Sidi Genius 7 shoes - review - Road Cycling UK

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Sidi Genius 7 shoes – review

Good mid-range shoes from Sidi with a comfortable fit for long rides, but they lack a little in the ventilation stakes

Last month we reviewed the ultra-premium Sidi Shot shoes, which retail for a whopping £350. We know that that kind of price tag will put off many riders, whereas the Genius 7s are available for £170. That’s still a chunk of cash, but what does halving the price do for the quality?

To find out, I moved straight from the Shots to the Genius 7s so I could draw some accurate comparisons between the two in terms of performance.

My overriding sense is that while, of course, the Genius 7s aren’t as stiff or light as the Shots, there’s plenty of performance to be had from them, while the reduction in stiffness actually serves to ease the intensity of the ride. They’re not the best in terms of ventilation, nor the lightest, but you get a comfortable fit and good power transfer.

The Genius 7 shoes are a mid-range option from Sidi with a £170 price tag

For some, the reduced stiffness won’t appeal, but what it does do is edge these shoes towards the long sportive market, with the additional comfort that entails.

  • Specification

  • Price: £170
  • Sizes: EU 36-52
  • Size tested: EU 46 (UK 11.5)
  • Website: Sidi

While the soles are still stiff – it’s a carbon-nylon hybrid model that Sidi calls ‘Millennium 5’ – it’s not on a par with many full carbon soles out there, but what it does do is help to soften the vibrations that make it through to your foot.

Never clearer was this impression than when I took the Genius 7s out to Alpe d’Huez to visit LOOK and see the new 785 ‘Huez’ bike.

Two ascents corroborated the view I’d already begun to develop while riding around my usual locales of Somerset, Wiltshire and the Mendip hills in the South West. With the Genius 7s supplied as they are, straight out the box they feel much more forgiving than the Shots.

Perhaps inevitably, they’re markedly bulkier too, although given that weight shaving is not really the main focus of these shoes, it’s not too much of a drama. Importantly, during longer rides, you’re probably more concerned with the comfort levels than anything else, as long as it’s underpinned with enough stiffness to make power transfer efficient – which these shoes are.

Speaking of comfort, the Genius 7s are very impressive – though we accept natural preferences will differ between riders. Like the Shots, you get a sense of your foot being cocooned in a form fitting layer, which naturally lends itself to a foot shape that’s on the medium-to-narrow end of the spectrum.

My feet are such a shape, which is probably why I appreciate the fit, but I suspect this will be a common trend among people with the same.

This is epitomised no more so than in Sidi’s heel cup, which does a great job of surrounding the heel and Achilles with just enough padding to ensure comfort, while holding the rider fast no matter how much you try to pull the foot out.

The soles are still stiff, made from a carbon-nylon hybrid that Sidi calls ‘Millennium 5

It’s not adjustable here, unlike the Shots, but Sidi have come up with a shape that’s slightly more forgiving than the top-level option, allowing just a little more space if it’s needed. The underside has a replaceable heel pad.

The shoes are fastened securely using two tough celcro straps over the top of the toes and foot, along with a ratchet system that allows very easy adjustment on the move.

Tension distribution across that section is fairly even, albeit a little biased towards the outside of the foot, where the ratchet system sits. Still, it’s one of the easiest to reach and use (with a little flap that pulls the strap in one click at a time) that I’ve come across for getting a tighter fit on the move.

The Sidi ratchet system offers relatively even tension distribution, albeit slightly biased towards the outside of the foot

Cooling is also reasonable, although I found my feet getting a little hot while riding in the recent warm weather we’ve experienced in the UK.

There aren’t any vents in the sole, while the leather outer is relatively thick and, although it features laser-cut holes in the side of the body for ventilation, as well as a couple of mesh sections around the toes and at the sides, I found them to be a little flummoxed by the height of summer.

That said, they’d be great at any other time of year, or arguably in more typical UK summer temperatures.

As with all Sidi shoes, there are also a range of colours available to suit your personal style, and a very full range of sizes, making it relatively easy to get a good fit. That said, if you do have an opportunity to try them first in a bike shop, that’s always a wise step to make sure Sidi’s narrower shape suits you, as some may find it restrictive at the toes.

Conclusion

While the Genius 7s are mid-priced at £170, they sit second-bottom of the Sidi range, only above the £130 Level shoes. Despite the fact the sole is a carbon-injected nylon composite as opposed to a full carbon model, they’re more than stiff enough for club and sportive riders, and comfortable to boot. Where the Genuis 7s lack is in the cooling stakes, but it’s certainly not a deal breaker if you take into account typical UK weather. Like Sidi shoes generally, they’re not particularly light either (at 316g per size 42 shoe). 

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Secure heel cup
  • Adjustable ratchet system
  • Typical Sidi fit

Cons

  • A bit on the warm side
  • Not particularly light

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