The Sidi Eagle 7 SR is an extremely comfortable shoe with a great fit, and equally at home whether you're riding cross-country, trails, gravel or cyclocross. It's an ideal design for commuting and road use too, though a little expensive for what you get compared to some rival offerings.
These Eagle 7 SRs borrow features from Sidi's really expensive top-end shoes, but use lower-cost materials to make them a bit more affordable. At £175 they’re certainly not cheap, mind, but if you can stretch to it there's a lot to like.
Two velcro straps and the company’s “soft instep closure system” (a wide curved pad) evenly distribute pressure, while a ratchet strap provides micro-adjustment and quick release. The velcro straps also have rows of small plastic teeth, there to stop anything loosening mid-ride.
The whole system works well and is easy to use. The velcro easily adjusts the volume of the forefoot, and the ratchet can be clamped down tight without undue pressure. I did find the plastic teeth less than successful from time to time, occasionally having to reset the straps towards the end of long rides, but mostly it worked well.
The upper is Microtech, a microfibre fabric that Sidi says is (among other things) eco-friendly. It's manufactured using a process that lowers the environmental impact by using water-based products. With the growing interesting in our impact on the environment, it’s nice to hear a company showing it’s trying to change.
I’ve ridden this shoe through all sorts of weather and temperatures. In the summer they manage heat well with good breathability and when it’s drizzling and you’re splashing through puddles, the water-repellent upper does keep your toes drier a bit longer. But show them serious rain or bog water and they’re easily overwhelmed.
A nylon sole with polyurethane inserts provides plenty of stiffness, without the discomfort that can come from super-stiff carbon race shoes. The stiff plastic heel cup really keeps your heel locked in place, too, and for riders who want maximum power transfer, these deliver.
They're pleasantly comfortable for walking in. An aggressive tread pattern finds good grip on the loose, and while you can add spikes up front for even more grip, you have to buy those aftermarket because none are supplied. Shame.
The sole is naturally designed for mountain biking and takes a regular 2-bolt cleat. I installed my fave SPD cleats and found plenty of range for getting the position dialled in. Clearance around the cleat with bigger trail pedals was no problem, and usefully the central area of the sole is non-slip – handy for those moments when you can’t or don’t want to clip in.
This shoe gets a big tick in the comfort box. I’ve tested many shoes over the years, but these easily rate up there with the best. They’re not the stiffest for maximum power transfer, but the small amount of flex makes them better suited to gravel and trail riding. I’ve worn them for some big rides, all-day epic distance stuff over all sorts of terrain – through every type of weather – and they’ve been brilliant.
While the shoe itself is fantastically made, the inner sole leaves a bit to be desired. It's wafer thin and, compared to some of the more advanced options (such as a Specialized's Body Geometry), I do feel Sidi could try harder. I slotted in a BG insole and comfort and support instantly improved. The Eagle 7 SR is capable of better.
Durability has been excellent: it’s clear they are built to last, as is the Sidi way. They’ve seen some big adventures on the gravel bike and lots of trail biking, in all weathers, and they’ve coped with it all just fine. They’ve been baked in the heat and dragged through bogs, smashed into rocks and slithered across wet roots. My feet are fine – the plastic toe cap provides decent protection.
I’ve not really gone out of my way to look after them, occasionally washing them, but that’s about all. The only aspect of the shoes that hasn’t stood up to the test of time is the colour. White looked fab out of the box, but it hasn’t lasted well. Choose a more practical colour unless you’re prepared to look after them better than I have.
The Eagle 7 SR is also available in a women’s and a wide version. Sidi shoes are known for coming up small, but for reference, I wear a size 45 and found the Eagle 7 SR in 45 to be a perfect fit, neither too big nor too small.
For mountain biking, gravel riding and commuting, these are a very comfortable and highly capable shoe with good durability.
Shimano’s XC7 shoe is the same price, uses twin Boa dials and offers a carbon fibre sole which, on paper at least, is stiffer than the Sidi.
Spend a bit less and the Fizik X5 Terra (£150) shoes are an option, and like the Shimanos also benefit from a carbon fibre sole.
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