Dromarti Sportivo Touring and Race Carbon shoe review

Are these classically styled, handmade shoes all show or do they go as well?

Dromarti Race Carbon
(Image: © Dromarti)

Cyclingnews Verdict

Timeless style and luxurious full leather, lace-up comfort underlined with proper performance soles


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    Timeless style, handmade quality

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    Supremely comfortable with a naturally moulding fit

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    Simple, secure and stylish laces

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    Sweat and smell free

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    Excellent lifespan with a bit of TLC


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    Quality costs

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    Not for vegans

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In a world of dials, ratchets and synthetics the handmade perforated leather uppers of Dromarti’s UK designed road and ‘touring’ shoes have awesome aristocratic appeal. After several years of rigorous use, we can confirm they’re fantastically comfortable and competitive in terms of performance, too.

The shoes come in two designs, the ‘Sportivo Touring’ and the ‘Race Carbon’. The Sportivo has actually been updated recently with an entirely new, more angular, stable and grippy tread design than the original pair we’ve had for several years. You’re still getting a sliding SPD-style two-bolt cleat mount set relatively far back in the shoe. 

The rigid sole still prioritises pedalling over walking too but you’ll be okay for short strolls if necessary. While they’re labelled as touring shoes we’ve also used them for both MTB and gravel bike rides and the exceptional build quality means they’d be fine as bike-packing brogues, too.

The road shoe uses a slim but stiff carbon-fibre-reinforced sole with three-bolt road cleat fixings, alignment markings and a grip patch. There are moulded toe and heel tread sections and a small mesh-covered vent at the toe.


Both shoes share the same handmade leather upper with punched and perforated ventilation detailing and embossed logos. Full-length side pieces are reinforced at the heel and the lace panel flares out for double layer coverage at the toe. The tongue and heel collar are generously padded and the whole shoe and insole are lined with soft leather too. Waxed cotton laces are threaded through the 14 holes and they come in natural tan or black with red highlight options.

While the timeless retro aesthetic is the obvious first appeal, the shoes fit beautifully from the start and the leather moulds even more naturally to your foot over time. The laces give a very easy to tune, hot spot free fit and they stay tight for hours as long as you knot them firmly.

While the big holes mean they’re not very weatherproof the solid toe stops them getting too cold. Compared to synthetic shoes they breathe and minimise sweating remarkably well and our Touring samples still smell fresh after several years of regular use. They still look awesome, too - actually improving their patina and appeal as they age. Remember to protect your investment with carefully drying and oiling/waxing/polishing if they get soaking wet. 

Dromarti Race Carbon

As with all leather footwear, the uppers will mould to your feet over use and develop a worn in patina (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)


Dromarti’s shoes certainly aren’t cheap but the handmade quality and materials are absolutely first class. They’re luxuriously comfortable from the start and fit better and better the more they age. The sole units and secure uppers give them a properly competitive performance on or off-road. Even after several years our Touring shoes still look (and smell) fresh too so they’re definitely an investment not an indulgence and they still feel special and turn heads every time we lace them up and head out.

Dromarti's Sportivo Touring and Race Carbon models are available from dromarti.com.

Tech spec: Dromarti Sportivo Touring

Price: £229.95

Weight: 774g (Pair of size 44 with Shimano cleats)

Sizes: 40-47

Tech spec: Dromarti Race Carbon 

Price: £249.95

Weight: 618g (Pair of size 44 with Shimano cleats)

Sizes: 40-47

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