Lake has been busy behind the scenes with a new owner in the last couple of years, but it has actually had the same shoe designer for the last 15, so there’s a very strong sense of identity through the whole range. Not many apparel companies can claim to have had the same pen behind every design they’ve come out with.
There will ten new models for 2014, with the autumn/winter boot and the cyclocross shoe probably of most interest to UK riders. The CX shoe, the MX 331 is 95% finished as you see it here and the boots are what you’ll get.
Starting with the MX331 CX – the ‘world’s first cyclocross specific shoe’. (We’ll say ‘clipless specific CX shoe’ as Sidi and Duegi had some CX shoes in the 80s.) It’s been developed without compromise with the input of several top racers and what they’ve come out with is, frankly, bonkers! However, UK riders in wetter, grassier conditions are probably going to love it, even for trail riding.
There’s a full carbon sole, flexible enough to walk in, a BOA closure up top (now even slimmer than before), but what makes it different is the modular stud system. There are eight separate stud threads on the sole: Four up front, two on the instep and two on the heel. It’ll come with a selection of terrifyingly pointy, and less pointy, studs so that you can quickly change your shoe tread to match the conditions. At its least aggressive, you could just have the rubber lugs like you see on the heel, and blank off most of the others. At the other extreme, there are big, metal studs for sloppy grass run-ups, or for ice or whatever. The idea is that you could turn up at a race course, do a practice lap and then add or subtract studs depending on the terrain, much as you might change your tyre pressure.
You have to admire the singleminded purpose of these shoes. And just think what damage you could do to your mum’s parquet floor if you weren’t careful. Not the shoes for short-tempered cycle commuters either…
And here’s the regular MX331, which looks polite by comparison. It still features a chunky, moulded sole, the new, slimmer BOA L5 closure and toe-stud capability on a full carbon sole.
And now for the winter boot. Lake is well known for its MXZ303 winter boot, which is great for sub-zero riding, but even Lake acknowledged that it was perhaps a little too warm unless it’s snowing, so it has made what we would probably recognise as more of an autumn/winter boot for less frigid weather.
The MX145 features two BOA closures, no vents, a boot pull to help get it on and a full waterproof membrane. There’s still a neoprene cuff to keep the elements out and you can fit toe studs for sloppy mud riding/walking. It’s lighter and less insulated than the 303, but looks ideal for much UK winter weather. Apparently there was great pressure from Moore Large, Lake’s importer, for this boot and we’ll look forward to trying it out.