This article first appeared on Bikeradar.com
Road shoe specialists Bont, Sidi, Northwave, Giro and Gaerne – among others (see our image gallery, right) – have been working on new platforms and transformative updates to existing models for 2014, and the results are on show at Eurobike 2013. BikeRadar toured a selection of stands to see what footwear is going to be hot next year.
The Wire is Sidi’s top-end road shoe for 2014, ridden to great effect in this year’s Tour de France by green, polka dot, white and yellow jersey winners. The redesigned uppers feature the Techno 3 adjuster, which Sidi were keen to point out isn’t related to Boa. Sidi first used Techno-type fittings in 1965, on their motorbike boots.
All the ground contact points on the Wire are replaceable, and the front tread can be slid back to reveal a mesh covered vent for warmer rides. This feature is common to all shoes with the Sidi Vent Carbon Sole.
Italian shoe specialists Gaerne, used by riders on the RadioShack Leopard Trek pro cycling team, have introduced a new model that sits just below their top-of-the-range G.Chrono. Dubbed the G-Speed, the 272g shoe uses a single Boa L5 reel located fairly centrally on the upper. That means the stainless steel cable should tighten across a broad area of the foot.
Giro’s road shoe range has had a substantial refresh for next year. The popular Factor makes use of a refined, flatter buckle that tightens in 2mm increments (the old buckle made adjustments in 3mm steps) and can now be loosened one degree at a time – useful for making minor tweaks during a ride.
Proving that Velcro straps still have a place in the upper echelon of road shoes, Giro’s Prolight SLX II is a sliver lighter than its predecessor, and is sub-200g for a size 42.5.
It uses a new, wafer thin carbon sole and – like the Factor and retro-style, lace-up Empire – has a breathable new fibre in the upper. This allows it to do away with mesh venting completely.
Bont’s Eurobike stand was kaleidoscopic. The Australian company have offered colour customisation through their retail channels for a while now, but will shortly launch a higher profile, online bespoke programme where buyers can choose the colour of their Vaypor and Vaypor Plus models – think Trek’s Project One.
Turnaround will be between two to three weeks, and BikeRadar were told the system should go live in mid-September. Other models will be added to the Bont programme – dubbed My Bonts – at a later date.
Northwave have overhauled much of their road and mountain shoe ranges for 2014. The highlight is the SLW2 closure system, which looks set to be a credible rival to the best of Boa’s dial tightening system and works on the same principle.
SLW2 can be tightened roughly and then refined with a micro adjusting mechanism. It’s been fitted in couplets to Northwave’s Extreme Tech Plus road and MTB shoes and trickles down to mid-range footwear too.
Northwave have also developed a 0.5mm adaptor for Speedplay pedal users, and the Italian manufacturers claim their shoes have the lowest stack height between pedal and cleat.
Other highlights include the company’s first cyclocross-specific shoe, the Hammer CX, which is essentially their mid-range, three-strap Hammer mountain bike shoe fitted with a neoprene sock to block out grime and keep feet warm.
For all of our Eurobike coverage, click here.