Indoor-specific shoe aimed at the recreational end of the riding spectrum
- Compatible with 2- and 3-bolt cleat systems
- Intriguing design
- Ventilation and fit
- Decent pricing considering brand cachet
- Sole lacks stiffness
- Fabric upper prone to folding
Nike is no stranger to the cycling industry having boasted a sizeable presence in the pro rungs during the late eighties, nineties and early noughties with a portfolio brimming with some of the best cycling shoes on the market. Despite several experimental concepts and collaborations with pro riders - all of which were based around the venerable Mercurial shoe blueprint - Nike hasn't actively been involved in mainstream cycling for the past decade which makes the shoes you see here all the more intriguing.
They're called the Nike SuperRep Cycle, an indoor cycling shoe that is aimed at the recreational end of the riding spectrum. We've been putting them to the test in a variety of indoor settings to ascertain whether or not they've got what it takes to earn a spot in our best indoor cycling shoes buying guide.
Design and aesthetics
While these shoes represent a significant shift for Nike in terms of what we've come to expect from its cycling portfolio, they're very much in line with the SuperRep range of fitness kicks. As such, the shoes utilise an expressive and bold blueprint with a contrasting black/red colourway that provides the perfect canvas upon which to print the brand's iconic Swoosh moniker.
The details continue inside and under the shoe. The sole is constructed from a nylon-based material that features a textured pattern while the toe and heel area benefit from complementing orange traction pads. The orange theme continues inside the shoe where a decorative SupeRep motif adorns the removable inner sole.
Colourways are limited to two options for men (black or white) and three for women (black, white or red).
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As far as specifications go, there's nothing fancy going on here. Two Velcro straps take care of retention but these are more centred around finding the most comfortable fit as opposed to the foot-hugging, second-skin-like performance you'll find on an out-and-out high-end road cycling shoe.
At 544g a pair (272g per shoe) they're not particularly the lightest around but they're certainly not the heaviest either. The shoe uses an adaptable cleat insert plate that will play nicely with both three-bolt road and two-bolt mountain bike cleat styles while rubber traction pads located on the heel and toe provide off-the-bike grip. Looking at the sole, it clearly evident Nike has tried something different here. There's no carbon-fibre exotica I'm afraid - instead, it a nylon-plastic moulding that extends around the ball of the foot only, leaving an exposed almost unfinished rear end.
The SuperRep's trump card, however, hinges more around its superlative levels of ventilation rather than outright performance. The shoes naturally feature a highly breathable, perforated sockliner upper complete with venting channels in the sole to help keep your feet cool.
In terms of fit, the SuperRep are not as cosseting as the best cycling shoes but they've been crafted in this fashion for a very particular reason. Where outdoor riding shoes are designed for out-and-out stiffness and performance, the SuperReps represent the very antithesis favouring comfort and ventilation over power delivery. Those who've spent many an hour slogging away on Zwift will be well aware of increasing room temperatures - even when using a fan - and your feet are usually first to suffer. The Nike SuperReps possess a pretty commodious fit, offering plenty of space for your feet thanks to the wider sole platform and manipulable stretch fabric upper that deforms to accommodate your foot shape.
The Velcro closure system, however, is not without fault. Depending on how tight you prefer your fit the SuperReps' fabric upper can stretch resulting in odd creasing along the flanks of each shoe. On-the-fly adjustability can also pose an issue when you're doing a workout or race - I recommend using the shoes a few times before venturing into any form of high-intensity riding.
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This brings me to the sole. The SuperRep uses a heat-moulded nylon plastic half-sole around the forefoot area to take care of power transfer. Torsional stiffness (as expected) is lacking somewhat and the heel area can be manipulated side-to-side by hand. While this has blighted the overall stiffness index of the shoe you're still able to ride at a relatively decent level of intensity before any flex comes to the fore.
I participated in several Zwift workouts and races to test the performance credentials of the SuperReps and, while they were impressively comfortable, they ultimately lacked the support and glove-like feel that I've come to expect from a traditional cycling shoe. While they were surprisingly effective - even when pushing hard in races - I did find myself having to adapt my riding position to effectively transfer power to the pedals which is something that could potentially impact less flexible cyclists.
It would be wrong of me to dismiss these shoes as a viable indoor option based purely on their performance and how they fare in a racing environment. Instead, they cater to those looking for a comfortable, airy shoe that will make the indoor experience a bit more bearable. In that regard, the Nike SuperRep Cycle shoes are fantastic. They're versatile enough in shape and adjustability to conform to most foot sizes/types and the fabric and sole seem to hold up well to repeated use.
Are they a necessity? Probably not, especially if you're an avid cyclist as you'll get better performance and all-round comfort from the shoes you use for training and racing. If however, you're new to the game and want a dedicated shoe that you can use both at home on the turbo trainer and on the smart bike at the gym then the SuperRep Cycle shoes might be a solution. They're also likely to appeal more to brand loyalists looking to add another model to their collection.
Despite it appealing more to recreational cyclists, the SuperRep Cycle shoes have got me excited about the prospect of something more substantial coming from Nike soon - because where there's smoke there's usually fire.
Tech Specs: Nike SuperRep Cycle indoor cycling shoes
- RRP: $120 / £104.95
- Sizes: EU40.5 - EU49.5
- Weight: 544g (actual, size 42)
- Colours: 3
- Retention: Velcro
- Sole: Nylon
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