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Monday, July 23, 2018

Long Term Review: Sidi Men's SD15 MTB shoes

When I first reviewed the Sidi SD15 MTB shoes, I'd only had 200 miles on them. They hadn't seen any touring, but I put them through the trial by fire on a 20 day tour, where these were the only shoes I wore throughout the entire trip.

As mentioned in the prior review, these are strictly compromise shoes. If I'm at home doing day rides without significant walking involved, I'll use my old Pearl Izumis or vintage SIDI shoes with Velcro on them. If I'm going to go hiking with my kids, I'm going to wear some form of hiking shoes or running shoes instead. The SD15 will not outperform any dedicated cycling shoe or hiking shoe for the specific purpose.

What are the limitations? I've discovered that over multiple hard days, such as the hard ride up the Stelvio, followed by a hard day over 4 passes into Livigno and then Switzerland, followed by Albula pass and then a long 70 mile run into Austria and Germany, the thin laces that don't bother me on any single day ride dig into the uppers and then into my feet, which cause significant pain. I wouldn't feel it on the first 10 miles of the day, but after about 20 miles of hard climbing or 50 miles of flat riding the digging will bother me and then I won't be happy until I have an hour or so of bare foot time.

For hiking, the limitation isn't the discomfort, but the traction. These shoes are way better than my previous SIDIs or any "competition" focused shoe, but in the end, every time you step on a rock, you're going to have to be a little bit more careful than with an uncleated shoe.

All in all, I'm happy with the compromise these shoes represent. Would I wear them on an adult tour of the Alps? No way. For those tours, I know I'm not going to do a 12 mile hike with 1 of those miles through a water-drenched gorge (or if I do, I'll spend $20 on hiking sticks to provide additional traction, or just buy some new shoes just for the hike). Would I wear them at home? No, at home I don't switch modes often. But for a tour where you can only bring one pair of shoes, I'll still bring them. Maybe if SIDI made a pair of these with a velcro closure mechanism instead of the fancy "clicking" string, that'll be the ideal compromise.

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