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sidi dominator 5 mtb shoes

Despite my fixation on fixing old shoes with Shoe Goo, eventually my old Northwaves had to retire from racing, and I had to choose something new to take their place. Being a huge fan of Sidi, I chose the Sidi Dominator 5 for my new MTB racing shoes.

At first, I really wasn’t sure what to get. There are cool shoes out there, but I didn’t want to risk buying a new brand without trying them on first (without an actual local bike shop at the time, my chances of trying on shoes were slim to none.)

So, naturally, I decided to stick with Sidi, because I knew their size 46 road shoes fit me very well. Not to mention how comfortable and durable their road shoes are! So that eased my mind about picking up a pair of $295 shoes that would be submerged in mud and scraped against rocks the first day I used them!

The Break-In Period

As soon as I tried on the shoes in May 2009, I knew they were a perfect fit! The 46 was just right, like my Sidi Genius road shoes. A tad roomier, but I think that is because the material was still new and extra stiff.

The big difference is that the Dominators were nowhere near as soft and supple! This meant they didn’t conform to my foot like I was used to, so, I had to break them in…

After just a few rides and getting my cleat placement dialed in, the shoes were great. Not quite as comfortable as my Sidi Genius 3 road shoes, and not as familiar as my old Northwaves or Shimanos, but they held their own as far as comfort goes.

After 5-6 years I’m sure they’ll be broken in nicely! 🙂


Being mountain bike shoes, it was no surprise these were heavier than my Sidi road shoes.

The claimed weight was 720g. The actual weight was 829g though (weighed on my home scale.)

That’s a size 46 without cleats or toe spikes. Definitely not a lightweight, but typical for MTB shoes. (They must weigh their size 39 to give you the listed weight!)

On the brighter side, they “felt” light, which is always nice.

The Plastic Tread

The only complaint I’ve heard from friends with Sidi MTB shoes is that the plastic lugs on the sole provide little to no traction when walking on rocks and other slippery surfaces. But there was only one instance where I remember that slowing anyone down (it was stream crossing where you walked across large, wet rocks,) and that was not during a race, just a fun ride.

Considering these shoes are for XC racing, I wasn’t too concerned. After all, I don’t make it a habit to walk during races. And I don’t like to walk in any cycling shoes, so why miss out on good shoes over such a tiny concern?

In reality, the plastic tread on the sole doesn’t seem much different than other XC racing shoes. Some other shoes do have bits of softer rubber on the sole, aiding in grip on hard surfaces, but you can re-create that yourself if you want. All you have to do it put a few small beads of Shoe Goo in key locations (i.e. on the areas that touch the ground when walking.)

Compatibility with EggBeaters Pedals

The only problem with the Dominators was the hard time clipping into my Crank Bros Eggbeater pedals. But after some testing, I realized that was entirely due to the Crank Bros Shoe Shields.

See, I wanted to use the Shoe Shields to protect my brand new soles, but that turned out to be a waste of effort. After a few rides, I found plenty of scrapes and gouges all around the sole that are much worse than what the Eggbeaters would do over the course of a year or two!

Once I removed the shields, I found no compatibility issues between the Dominators and Eggbeaters.

Clipping In

However, clipping in did take some getting used to. Clipping in when using a shoe with a bunch of hard plastic bits for the tread is more difficult than when you have a more open, rubberized sole.

With a softer sole, you can stomp down on the pedal and finagle your cleats into place with a little pressure. With hard soles, you have to be a lot more precise. If you don’t get the cleats lined up perfectly, they’ll slip out of place, and you’ll have to try again.

I found it more intuitive to continue racing in my Northwave shoes, but eventually I did get used to the Sidi Dominators.


As mentioned, the sole is getting a little scratched up, but that’s normal. The shoe isn’t falling apart by any means.

I’ve only used these for two years though, so I can’t speak too much about durability yet.

My final verdict is…

The Sidi Dominator 5 is a pretty cool shoe. I’m not as happy with these as I am with my old Sidi Genius road shoes, but they’re still great shoes.

Hopefully in 5-10 years when I need to replace these, I can find something lighter and even more comfortable, but for now, these will do just fine!

Official website: www.SidiSport.com

Buy online: www.Amazon.com | www.REI.com

Product Review Details
Company: Sidi
Product: Sidi Dominator 5 Lorica MTB Shoes
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Date last updated: 2012-04-11
Obtained Product: Purchased at retailer.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.

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1 Comment
  1. I have a pair of Dominator’s (the women’s version, which I think only varies in the footbed design) that I’ve been using for four years now, and except for being visibly a little beaten, they’re still holding up just fine! So, I’m guessing you’ll find they’re pretty durable still several years down the road. 🙂

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