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High-performance lightweights for dancing on the pedals

A whole bunch of shiny new kit has just arrived at the road.cc nerve centre from Mavic, including these striking high-end Zxellium shoes.

Mavic built their reputation on wheels and we guess that's what they’ll always be best known for, but the French brand has really expanded in other areas over the past few years, including rider wear. The clothing is generally innovative and well put together – there's some great stuff in the range – but we have a particular soft spot for the shoes.

Priced at £235, the Zxelliums are far from cheap, but they’ve got some high-quality features to help justify that chunky price tag. The full-carbon outsole is incredibly light and thin – just 5.5mm – so your feet are that much closer to the pedal axle. Chances are that you’ll have to drop your saddle a touch to take account of the lower stack height. And if our experience of past Mavic shoes is anything to go by, that sole is extremely stiff so, despite the skinniness, there’s no slop at all when you pound the pedals.

The Energy Lock heel counter is full carbon too, designed to hold the back of your foot ultra-stable for the best transfer of energy. Like the outsole, it’s very light and, almost as important, it looks cool too.

The lightweight mesh uppers are bonded rather than stitched so there are very few seams to bother your, and they come with an injected TPU frame – that’s thermoplastic polyurethane, if you want to get technical about it – to hold your feet securely and prevent any stretch. The toecap is bonded in place too and we’re hoping that the three-density insole proves to be as comfy as it looks.

Closure comes courtesy of one broad, ratcheted upper strap and two Velcro-adjusted lower ones – a lot like Adidas Adistar shoes in days of yore. But the fit is pretty different from those Adidas models thanks to a considerably wider last.

As you’ll have noticed, our Zxelliums are very yellow. Like, really yellow. Think bananas. Think lemons. Think fluffy little ducklings. We reckon they'll calm down a bit after a few damp British rides but if you’re not into yellow, you're fighting a losing battle here – go for the white option instead.

We’re bolting some cleats in place even as we type – we’re nimble-fingered like that – so expect a full report within the next couple of weeks, once we've got the big miles in.

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.