Sidi cycling shoes offer riders a host of customisation options to make your high-performance shoes as comfortable as your favourite slippers. Here's how to make them your own.

Sidi revolutionised cycling footwear in 1973 with the launch of the Titanium, the first bike shoes to allow adjustment of the cleats. Since then, the Italian brand has pioneered just about every technology we use today including dial-and-wire closures and carbon soles.

Just as with the cleats, Sidi realised that every rider has different needs and that by bringing in an ever-more ingenious selection of replaceable and customisable design details, Sidi owners could truly make the shoes their own.

You might think taking scissors to a brand new pair of Sidi shoes is a desecration, but bear with us as we explain some of the customisation options that Dino Signori and his team designed into your favourite cycling slippers.

Trim your tongue

A sharp pair of kitchen shears shouldn't normally be allowed anywhere near your high-end bike kit, but with a bit of judicious snipping you can make your Sidi shoes even more practical and comfortable.

The tongues on Sidi shoes come with slits near the top and while some riders may like them as they come, most we know prefer a little more freedom at the front of the ankle. So don't be afraid, trim down to the existing slits to allow the tongue to spread comfortably over the top of your foot. If you'd like even more freedom, you can take a bit of length off too.

Adjust the heel

Sidi introduced their Heel Cup System in 2006. This thermoplastic support gives extra grip around the Achilles tendon and avoids slippage. The following year, it was made adjustable, which allows you to adjust each side of the heel cup independently.

Using a tiny flat-head screwdriver (supplied with your shoes), you can adjust the arms of the heel retention device to give snug support with no rubbing or movement, no matter how ferocious your sprint is. Like most small parts on Sidi shoes, the system is replaceable, too.

Open the vent

Sidi introduced the Vent Carbon Sole in 2011, which channels air through to carbon sole to avoid feet overheating when you're speeding under a scorching sun or scaling Alpine passes in the heat.

If you've got a Vent Carbon Sole, all it takes is a Phillips head screwdriver to release the vent's housing under the toes and then slide it back, or forwards, to customise the amount of ventilation on offer. Then tighten the screw again to fix the vent cover securely in place.

Made from polyurethane, this part also doubles as a toe pad so if it wears out, you can just replace it.

Replace your pads

Speaking of replacements; no matter how tentatively you ease your heel down at junctions, the heel pad will start to wear. Much better the pad than the carbon! As Sidi shoes became widely known for their outstanding quality, the brand introduced replaceable heels in the 1990s and brought in a complete set of replaceable protectors – the Sole Replacement System – on its MTB Action SRS shoe in 1999.

Once your new heel pad has arrived, grab your trusty Phillips screwdriver and swap to the new protector, giving your beloved Sidi shoes a new lease of life.

Instep alterations

Sidi shoes are instantly recognisable thanks to their chunky instep straps, which proudly display the brand logo. These wide belts give an utterly secure fit while also spreading pressure to eliminate any uncomfortable hot-spots. First introduced on the Energy shoe in 2000, the Instep Closure System has since grown in size to become the Soft Instep 2. Coming standard on the majority of the Sidi range, it features an EVA pad for extra plushness.

This whole strap is replaceable. Indeed, you can upgrade your Level road shoes and Buvel MTB shoes to add the broader Soft Instep. You can also adjust the length of the strap at the point it attaches to the shoe, allowing those with higher or lower volume feet to keep the strap's middle padded section centred.

If you've got slim feet, this might mean there's a bit of excess strap. Naturally, you don't want this to clip your cranks, so get the scissors out again and trim them down to a more suitable length.

Buckle up

Sidi have been using rotary buckles since 1993 – having patented the technology during the '80s. The latest incarnation – the Tecno 3 – gives a quick, secure closure with minute levels of adjustment.

If the worst happens – or you just fancy a colour change – you can swap the Tecno 3 dials on your shoes – or upgrade to the newest version, which includes a lever release button in the centre.