Sidi Dragon 5 Shoes at a Glance
- Expensive at about $400
- Excellent fit thanks to the solid Tecno-3 Push System
- Treads can wear fast and are expensive to replace
- Sidi can be hard to find in stores
I’m a longtime Sidi cycling shoe user. And I mean embarrassingly long.
Here’s what I mean: I got my first road bike in 1998 and immediately bought a pair of Sidi shoes. A few years ago, the shoes finally wore out. I’m still wearing the pair that replaced them.
As for mountain biking, I probably bought my first set of Sidi bike shoes around 2000 or 2001 (I was working at a Sidi dealer). I’m now on my third pair of Sidi mountain bike shoes.
Their shoes last. It’s that simple.
About 10 months ago, I realized that my old Dominator 4 shoes needed to retire. The treads were worn down to nothing, and they were just generally trashed.
I went straight to a bike shop near me and ordered a new set. The shop owner, an old friend of mine, thought the Dragon 5 would be the right shoe for me.
Here are some thoughts about the Sidi Dragon 5 after 10 months of good riding.
During that time, I’ve raced only once but have also been checking out new and new-to-me trails. I got into some really rough stuff here and there, which provides some data points about how well the Dragon 5 shoes hold up away from the race course.
1. Sidi Shoes Are Getting Hard To Find
When I needed Sidi shoes, I went straight to my buddy’s shop. I was surprised to see that he no longer stocks Sidi, though.
I also recommended Sidi to a friend, who wanted to know where she could find them in stock; as someone new to the brand, she wanted to try them on first. That’s totally reasonable.
According to the Sidi website, the Phoenix area doesn’t have any Sidi dealers within 60 miles. It didn’t even shoe stores with 600 miles, which seems ridiculous. I guess my friend’s store doesn’t count as a “dealer.”
But the bigger question is why stores in Arizona aren’t carrying a brand known for quality and longevity. I’m mystified.
2. The Sidi Dragon 5 Is Stupidly Expensive
You’re looking at a good $400 bucks plus or minus to get into a set of Sidi Dragon 5 shoes.
I know, I know. But consider the money people are paying for their smartphones. How long will the latest iPhone last you?
Let’s also remember that your feet are a major contact point with the bike. If you’re serious about riding or racing, what’s it worth to have a seamless connection between your feet and your pedals?
When I’ve been training hard for a ride or race, I don’t want to worry about things. A pair of Sidi shoes can take one thing off your mind.
3. But Damn, They Fit So Well
Put a pair of Dragon 5 shoes on your feet and you’ll quickly know where you’re money went.
Top-quality materials. Good design. Excellent fit.
The contrast between a pair of $400-ish Sidi shoes and a pair of closeout Vittoria Viper shoes I bought for more than half of (originally about $200) is amazingly obvious.
Just start with the main closures. The Tecno-3 Push system on the Sidi is reassuring and solid, making solid clicks as you ratchet it closed. The SSP dial of the Vittoria looks, sounds and feels like cheap plastic.
4. Concerns About the Tread
There is just one thing every buyer should know about the Dragon 5: Its treads are soft and designed to wear out. Fortunately, all that’s involved is getting a set of replacement treads, removing some screws, installing the new tread, putting in some new screws, and going for a ride.
Replacing them will cost about $50. My original set lasted about 4 months.
To be fair, I was hitting some lesser-known areas. I was doing hike-a-bikes and beating the hell out of these shoes.
Honestly, it seems the Sidi Dragon 5 is a shoe best kept for groomed trails or racecourses. You shouldn’t be scrambling around dry waterfalls on them.
5. The Cheaper Alternative
If I were to consider another Sidi shoe, the Sidi Trace 2 for about $260 looks like a safe bet.
But I’m not certain.
The tread on the Trace 2 doesn’t look replaceable. If it’s as soft as what’s on the Dragon 5, that could send the Trace 2 to early retirement.
Which means that spending the extra funds on the Dragon 5 is the better value.
Then again, you could also consider what I did: Go for the Dragons for when you need the good stuff. Then keep a beater shoe around for your routine rides.
Bottom Line on the Sidi Dragon 5
The Dragon 5 shoes cost considerably more than I’ve ever planned to spend on a bike shoe. But damn, no shoe has ever fit better.
Clearly, the fast-wearing tread is an issue, as is the $50 cost of replacing said treads.
There may also be less-expensive alternatives in the Sidi lineup, like the Trace 2 I mentioned. Unfortunately, getting a hold of Sidi shoes in-person to check things out for yourself seems like a challenge right now.
Despite that, I’m still going with Sidi pretty much every time through consistent excellence and improvement over time.
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