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Tour de France tech: Cycling shoes of the pros

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Three of these shoes aren't available to the public. We're not sure about the fourth

Three of these shoes aren't available to the public. We're not sure about the fourth (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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A closer look at Contador's personal graphics

A closer look at Contador's personal graphics (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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André Griepel's gorilla Gaernes

André Griepel's gorilla Gaernes (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Frank Schleck has what look to be roughly modified Bontrager shoes. Bontrager declined to comment on them

Frank Schleck has what look to be roughly modified Bontrager shoes. Bontrager declined to comment on them (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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These are likely prototypes for a next-edition Bontrager XXX LE shoe

These are likely prototypes for a next-edition Bontrager XXX LE shoe (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Jérémy Roy's personalized Fizik shoes

Jérémy Roy's personalized Fizik shoes (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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A few Tour pros ride with the Sidi adjustment tabs flipped open, so they can tighten or loosen on the fly

A few Tour pros ride with the Sidi adjustment tabs flipped open, so they can tighten or loosen on the fly (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Another example of open-tab Sidis

Another example of open-tab Sidis (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Sylvain Chavanel of IAM Cycling rides blank Specialized S-Works shoes

Sylvain Chavanel of IAM Cycling rides blank Specialized S-Works shoes (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Other IAM Cycling riders use Northwave (Italian) or Suplest (Swiss) shoes

Other IAM Cycling riders use Northwave (Italian) or Suplest (Swiss) shoes (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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The Swiss Suplest brand makes a variety of shoes, using various fasteners from A-Top dials (think Boa) to Velcro straps to ratchets

The Swiss Suplest brand makes a variety of shoes, using various fasteners from A-Top dials (think Boa) to Velcro straps to ratchets (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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No Tour shoe gallery would be complete without a shot of Adam Hansen's handmade jobs

No Tour shoe gallery would be complete without a shot of Adam Hansen's handmade jobs (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Alberto Contador wears Specialized S-Works with custom graphics

Alberto Contador wears Specialized S-Works with custom graphics (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Peter Sagan's footwear of choice

Peter Sagan's footwear of choice (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Specialized has been trying to get world TT champion Tony Martin on its shoes for a while, but the German loves his Sidis

Specialized has been trying to get world TT champion Tony Martin on its shoes for a while, but the German loves his Sidis (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Following suit from Giro and the California company's lace-up Empire shoe, Bontrager has the Classique, which isn't yet officially part of the line

Following suit from Giro and the California company's lace-up Empire shoe, Bontrager has the Classique, which isn't yet officially part of the line (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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This Shimano shoe is not yet public. It appears to be an R321 — a follow-up to the current R320

This Shimano shoe is not yet public. It appears to be an R321 — a follow-up to the current R320 (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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This is Shimano's current R320 shoe

This is Shimano's current R320 shoe (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Marco Albasini looks to have a fairly wide foot, given the strap placement

Marco Albasini looks to have a fairly wide foot, given the strap placement (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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This is a Diadora Vortex-Pro Movistar Limited Edition shoe

This is a Diadora Vortex-Pro Movistar Limited Edition shoe (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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This is a Diadora Vortex-Pro Movistar Limited Edition shoe cover. It's unclear what model of two-dial shoe is underneath

This is a Diadora Vortex-Pro Movistar Limited Edition shoe cover. It's unclear what model of two-dial shoe is underneath (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Sometimes shoe covers are worn for aero benefits, sometimes for rain protection, and sometimes to cover up non-sponsor-correct shoes

Sometimes shoe covers are worn for aero benefits, sometimes for rain protection, and sometimes to cover up non-sponsor-correct shoes (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Bont shoes are popular in the Tour de France peloton. World champion Rui Costa is a fan

Bont shoes are popular in the Tour de France peloton. World champion Rui Costa is a fan (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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AG2R-La Mondiale riders use a mix of shoes, from sponsor Northwave and the smaller Sierra brand

AG2R-La Mondiale riders use a mix of shoes, from sponsor Northwave and the smaller Sierra brand (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Sierra is a small French company that began making custom rollerblade boots in 1994 before moving into cycling

Sierra is a small French company that began making custom rollerblade boots in 1994 before moving into cycling (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Bont has a whole range of shoes, but the Zero+ seems to be the most common among pros

Bont has a whole range of shoes, but the Zero+ seems to be the most common among pros (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Hansen has a few different pairs of carbon slippers, which feature a single adjustment dial on the sole

Hansen has a few different pairs of carbon slippers, which feature a single adjustment dial on the sole (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)

This article appeared first on BikeRadar.

Take me straight to the gallery!

While you will never see a rider at the Tour de France on a different brand of bicycle from his teammates, shoes are a different matter. Since fit is such an individualized matter, and comfort at the foot-to-pedal junction is essential, teams will occasionally let riders wear something besides what the team sponsor provides.

The other critical touchpoint of course is the saddle; we have shown a few examples of riders on Selle Italia-sponsored teams using Specialized, or Specialized-sponsored riders using Fizik. With shoes and saddles there isn't a universal solution; it's all about what fits each rider best.

Here, we take a look at some of the unique and interesting shoes on the feet of the Tour de France peloton.

In addition to non-sponsor correct shoes or special-graphic editions, we also spotted at least three models that are not yet available. Bontrager's lace-up shoe, believed to be called the Classique, made an appearance, as did what looks to be the successor to Shimano's R320 shoe. Perhaps to be called the R321, the Shimano shoe features two Velcro straps and a ratcheting strap with the opposite orientation to that of the R320. True to Shimano's form, the company declined to comment on the shoe. "Shimano is constantly working to improve its product," said Shimano spokesman Nick Legan. "Shimano athletes often test prototypes in competition as a part of the development process."

Most of the Trek Factory Racing riders on using Bontrager's new XXX shoe. But at least one rider is on what looks to be a new version of the XXX LE shoe, a three-Velcro-strap model. As with Shimano, Bontrager declined to divulge any details.

"We race to win. We race to learn. New product comes out of that," said Bontrager marketing spokesman Sam Foos. "These shoes are not final, and we have no timeline to publish as of yet."

Trek's Frank Scheck is racing in some oddly modified Bontrager shoes, which Foos declined to explain, beyond saying that "it is a long story".

Finally, Sierra custom carbon shoes popped up on a couple of AG2R-La Mondiale riders. Frenchman Jean-Stephan Sierra began making rollerblade boots back in 1994, and later moved into cycling footwear. His custom rollerblade boots sell for €750, and the cycling shoes go for €510.

Click through the gallery above for a closer look at these special shoes.