Sold as an all-round trail riding shoe, I’ve been using these for the more pedestrian end of trail riding – mostly because when things get gnarlier I’ll switch to flats. However, these are so comfortable I have found myself wearing them for more and more rides, and trickier trails. But let’s go back to the beginning and start with what they’re made of.
The uppers are made from a combination of synthetic leather, with a mesh toe that extends under the Velcro straps, and small mesh sections around the ankles. The toe and heel have reinforced bumper sections, with a slightly rubbery edge continuing right around the outside of the foot, protecting the synthetic leather from scuffs and scrapes. These only come in black – which is fine, because I think they look pretty good, but some fun colour options would be nice.
Fit adjustment comes from two substantial Velcro straps, plus a BOA dial. Once I’d set them where I wanted, the Velcro straps were largely left alone, using the BOA to get the shoes loosened or tightened enough to get on or off. Unlike some, there’s no pull to release function on these BOAs, meaning you can tighten or loosen them one click at a time – no worrying about where the tight point is and then having to back them right off and start again if you go too far. The BOAs both tighten by turning them forwards, and loosen turning them back – there’s not righty-tighty/lefty-loosey – which feels intuitive in use. It’s a women’s specific last, so narrower than a men’s or unisex fit. The size 41 fitted me exactly as I’d hope, and the narrower shape really suits my feet, making them very comfortable to wear.
Constructed with Specialized’s Body Geometry, the sole and footbed have been ‘ergonomically designed and scientifically tested to boost power, increase efficiency, and reduce chance of injury by optimizing hip, knee, and foot alignment’. It’s hard for me to assess these bold claims, but the shoes were very comfortable, with no awkward points of rubbing, and my knees have been more comfortable in these than they have in flats for longer rides. As someone who really struggles to buy normal street shoes, even trainers, the joy at putting on a pair of shoes and not spending any time covering your feet in blister remedies cannot be underestimated.
Internally, I can find that shoes with claims of ergonomic designs have too much material around the arch of the foot, but that was not the case here. The shape seemed to be nice and snug over the arch of the foot, while giving plenty of room for toes to wriggle, and the low profile heel didn’t cause me any annoyance around the achilles and ankle.
The nylon composite sole is finished with ‘SlipNot’ rubber for off the bike traction, and the shoes are given a stiffness index rating of 6.0. For my needs, this is just right – not so stiff that I’m getting pressure points or discomfort in my feet (really stiff shoes tend to give me cramp), but stiff enough that I can push the pedals and feel like there’s a response. Indeed, I’ve given up on road shoes and cleats, and even on the road I’ve found these stiff enough for pedalling.
As well as the decent sized tread, there are two replaceable threaded toe studs. I found that these rather let down the sole of the shoe, as the harder plastic around them proved slippery, meaning that as I transferred my weight through my step and onto my toe, my foot would slip away from me. Tiled floors in mid-ride pie shops proved especially lethal, but any hard or rocky surface led to similar slippage problems. I’d like to see an alternative solution for these studs – either a different rubber, perhaps, or just do away with them and add another section of tread. Of course, they are replaceable, so you could put your own in, but it would be nice if the stock option was better.
Another point of slippage was around the heel – I’d really have liked to see some of that shark-skin style heel grip fabric to stop heels slipping off the bike. On the bike I didn’t notice any problems, but before any walking section I’d feel the need to really tighten the BOA up. Even then my heels would feel like they were risking popping out the back of the low profile collar.
I’ve worn these fairly solidly for three months, mostly in dry weather, and they’re holding up well. In wet weather the mesh tops let water straight in, while the rubbering bumper tends to help the water pool round your foot – so I’d recommend these for only lightly splashy weather. In the heat though, these have been great, and I can perhaps now see why so many shoe manufacturers insist on those mesh fronts that us UK riders so often find frustrating. Yes, I’m sure there are cooler shoes out there, but these have given me a good balance of ventilation and protection – I’ve never had an uncomfortable rock strike or toe stubbing incident while wearing these.
Three Improvements I’d Like To See
- Some one-way grip fabric in the heel to prevent slippage while walking
- A different toe stud construction that’s as grippy as the SlipNot tread sections
- How about some fun colours?
Three Things I Loved
- These fit my feet like gloves, or slippers.
- There’s a good mix of ventilation and protection.
- Neat and snug with no flappy bits to catch on passing vegetation.
I’ve found these so comfortable that I’ve found myself riding in clips more and more. My feet feel supported and protected, and I like the neatness of them – handy for summer vegetation. I’ve really enjoyed riding in these, I just hope there’s plenty of dry weather ahead so I can keep wearing them!
|Motodiva Mountain Bike Shoe
|by Hannah for 3 months