The Sidi Jarin is the Italian company’s first ever gravel-specific performance shoe, created with an almost even mix of road and mountain bike influence.
Gravel specific shoes seem to be the latest on-trend area of growth, with many of the top shoe brands releasing models aimed at meeting the needs of riders who prefer to mix their road riding with a bit of off-road fun. And they kind of make sense as riders require shoes stiff enough to provide decent pedalling efficiency whilst offering off-bike grip for the inevitable times you will need to walk when riding off-road.
The Jarin might be the only gravel specific offering currently in Sidi’s range but it’s right at the pinnacle in terms of performance and price. Looking closely at the key parts of the construction – the upper, retention system and sole unit – it’s obvious to see that Sidi has effectively formed the Jarin from the bones of its Wire 2 road shoe and Drako/Tiger MTB shoe (albeit with a few small differences).
The upper is made of super durable Techpro leather. This is accompanied by extra reinforcement at the toe and heel to protect the foot when off-road. It also features asymmetric ventilation with more perforations on the instep half than on the outside panels. I have to mention the finish on the outer as the iridescent purple is incredibly eye-catching, although for the less flamboyant amongst you the Jarin is also available in subtle olive green.
The Jarin uses two of Sidi’s proprietary Tecno-3 Push dials for retention with the upper side mounted dial being used to hold a wide ratchet style strap across the top of the foot. This can be adjusted for length however I found the excess strap fouled the crank arm so I ended up cutting the excess off. The dials work well with a nice chunky action however they cannot be incrementally loosened like some BOA systems, so can be a bit fiddly to get the tension just right.
Fitwise the Jarin is relatively neutral in width and certainly gives those of us with medium width feet plenty of wriggle room. I opted for a half size (44.5) to really dial the fit and in the most parts it was spot on. The only issue I found was a lack of heel support, causing my foot to lift in the shoe when pushing up steep slopes – which was a little disappointing. I also found the tongue dug in and caused blisters on the first couple of rides, however, there are slots that can be opened up with scissors and after cutting the tongue as shown in the instructions I no longer suffered any issues.
The full carbon sole of the Jarin is Stiff with a capital S. There is zero loss of efficiency when pedalling and in this respect the Jarin is great for long road jaunts. However I do feel it is almost a bit too stiff for walking and off-road riding whilst using a bike with minimal suspension. Your feet get fatigued after a few hours of continuous micro vibrations being transmitted straight through the shoe when riding fireroads and other off-road. It would have been nice to have a little flex built in to the toe and heel area to provide a little respite. The lugs are grippy and replaceable and have coped well with a variety of surfaces and if you want extra grip the Jarin can take extra toe studs.
One other issue with the sole that I noticed is it can be easy to roll your foot laterally when walking. This is due to the stepped design of the sole, placing all of the tread along a narrower central ridge and creating a top-heavy imbalance that can cause issues when walking on uneven ground.
Whilst it certainly is a beautifully crafted shoe with a build quality better than most, I can’t help but feel that Sidi has landed wide of the mark with the Jarin. It’s too stiff for most of us to comfortably use on all-day gravel/off-road rides and lacks sufficient support when off the bike. If however you are looking for a new CX race shoe then I feel this is where the Jarin is almost better suited.
This content was originally published here.
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