These Sidi Hydro Gore winter boots are really nicely made and comfortable, but they aren't the Italian shoe company's finest moment because they don't keep your feet dry, failing their primary mission objective quite severely.
As the name suggests, the Hydro Gore boots are made with a Gore-Tex membrane lining. This membrane is incorporated into a boot with no air vents to speak of, a carbon nylon sole with a regular three-hole cleat drilling and markings for easy cleat alignment. The heel is reinforced and there are four Velcro straps to keep the boot secure on the foot.
Fit is really good, with ample space for a pair of thicker merino wool socks. The four Velcro closures do an adequate job at clamping the shoe in place, but it's odd not to see a more advanced closure mechanism given the high price. But the fit is good enough that you don't need much pressure with the straps, and the heel cup hugs the back of the foot well, so Sidi is forgiven here.
The Gore-Tex lining does a sterling job of stopping water from entering the foot section, especially around the front where it can be subjected to constant spray generated by the front wheel. In that respect they're more robust to repeated spray than overshoes and regular road shoes, especially if you ride without mudguards.
They're a warm shoe, too. When it's cold and dry these shoes kept my feet warmer than even the best overshoes I've tested, with nowhere for the air to leak in. The breathability is sufficient that I didn't suffer any unduly sweaty feet, even on warmer rides when a winter boot is probably overkill.
Unfortunately, the boots failed to keep water out in properly heavy rain. On closer inspection it's obvious why this is happening: the neoprene closure has been designed in such a way as to prevent any restriction around the ankles when pedalling, but unfortunately it does mean there's a big old gap for water to dive straight in. You can cinch the large Velcro strap up, but there's still a gap when pedalling, plus they are then uncomfortable around the ankles.
It's a real shame, because I had high hopes for these winter boots, but as they are it's hard to recommend them for wet weather riding (they're fine in the cold and dry). Your money is better invested in some really good overshoes worn over your regular cycling shoes.
Designing a winter boot that is completely waterproof without compromising fit and comfort is a tricky challenge, and one that few shoe manufacturers have really nailed yet. If Sidi can improve the neoprene ankle, it's on to a winner.
Good in the cold, pretty useless in the rain
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Sidi Hydro Gore winter boots
Size tested: 45
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Sidi says: "The Sidi Hydro Gore-Tex Road Shoe features Gore Tex Membrane to make it extremely waterproof and highly breathable at the same time."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Two lorica side inserts on the toe
Water-repellant and breathable
Sole: Millenium 3 sole
Sidi Heel Cup
The reinforced heel keeps the foot in a optimal position and avoids the shoe being deformed by extreme performance or prolonged pressure.
Replacement Heel Pad
For walkability, Sidi cycling shoes include a replaceable polyurethane heel pad.
Millenium 3 Sole
It is constructed out of injected carbon fiber in a nylon matrix. The infusion of carbon fiber gives the sole more rigidity than the previous sole. The MILLENNIUM 3 SOLE is more durable and less susceptible to changes in stiffness resulting from prolonged usage and changes in temperature The MILLENNIUM 3 SOLE features a replaceable non-slip polyurethane heel pad. The heel pad is held in place by a screw. To facilitate cleat replacement, the MILLENNIUM 3 SOLE features a 10mm horizontal and vertical cleat alignment scale molded into the sole as well as the Look Memory Eyelet.
Really nicely made winter boots with a replaceable sole pad.
Stiffness and pedalling performance is good, fit is great, and they are warm when it's cold. However, they let the rain in due to the poor fit of the neoprene ankle closure.
The build quality is the usual Sidi level, so very good, and the heel pad is replaceable.
At 876g for a pair of size 45 shoes they're not very light, but don't feel heavy when cycling.
Fit is good with enough space to comfortably wear thicker socks.
Considering they fail to keep water out, the value isn't great. Your money would be better spent on some really good overshoes, or look at rival winter boots.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Failed to live up to the claims of being waterproof.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Fit and comfort is good.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
They let the water in.
Did you enjoy using the product? No
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your score
These are really nicely made winter boots let down by the neoprene ankle closure, which does a poor job of sealing up the top of the boot and simply lets water in.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.