Last week I was in the shop and someone came in and asked me about the shoes I was wearing, they were just a standard pair of Nike mids, but with the twist of also being homemade clip less shoes.
Making your own Clip less shoe is nothing new, people have been doing it for years. Making you own shoes can be pretty time consuming process and involves cutting up a pair of old cycling shoes to get the solid plastic plate out that the cleat attaches to, then you have to select a pair of shoes that not only look cool, but also have a thick enough sole to recess the cleat enough so that you can walk in them without the cleat hitting the floor. I originally made mine to play polo in, but soon decided they were not stiff enough and occasionally would not release properly.
Since I retired these shoes to general use and the occasional commute, I have been searching for the best urban/polo shoe. When I say polo shoe, I of course mean Bike polo, where style and practicality come hand in hand. Most people demand a shoe that is great on the court and looks good at the after party too, meaning you only have to take one pair of shoes to tournaments.
I have been trying out some shoes over the last year and here is my rundown of the best urban shoe.
1. The DZR Marco
I got my hands on a pair of these when I visited the DZR office in San Francisco this Christmas. I have been using them ever since, a solid shoe with plenty of stiffness and comfort. The Marco is probably the best all round shoe I have ever used, I have commuted in them, played polo in them and even been to a fancy dinner in them without looking out of place. They are designed for Bike polo but they are versatile enough to be used in any cycling discipline. The perfected combination of style and practicality. They will come in at around £120 when they are released in the UK in March, so they are not cheap, but are worth the money.
2. DZR Mamba
The Mamba is like the little brother of the Marco, designed for urban cycling and everyday use. I liked the Mamba’s at first, they looked pretty good apart from the white sole that quickly became dirty and grey. I used these for everyday commuting and even did a light tour in them. But I soon noticed some problems with them. The production quality on the first batch was lower than current versions and this was confirmed by DZR themselves. The sole quickly started to come away from the plastic plate and became uncomfortable to use, water would get into the sole of the shoe when raining and they began to feel less stiff. Another problem was the strap on top soon became torn and ripped off when tightening it one day. I talked to the guys at DZR and they have completely changed the production method of these and assured me the design and production of the mambas is great and the shoe will last. Time will tell….
3. Five Ten-Cyclone Freeride
The Cyclone is another solid shoe, I still use them on those cold winter commutes. Designed for off-roading and mountain biking, the cyclones are made to last. I have had mine over a year and have had no problems with them. I have used them in hot weather, rain, snow, sand and they have taken it all in there stride, with just a quick wipe over and they still look as good as new. The only thing that let’s them down is the way they look. Compared to the Marco or Mamba, they lack style and presence, the thick black sole and double white stitching gives them a look with a distinct purpose and one that I am not fond of.
4. The Nike Pooh Bah (discontinued)
The Pooh Bah’s were the second pair of cycling shoes I bought, Nike’s attempt at making a mountain bike shoe. Now discontinued, these only come up on eBay occasionally. These are literally my favorite cycle shoes every made, with their quirky and charming looks they caught my attention and after getting a pair the quality impressed me as much as the way they looked! I had a pair for over 2 years and they still looked and felt great, I used them so much the rubber sole wore out and the cleat started to hit the ground. I wish that Nike did a re-run of these, as everyone I know that has a set loves them. My number one cycling shoe for someone looking for something different.
The Giro Chamber High and Low top.
We are getting these into the shop soon, designed to be the ultimate urban cycling shoe, built by Giro a company that has a solid history for building great quality products with style. I am excited to try out a set of these. The Rep from Giro came into the shop to show us some samples of these and a couple of other Giro models. These really stood out for us and we could not help but put an order in for a whole bunch of the new models – watch this space for a right up about the new shoes coming in-