With Robbie winning the first stage of the Tour today into Canterbury, we dug out an interview from the recent Giro with the woman behind his shoes! Whilst running-down another set of camera batteries, taking endless pictures of time trial bikes before the stage one ttt at the Giro, VeloVeritas bumped into the lovely Rosella Signora of Sidi.
Here’s what she had to say:
How long has Sidi been in existence?
“The Company was started by my father 40 years ago, in 1967.”
Which came first, motorbike or cycling footwear?
“Initially we made shoes for trekking, skiing and après-ski then my father began to produce motor cycle boots, for off- road and road.
“He sold these as fast as he made them! He has passion for cycling though, and in ’72/’73 he began to produce cycling shoes. He was the first to make shoes with adjustable cleats – the model Titanio, up until then the shoe plates were nailed to the sole.
“Also in 1983 we were the first to introduce Velcro fastenings, prior to that shoes were always laced.”
Clipless must have meant big changes for you?
“Yes, but we embraced the new system and in ’90/’91 we introduced the Genius shoe for clipless pedals and we have continued to develop until we are in the situation where we are now.”
When did you go from real leather to synthetics?
“We started to use kangaroo leather with the Revolution shoe in 1985 but after that we began to use the man-made material, Lorica. It’s soft, resistant and of course, does not have the natural imperfections which leather has. It is very expensive, though.”
Pro cycling is obviously a very important part of your marketing.
“Yes, we sponsor CSC and Liquigas as well as the Fanini ladies squad. In addition we sponsor individual riders like Simoni and Bettini.”
What about special orders?
“We have one man in the factory whose job is to deal with that type of work. A rider may have one leg longer than the other or one foot bigger than the other or maybe they want a particular colour combination. In the factory we retain the special lasts for these riders.”
And the future?
“Our goal is always to produce a comfortable, technical shoe. We spend a lot of money on research and development. “We will always be at the middle to high end of the market and will always seek the best production quality.”
VeloVeritas would like to thank Rosella for her time, and wish her all the best for her riders this season.