There really is no substitute for good, supportive footwear, especially when the weather outside is ugly. Fortunately, many shoe manufacturers are stepping to the plate with new and improved winter shoe designs. The Diablo GTX is Sidi’s longtime offering in the winter shoe department for the off-road crowd.
Featuring a leather, Cordura, and neoprene upper with a Gore-Tex liner, this shoe is said to be waterproof and breathable. Four Velcro straps have been charged with security duty. Sidi uses the venerable competition sole from their Dominator model, which allows for the option of running toe spike up front. In typical Sidi fashion, the construction of this shoe is dynamite.
It seems as though Sidi, like other shoemakers, have a love and hate position in the two-wheeled trade. Most of these opinions are a result of fit – one brand works for some, but not all. This Sidi model is available in whole sizes from 39 to 50, and featuring a slightly roomier version of the standard Sidi D/E width to accommodate thicker socks on the coldest days. The Diablo GTX will best fit those with average width feet.
I can vouch for the waterproof ability of this shoe. After riding and standing around in the rain and mud for weekends at a time in the Pacific Northwest this Christmas holiday I took my Diablos off to reveal totally dry socks. Downhillers and free riders might be interested in adding some gators to help keep water out of the tops of the shoes for even more brutal conditions and higher speeds. There was a water crossing or two that made it quite easy for me to fill these boots up with water – the Gore-Tex membrane is only 4.75” tall.
Also for fit, offering these shoes in whole sizes, and only one width might hamper some, but finding the right sock and shoe combo may smooth things out. Wider feet might feel more uncomfortable even if you toss the stock insoles for something with more support.
The Velcro closure held tightly for the test period, but I’m sure the rest of this shoe will far outlast the Velcro. The hard plastic sole didn’t inspire much confidence off the bike. I found myself skittering around the woods like a crazy bear on ice skates when conditions were slippery. These boots, with a thick Merino wool sock, kept my feet warm in temps holding around the upper 30s, but I was wishing for more insulation when the mercury dropped below the freezing mark.
This shoe will best serve those looking for a fall slash winter slash spring shoe that performs well in wet, moderately cold climates. They also are an idea for road riders who are looking for more protection from road grit and snow runoff in mucky, gross conditions.
The shoes are lightweight and sporty with typical Sidi graphics that will seduce the performance geeks among us. They are a sexy shoe, probably the slickest-looking winter shoe out there but if you’re looking for a warm winter shoe, or a shoe that is as good off the bike as it is on, look elsewhere.
Perhaps I’m picky, but for $329, I would like some more width options, half sizes, a descent stock insole and some sort of ratcheting retention system Sidi is known for in their shoes. It would also be nice to have an outsole that better suits frequent hike-a-bike sections that come with winter weather. Sidi’s are made in Italy.