DZR’s urban cycling shoes that aim to combine SPDs, stiffness, and style come to the UK

Cool, casual shoes you can wear on and off the bike… without walking like a duck

by Max Leonard   March 25, 2011  

The four shoe solution may be a thing of the past for style conscious urban cyclists thanks to a new line of urban cycling shoes from US outfit DZR that are now available in the UK. Cycling shoes you can wear off the bike too are a great idea but they're also a tough trick to pull off.

Though it may seem a tenuous comparison, cleated cycling shoes in the city are like folding bikes (run with me here): their makers seemingly must choose to excel at one function to the detriment of the other. Either a bike folds well and is a pig to ride, or handles well but it is complicated and unwieldy when folded (okay, i'm generalising a bit here). Similarly, shoes that work well on the bike often will get you laughed out of the pub or the office – either looks-wise, or thanks to the patented cyclist’s duck-walk the rigid soles cause; and those with a modicum of off-bike style, meanwhile, have all the stiffness and practicality of wet spaghetti.

Cue some riders, in desperation, hacking apart old Vans or Converse and jerry-rigging their own cleat fitting. For most of us, though, the real-shoes-in-the-rucksack solution suffices. We are still searching for the urban-SPD equivalent of the Brompton.

However, the market is clearly speaking and, in the past year or so, more and more trainer-like SPD-compatible shoes are appearing, with recent débuts from respected American urban brands Chrome and Mission Workshop. Alwaysriding.co.uk has started stocking DZR shoes. The Palo Alto-based company in fact manufactures Mission Workshop’s shoes, and its own-brand line-up (four men’s and two women’s models in the UK, for the time being) includes a range of mid- and low-rise styles, in carefully chosen leather and herringbone canvas fabrics.

The results look good, in a casual, hipster-ish sort of way, and the company claims to have solved the power transfer troubles of trainer-like shoes, by shifting the sole’s flex point back towards the heel, to provide bike-friendly stiffness yet a natural walking gait. Each shoe also has reflective trim, to help riders stand out on dark streets.
Like what you see, but want to know if they work? Look out for a full Road.cc review soon.