Garmin-Sharp rider talks through design of some very special footwear - and reveals what a Dark Red Alarm is

We’ve mentioned before the custom-made Fizik shoes that Garmin-Sharp’s David Millar is wearing in each race during what is his final season as a pro – but the ones he will sport in tomorrow’s Tour of Flanders are truly spectacular.

The season-long project aims to raise money for the Small Steps Project charity, with each pair of shoes auctioned on the website Sellebrity.org.uk – currently, bidding on those he wore at last month’s Milan-San Remo stands at £400.

The shoes are designed by the VCRC Style Council in partnership with Fizik, and each pair aims not only to celebrate the race in question, but also to relate the story of Millar’s own relationship with it.

In an article on the Fizik website, Millar says that the Tour of Flanders “is a race I have learnt to love in the twilight of my career,” and one that in contrast to the Grand Tours “seemed like a totally different sport, more like the bike racing I’d known as a junior.”

He adds:

With this shoe I wanted to try and capture everything the race represents in my mind, which is quite simple really, the Lion of Flanders flag and the race plan. If there’s one thing we see more than anything at the side of the road it’s this flag, hence the yellow colour and the right shoe having the lion on its toe.

Then there’s the race plan. This is something we tape to our stems, a list of the climbs with markers listing the climbs and tactical points, Andreas Klier, the Classics Directeur Sportif for Team Garmin-Sharp gives us our race plan the night before and gave us a version to use for the shoes.

The highlight to the race plan is shown on the left toe, the Belgian stripes represent the home straight and the final climbs, it will be noticed that there is an indication called ‘Dark Red Alarm,’ this is Andreas’ deep shit point.

Basically Red Alarm isn’t enough, it’s DARK RED. Equivalent to DEFCON 1 in US military speak. Tactics go out the window here, it’s time to disengage brain and just go. There’s definitely an overload of information on the shoe, and that’s the point, because the race itself is so complicated, that is, up to the point your brain stops working and survival kicks in, aka DARK RED ALARM.

The final addition was the Belgian sole, a little tribute to the fact it’s Belgium, and we like Belgian bike races.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.