap of Majorca in a day, won a 24-hour mountain bike race and tackled famous mountain passes in the French Alps, Pyrenees, Dolomites and Himalayas.
She lives just outside the Peak District National Park near Manchester UK with her partner, daughter and a small but beautifully formed bike collection.
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