When it comes to finding the right cycling shoe, spending some time in your favourite tri or bike shop is definitely worth the effort. For all the time you spend on your bike, the last thing you want to deal with is an uncomfortable fit, especially when you consider that, at least for races, there’s a good chance you’re going to be barefoot when you’re in these shoes. While fit is critical, you also want to ensure that your shoes are designed for speedy transitions. Gone are the days when you had to trade some speedy Velcro straps for a snug, high-performance fit – all the shoes on our Buyer’s Guide list this year combine excellent support, stiff soles that won’tabsorb any of your hard-earned pedal energy and quick entry and exits.
The breathable microfibre upper in the Mele Tri has a wide throat opening so you can easily slip a wet foot into the shoe and get moving on the bike as fast as possible. The two-strap closure allows you to quickly strap in, while the air mesh panels keep air flowing past your foot to cool things down. Made with EC70 carbon, the sole is extremely stiff, exactly what you want in a performance shoe. The footbed comes with adjustable arch support, while the Aegis anti-microbial treatment protects from odour and bacteria.
Specialized S-Works Trivent
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Everything about the Trivent is designed to get you through transition as fast as possible, without having to sacrifice any performance or comfort along the way. The unique Drawbridge closure system leaves the heel of the shoe open, while the Launch Clip keeps it level for the quickest of flying starts. Once your foot is in, the BOA closure system allows you to tighten the Trivent to your taste. Even with all the tri-specific gadgets, the Specialized engineers have managed to include the Body Geometry sole construction you’d see in the highest end cycling-specific shoes, along with the stiff FACT 12.0 carbon sole for optimal power transfer. The smooth inner lining and water resistant Micromatix upper are supple enough to ensure comfortable, barefoot riding.
With all the bells and whistles we loved in the men’s version of this shoe we reviewed in January, the women’s version of the TRI-400 offers outstanding performance and comfort. The Power Flex strap (designed so it closes away from your chain) along with a BOA dial allows you to literally dial in a perfect, snug fit, while the Carbon HM X-lite sole has titanium inserts to provide a rigid platform that ensures all of your pedal power goes into moving you forward. Comfort is enhanced thanks to the Ice Fil insole, mesh upper and patented air channel system that keeps your feet cool and dry even in Kona-like conditions.
This unisex shoe comes in Shimano’s signature blue, while the women’s specific fit TR9W comes in white. Regardless of the colour, the TR9 is high-performance shoe that offers excellent power transfer thanks to the lightweight, stiff carbon fibre composite sole. The two Velcro straps make for quick transitions and help keep the durable, stretch resistant and comfortable synthetic upper snug on your foot. Your foot nestles into a dual-density, cupped insole and the unique Dynalast-shaped footbed. The extra-wide collar combines with a hook-and-loop Velcro Quick Strap and an off-set Quick Loop on the heel that makes it easy to get your foot into the shoes and pounding down on the pedals as fast as possible.
Pearl Izumi Tri Fly V Carbon
Both fashionable and functional, the Tri Fly V Carbon offers a fully lined mesh upper and uses two straps as part of the 1:1 Anatomic Tri Closure to make sure you can put these tri-specific shoes through their paces without socks. The performance-oriented sole uses specially designed unidirectional carbon that’s both stiff and light, while special vents ensure your foot stays cool and dry. There’s even built in longitudinal arch support to go along with the con caved shaped sole to give your foot lots of support as you push through each pedal stroke. A dual density EVA insole provides even more comfort and support, too.
The tongue-less design of the Tri Pro helps you get in and out of the shoes quickly while also keeping your feet comfortable during hot races or rides. The synthetic leather upper conforms to your foot without any pressure points, so you’ll have no issues wearing these barefoot. The stiff Power Zone outsole is designed so that all of your energy goes into pushing down on the pedals, while the Axial Flex at the back of the shoes help minimize strain on your knee and ankle. There’s a new alignment system that makes precisely mounting your cleats even easier and the Ergologic footbed is anatomically designed for precise fit, comfort and power transfer, too.