road.cc resident shoe…er, specialist, Vecchiojo gets up close but not too personal with next year's hot shoes

Get ready to throw away your white race shoes, colour is sneaking back in for 2012, and in worryingly lary Eighties flavours, (yes we mean you Northwave, Pearl Izumi and Diadora). Oh, and old looking shoes with modern features look to be tip-toeing around the edges as well, here’s what we managed to see hoofing round Eurobike 2011 looking at next year's road slippers…

As well as these well crafted words there's also two mighty galleries of pics the Eurobike left shoe gallery above including: Mavic, Lake, Gaerne, Diadora, Carnac, Fizik, Louis Garneau and the rather special China Legend with their brave attempt to bring the footballer's tattoo look to cycling shoes; AND the Eurobike right shoe gallery featuring the likes of: Vittoria, Specialized, Pearl Izumi, North Wave, Shimano, Scott, Xpedo, RAPs, Suplest and Spiuk. Click on a thumbnail to open them in lightbox mode, there's something in there for everyone.

Top of the list of people to see were Fizik, who as well as displaying their full range of shoes that debuted last year were showing off their new R3 SL shoe slated to hit the shops early next year - we saw the prototype version a few months back in Italy, this time out Fizik were showing off what is pretty much the production shoe. Caressing the scales at a meagre 242g in a size 43, saving 30g on the standard R3 it use a lighter 15K carbon weave on the sole, replaces a buckle with a strap and employs titanium D-rings to achieve the lower weight. There being less of it it'll obviously cost you more.

100% handmade in Italy the upper is full silver synthetic Microtex and the R3 SL has sweet little touches like the Tricolore tongue with an internal foam pocket for thickness adjustment, a multi-density insole, a heel cup that flexes with the foot and replaceable heel pads.

Mavic have overhauled their whole range of yellow tinged trotters, lighter, new ratchets with deeper teeth, stronger straps, improved heel fitting, UD carbon-fibre where there was multi-directional, and stitching where there once was glue were features across the board, and there were some new models too.

Of particular interest right about now is the new Mavic Frost winter road shoe that features a Gore-Tex liner, is insulated to help keep your tootsies from the cold and has 360-degree reflective highlights. Women weren’t left out with the Zxenon and Giova also getting a facelift and the new Toumaline - a girlie-fit version of Mavic’s touring shoe.

Pearl Izumi’s range of clogs come in the triumvirate of Select, Elite and Pro. The Select is aimed at the ‘basic’ rider with a nylon outsole and a new heel cup design and grip on the heel for walking to the cake shop.

The Elite reinforces the fact that PI cycle shoes are just as much about style as performance as they match the colours in their clothing collection, deliberately have a fashion look and will have a change of colour each season, this year it was Lime and Safety Orange. Hmm, Tic-Tacy.

The Elite shoe has a 75% carbon outsole and is basically the same style as last year but with new replaceable heel pads. The new Pro Road shoe boasts a 100% carbon outsole, a new micro-adjustable buckle, anatomical straps that follow the form of the foot and a replaceable heel grip.

Pearl's top-of-the-range Octane SL III (main pic at the top of the page) shoe was the proud winner of a Eurobike Gold Award, a minimalist shoe with an “Octane Grade” (not exactly sure what Octane Grade actually means) 100% uni-directional carbon sole, large mesh inserts, no micro buckle but three anatomic Velcro straps instead to keep the weight down and the tongue attached delicately just at the front, all helping to keep the shoe at a claimed svelte 198g in a 42.

Of most interest on the Specialized stand was their “74” road shoe in a retro look but with modern features. A full kangaroo leather upper is styled to look like a 30 year old shoe but in place of laces 2 modern Boa dials deal with foot securing. A FACT carbon sole with a Body Geometry footbed is drilled for an up-to-date road cleat and there’s a proud heel tread.

Carnac shoes, who seem to be flying so low under the radar they’ve almost crashed had an interesting yet cumbersome closure system on their Attraction (see what they did there?) shoe that involves the use of magnets. The light Magnetic Closure System (MCS) is resistant to “most external aggressions - including water - and is very easy to use”. And it allows you to get into certain cat-flaps, probably.

Other highlights included Northwave shoes having a full variety of both tasteful and garish colour schemes with their toppermost Extreme Tech 3V  shoes looking pretty special with their super thin carbon fibre sole and seamless moulded upper looking like Plasticine.

Lake's oven-bake-to-fit system looked to be gathering dust in the corner at Eurobike. However, appearances can be deceptive because the word is that they are taking the whole home baked shoe concept to the next level for next year with a fully custom version of their topping CX 401 - basically you can design your own shoe and they will bake it for you. There's even talk of letting us design a road.cc shoe… but don't tell Mat.

Xpedo, better known for their lightweight pedals were displaying a set of shoes to clip into them for the collar-and-cuffs obsessives and RAPS were a company diversifying into cycle shoes from their inline and ice-skate boots with a prototype hand made shoe amongst others and mentioning they might be using 3D scanning to get a perfect fit.

Diadora haven’t done too badly this year, shodding (not sure that is actually a word - ed) Tour and Vuelta winners, and you’d have to be pretty good to pull off, or pull on even, some of their colourings that were definitely in the “Euro” section of the cupboard, the new Jet Racer in orange for example. Swiss outfit Suplest also went for the candy-store look with their Streetracing series.

It wasn’t all top-end tarmac-slippers though, British brand Polaris are expanding their clothing range by dressing your feet with a new range of shoes at more realistic prices. The Ignition road shoe gives you £5 change from a ton, the Flash steps up at £79.99 with three Velcro straps in a “patent finish aimed at sportive riders” and the Bojo is their commuting shoe for a penny under £65.

As well as producing a wide range of cycling race shoes with all the usual ratchet, Velcro and string closures Vittoria had a very lovely casual looking shoe from their “1976” range, handmade in perforated suede with foot closure taken care of by traditional laces and a sole recessed for a mountainbike cleat the Bianco Line Suede would be perfect for the stylish commuter, and it was the one shoe that made everyone at road.cc want to nip down the pub*. For testing purposes obviously.

*only you wanted to go in the pink ones though - ed

Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.