Inside Sidi Shoes

Jul 5, 2016
by Matt Wragg  




While SIDI may not be a familiar name for those who follow gravity racing, or the more lycra-oriented side of things, they are nothing short of legendary. While Nino Schurter and Julien Absalon may have spent the 2015 XCO season duking it out at the front of the pack, what they have in common is that they both raced to victory in SIDI shoes. On the road, riders in SIDI shoes have taken twelve titles in the world's most prestigious cycling race, the Tour de France - the most recent coming with Chris Froome in 2015. On the moto side, Toni Cairoli has been dominating the European motocross scene in their boots. It's fair to say that there is some pedigree there. Founded by Signori Dino in 1960, SIDI has grown from a single man making shoes to one of the world's premier footwear brands - we took a look behind the scenes at their headquarters in Asolo, Italy.




Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.
Design is important to Signori Dino, so when it was time to build their current headquarters, top of the list of requirements was for it to be unique and stylish. We reckon they have managed that.

Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.

Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.
Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.
When you enter the building, the first thing you see are the shoes and boots of their sponsored athletes from every sport and discipline they are involved in - they are clearly immensely proud of their involvement with them.

Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.
Tucked away on the display are these - this was Signori's idea for a pedal retention system, before the arrival of clipless pedals.

Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.
Despite his 80 years, Signori Dino shows no sign of slowing down, still putting in the long hours and keeping himself involved in every aspect of the day-to-day business. It's only in recent years, and on strict doctor's orders, that he has finally had to give up riding.

Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.
It is in this room where all of SIDI's cycling shoes are designed and developed.

Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.

Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.

Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.
Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.

Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.

Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.
There is a small annexe to the design studio where all their prototypes are handcrafted.

Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.
Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.

Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.
Beneath the offices and studios is SIDI's production facility for their ultra-high end offerings. Production begins with the foot form - SIDI has a number of different models to work from, one for men, one for women and their mega size for wider-footed riders.

Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.
Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.

Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.

Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.
Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.
For their top athletes they have custom footforms made - and among the names on those shelves are some you would expect to see there, and some you probably wouldn't.

Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.
Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.

Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.
The upper is first assembled by hand, sewn together into a single piece.

Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.
The upper is then heated and pressed around the foot form, to mould it to the shape of a foot.

Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.

Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.
Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.

Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.
Additional elements, like heel protectors, are then added onto the outer.

Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.
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Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.

Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.
Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.

Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.

Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.
The underside of the upper is then sanded down and prepped with adhesive, as is the sole, ready for the two to be joined.

Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.
First the sole is hand-pressed into place, then machine-pressed after.

Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.

Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.
Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.

Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.
The completed shoe is then sanded down and any adornments are added on.

Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.
As the shoes are fitted with an innersole and packed into their boxes there is one final inspection for quality before they are ready to be sent to customers.

Inside SIDI. Asolo Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.
The finished shoes proudly bear the marking "Made in Italy."



50 Comments

  • + 8
 inSidi shoes.
  • + 10
 The Asolo/Montebelluna area of Italy is the footwear capital of the world. Up the street from Sidi is Alpine Stars, around the corner is Gaerne, Scarpa is 2 minutes away, and basically every other touring & alpine ski boot company does their development & a lot of their production in the area. So basically if you have a foot fetish, it's your place to be.
  • + 1
 SIDI really puts there best foot forward! I've used there shoes exclusively for the last 20 years.....I've had two pairs and about to start on my third
  • + 3
 @colincolin: (read in an Italian accent)
  • + 18
 This article is a load of old cobblers.
  • + 4
 Actually just one 80 year old cobbler, that's all. But if the shoe were on the other foot....
  • + 1
 They visited during lunch time. If you know what I'm saying.
  • - 2
 @chyu: We all know about that Italian lunch. They tend to drink a bit of wine, take a nap, come back to work late. Just don't buy the Friday afternoon specials.
  • + 9
 Sidi really need to make a shoe for real trail/mountain biking. I love mine but the grips don't last if you have to hike a bike. Come on Sidi, the markets passing you by.
  • + 2
 The really do. They make the best XC shoe bar none. They make the SD15 trail shoe, which is trash, flexible like a loafer, and only in whole sizes. I returned mine.
  • + 3
 Love the fit, quality and longevity of their XC shoes but would definitely like to see a Sidi version of the Giro Terraduro or S-Works Trail
  • + 1
 Odd that with their Moto dominance, that they haven't gotten into flats for MTN bikes. Their XC shoes are head and shoulder above the rest, I miss wearing them as I've transitioned to more fun riding styles!
  • + 0
 This is exactly what i was thinking. In my short 6 year XC racing career i wore a pair of Northwaves and two pairs of Sidis. The first bought used, where the velcro straps soon gave out. I got the Eagle 5 in something like 2005, which are still in the closet, sitting there, waiting to be abused again, while i've been riding flats for the past 8 years...
  • + 9
 Hey Matt - his name is Dino Signori.
  • + 0
 This needs to be higher, have an upvote.
  • + 5
 "...It's only in recent years, and on strict doctor's orders, that he has finally had to give up riding." Damn, that's a depressing prospect that there could be a day when you are ordered not to ride anymore.
  • + 1
 "never stop riding" said the mind
"ouch" said the prostate
  • + 8
 Now show us how the MX or GP boots are made Smile
  • + 3
 Finally retired my bright Aqua blue Sidi's after nearly 13 years. When it's time to buy another pair of clipless shoes, Sidi's will be top of the list. One of the only shoe company that makes a big foot shoe, size 50! If only they made a shoe for the trail/am crowd!
  • + 1
 Exactly, you decide when to retire a Sidi, they never fail. After 10 yrs I could still wear mine, it was just time for something new.
  • + 3
 Its pretty awesome that there's a lot of energy and so much engineering and thought that goes into shoes that do one thing really well.

I'm OK though with some flats and 5/10 freeriders.
  • + 1
 I'd buy a Sidi quality flat mtb shoe in a heart beat...love my Sidi moto boots and used to pedal xc in hand me down sidi's... Unlike my current flat shoe selection ( looking at you 5010) I would expect a quality Italian leather show made with care too last longer then oh say 3 month before the sides come unglued...a mix of 5010 soles and Sidi uppers would be so sweet
  • + 4
 On my second pair of Sidi Shoes now... Got 11 years out of the first pair.
  • + 3
 My boss used to compete in XC and he still uses a 15 year old pair to make dh and enduro.
  • + 1
 @homerjm: I'm not surprised the least bit. They make world class gear. The first time I put on a new pair, they felt as comfortable as my old pair-- It felt like home.
  • + 1
 Mine are 9 years and going strong
  • + 3
 Mine are 8yrs old and still going strong. They may sound pricy, but they last so many years that they're actually a bargain.
  • + 2
 Their shoes are great, the insoles are terrible for a shoe in their price range. Love their moto boots also.
  • + 2
 @hpiguy

I do lots of bike fitting and most footbeds are disposable. A good quality custom moulded footbed with proper arch support, varus/valgus adjustment is hard to ignore.
  • + 2
 Insoles are an extremely individual item so most shoe manufacturers ship their shoes with a simple insole that will do the job for the perfect foot. It is also an insole that does not add any real cost or complication to the production and inventory aspect of production. This is in anticiaption that anyone that needs or wants an insole will have very specific ideas about them and source them specifically for the shoes they are going into.
Shimano and Specialized probably have the best OEM insoles but I would not trade either brand for my Sidi Dragon 3. I would be interested in a second pair of Sidis if they developed an all mountain/ enduro outer sole like the Terraduro or M200 (surprisingly grippy and durable actually).
  • + 2
 @amrskipro:

excellent insights

the footbed is like the pedal - many brands ship their bikes without pedals, as its going to be a consumer choice. We always supply a basic pedal FOC if requested with the bike.

yes the Specialized BG footbed is easily the best "out the box" footbed, as the dealer should swap it out FOC to suit the client's arch support needs. the Retul designed adjustable footbed that comes in many Giro shoes is not bad, although a little thin.

Shimano only put their custom footbed into their top end shoes, the others come with a thin foam footbed.

We use the Shimano custom footbed in our bike fitting business, we've found it very suitable for most needs.

I like the metatarsal button that sticks on up front, its a fantastic example of getting something basic right which makes a big difference when deep into long km's
  • + 1
 Arch supports...insoles....how about doing/showing corrective exercises so you don't have weak arches? Rather than give the customer a crutch to use for the rest of their life, why not show them exercises to gain a remaining lifetime of foot health?
  • + 3
 Best bike shoes bar none!
  • + 1
 those old shoes with the cleats, used to use them with straps , then came spd's thankfully
  • + 2
 my best mtb shoes ever, confortable, light...
  • + 1
 Best shoes you can buy... super comfortable even after hours on the bike and they last forever.
  • + 2
 Italian grandmothers are the most stylish people on earth.
  • + 2
 I was expecting a full blown article on who wears what shoes lol
  • + 2
 I've always wanted a set and think it would be fun to see who's riding and racing Sidi shoes. I'd read that article.
  • + 1
 @trails801: Theres some stuff on the website, but its not a very good website.
www.sidisport.com/en/athletes/cycling
  • + 2
 Been using them for years. Fantastic boots.
  • + 2
 I love those "inside shoes" articles Smile
  • + 2
 This article stinks!
  • - 1
 Never had their bike shoes but their motorcycle boots are top notch.
  • - 1
 My SIDI moto boots are the shit
  • + 0
 ballerina slippers
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