Right, weird one. I’d always assumed this was Italian for dragon. Turns out that’s drago, like that chap in Rocky IV. And I guess if it were dragon that would be weird as Sidi make a shoe called the dragon as well. There’s definitely something dragony going on though as that’s all google throws up. It’s that or sounding like that chap in Harry Potter. So, on that basis, and given I’m Welsh, let’s go with Dragon.
Now, the Drako is Sidi’s top of the line mountain bike shoe. But don’t turn off just yet. In terms of features, tech and performance it’s virtually identical to the Sidi Wire road shoe. So, if you fancy some Italian bling then you can have these on the road as well. I’m happy to report that I’ve ridden in both, including the fetching Froome yellow ones. In terms of how they feel and fit there’s little, if any difference, between the MTB and road versions of these shoes. That’s unusual in some ways as they are different disciplines. But XC off road is very much orientated towards road type kit nowadays so perhaps it’s not a surprise at all.
Magnificent aren’t they? Just beautiful things. They’re slightly less white in real life than you might expect them to be. Still very white and that includes the inner section. I’ll come back to that later.
Size wise, it’s always very difficult to comment. Once upon a time I was a 46 in Sidi Ergo 2. I was a 45 in most other brands (I’m a UK 10 shoe size). Comparing brands is always tricky. But, with the Wire and Drako I’m the same as in Giro, Shimano, Specialized and Northwave (and Rapha, but then they are Giro). Indeed the only thing I’m a 44.5 in is Gaerne. The Sidi are narrow but, compared to the Shimano R171 only slightly so and no narrower than the XC70. There may be a very slightly smaller toe box and a tiny bit less front toe clearance but these are marginal. As usual, try them on, walk around the house in them a bit.
These Sidi shoes have a full carbon sole. It’s fair to say that Sidi charge a bit more than that than some others and that their cheaper shoes still “make do” with a carbon composite sole. But the Drako are bang up to date in terms of their weight and thickness. That said, on the Wire road shoes at least, the Giro Empire (and possibly Factor) are more lightweight again. To be honest, you’re not really paying for weight with Sidi, you’re paying for quality. And weight is relative. These are still relatively light shoes and, without the additional off road lugs, the road shoes are lighter again.
One of the things that Sidi excels in is durability and being able to replace parts. Short of tearing the upper or cracking the sole (if you do that what the hell were you doing?) then you can get replacement parts for everything. The rubber lugs on the outsole unscrew. You can replace the cleat housing. And on top you can get new wire if it breaks (it won’t) and you can replace the dials. You probably won’t need to many of these things but it’s good to know that you can.
Let’s be clear. This is an Elite XC shoe. The Pro’s are unlikely to put a dent in them and you and I will safely be wearing them in ten years time. Sure, they won’t look as pristine, but they will still work.
Round the front the Drako differs from the Wire with the addition of a rubber bumper to keep the front of the upper together. Again, you will not kill it. And in my view it’s one of the most effective toe protectors on any shoe out there.
Fit? Well, a few things. The Techno-3 push closure system is about as good as it gets. It’s perhaps slightly more complicated than the Specialized S-Works shoe in that the bottom dial takes care of all of the bottom of the shoe (the S-Works adds a traditional velcro strap) but it works really well. The use of a dial to pull over Sidi’s trademark top strap is perhaps engineering overkill. Looks better though and, I have to say, I prefer the security of it and how it keeps my foot in to other full dial systems I’ve tried.
Getting the right fit by turning the dials is a piece of cake. But rather than explain it I thought I’d add a (professional) video to show you how it works.
These are great shoes. And, of course, they should be given their hefty price tag. Both the Drako and Wire are in excess of £300. Now, naturally, shop around and you can bring that down a lot further. But you’re still looking in excess of £200.
There are some issues with the white ones. They clean up really easily. But that white fabric inner is, imo, a mistake. That’s the bit which gets grubbiest when you’re using these off road or for something like CX. A black inner there would do little to ruin the aesthetic and deal far better with my OCD. On the road versions it’s less of an issue. Of course, if you’re really OCD then you could just go with the black versions. They scrub up incredibly well regardless of use.
And what use should you put these to? Well, that depends. If you’re into SPD on the road then these are the poshest and best shoes I’ve ever used in that regard. They look like road shoes and the added benefit is that you can’t fall over on your cafe stop. They’re really good for XC and I used them very effectively for Battle on the Beach. They’re a little less effective for CX because of their overall stiffness which makes running in them a bit more difficult. In that regard the Shimano XC70 are a better overall shoe. Still stiff but that bit more spring in them. Ultimately, the Drako are best for those types of ride, whatever they might be, when you don’t put your foot down and don’t need to. If you do, have a look at the Spider (if you can find them) which are that bit more flexible. Though it’s still hard to get away from the fact that the properly mouldable Shimano XC90 are almost always cheaper than the Drako as well. Thing is, few things look quite so damn good.
On tarmac, the Wire are exceptionally good road shoes. No hot spotting and on the fly adjustment is a piece of cake. The Wire is now available in 7 colour ways including a very fetching new Fuxia (pink) which would have been very lovely for Lampre Merida if it were not for their defection to Northwave. The Drako is available in a mere 4 different colours the pick of which are the Cannondale (ish) green and white.
Great shoes overall. I sense with the Drako and Wire Sidi caught back up again. But I do think that their cheaper offerings, whilst obviously good looking, have been overtaken by some of their competitors. Giro deserve a standout mention here for producing some really well thought out technical shoes and, at the top end, some pretty damn stylish ones. Still, it’s easy to get a light shoe if you pay for it. It’s easy to get one that works well. It’s not always easy to get one that makes you go, well, hot damn.