There's really no missing the Hora Evos, famed Italian manufacturer Vittoria's top of the range road shoe, in their bright neon yellow guise. In-your-face colours seem to be all the range these days, but even so, it takes a certain amount of self-confidence to be able pull this look off; the Hora Evos certainly won't be to everyone's taste. For the more conservative, Vittoria also offer these shoes in black as well as white with red highlights.
At the heart of the Evos is a thin, unidirectional carbon fibre sole with numerous air scoops both in front and behind the cleat holes (one and three vents respectively). The 3mm sole thickness is impressive and makes for a more stable pedal to shoe interface due to the reduced stack height. Coming straight from Bont Vaypors which are market leaders in this respect, I found that I didn't have to change my saddle height at all, which is something you might have to consider if swapping to the Evos from shoes with thicker soles.
Despite the thinness, a quick hand test revealed no flex at all in the soles, an impression reinforced when stamping the pedals on the bike. Differentiating sole stiffness between top end road shoes by feel is pretty much impossible these days, as it is generally excellent across the board, but I can say that the Vittorias are right up there and at least good enough to warrant their status at the top of the shoe tree.
The Evos are available drilled for both three-bolt cleats (as tested) or in a four-bolt pattern for Speedplay pedals, with a sandpaper-like surface finish providing additional friction to prevent cleat slippage. In terms of location, the bolt holes are about averagely positioned front to back, making it pretty straightforward to replicate cleat position. Interestingly, the bolt holes are actually slots, enabling about 3mm of horizontal adjustability, on top of adjustability already available in one's cleats. Though it may seem like a minor detail, it shows that Vittoria have really thought about cleat placement and understand how important it is to get right.
Retention is taken care of using an adjustable dial for the fore and mid-foot, and a more traditional (or old school depending on your outlook) ratcheting strap over the arch. Vittoria were one of the first manufacturers to make use of dials and cables as shoes closures, all the way back in 1998, and the system used on the Horas bears evidence of this experience.
The tension can be incrementally increased and reduced (though you don't hear audible clicks when loosening the cables) using the handle which flicks up at 90 degrees to the dial, making it easy to operate the system even when wearing thick winter gloves.
The range of possible adjustment is massive, and only limited by the fact that the dial is placed on the tongue itself which imposes a physical limit on how closely the two sides of the shoe can be brought together. This really shouldn't be a problem unless the fit for your particular foot shape is way off, or if you've bought the wrong size.
When it comes to the ratcheting strap, the design is simple and does what it needs to do without much fuss. If I was to be picky, I'd suggest that it would have been nice to include a mechanism which could release the tension in small increments, useful if you get some swelling of the feet in hot weather, as the current system only allows for tension to be completely released. The padding on the strap is also adjustable from side to side, such that it can always be located centrally over the shoe.
Ventilation is pretty good thanks to the generous use of mesh on the uppers, the perforated tongue and the aforementioned air vents in the sole. By no means is it a summer-only shoe in the mould of Mavic's Huez for example, but for anyone living in the UK it is airy enough whilst still being useable all year round.
In terms of fit, the Hora Evos are distinctly 'non-Italian' in that they fit pretty true to size – no need to size up here. The width is fairly conservative and the uppers have a fair bit of room in them, resulting in a shoe that is best suited to higher volume feet. As someone with both wide and low volume feet, I had to swap out the thin, stock insoles for some more substantial ones to prevent my feet from feeling as though they were swimming around. Even then, I had to more or less max out both the dial and ratchet in order to quell any heal lift from what is quite a voluminous heel cup.
This in turn caused a bit of discomfort as the top of the shoe would dig into the front of my ankle every time I dropped my heel over the top of the pedal stroke. Though the leather uppers are very generously padded for a top end road shoe, they are also quite inflexible, so it's really crucial that the shoes fit you before you crank the straps down, so to speak.
On a positive note, the substantial microfiber uppers should make for a more reliable and crash resistant shoe in the long run, an important consideration when considering spending close to £250. Whereas other brands have continually reduced the number of panels and stitching in their shoes in an attempt to save weight, in some cases forgoing stitches altogether for glue, the Horas are overbuilt in this regard. The downside is that the size 46 pair tested weighed in at a hefty 759 grams which is around 200 grams more than most in this price range. This fact alone will put off racers and weight weenies - the extra mass is really noticeable when pedalling - but the trade-off in ruggedness might prove worthwhile if you value longevity over weight.
The diminutive plastic heel bumper is replaceable, but frustratingly, the toe bumper is not. Furthermore, the toe bumper is so small that it doesn't actually do its job properly – when pushing off from a stop, the front section of the carbon sole can and does get scratched. When so many other small details have obviously been carefully considered, this oversight is pretty disappointing as no one wants to scuff up their expensive shoes on their first ride.
By no means are the Hora Evos a bad pair of shoes, but overall, one can't help feeling like they lack a distinguishing feature - something to set them apart from the rest - beyond just their retina burning colour. In the £200+ price range, most other shoes will offer heat moulding or boast exceptional ventilation and light weight, but the Evos have none of that. Instead, the Vittorias trade on their, admittedly excellent, Italian quality of construction and the fact that they should last a good few years, making the asking price a little more bearable.
A high performance road shoe suited to those with higher volume feet who value longevity over low weight
road.cc test report
Make and model: Vittoria Hora Evo Flouro Shoes
Size tested: 46
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Though described as a "racing shoe", the Hora Evo's padded uppers and resulting weight make them more suitable for someone who wants the performance of a top-end road shoe, but in a package that will last beyond a single season
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
-Microfiber Tech with high density nylon mesh.
-Full replaceble Micrometric Cable Closure
-Vittoria UD Carbon Air System " Freccia Tricolore" with uniform thickness of 3mm.
-Lateral regulation is allowed thanks to the special cleat fixing slots. Cleat area is roughened for increased friction
-Available in both 3 bolt and 4 bolt configurations
Available in half sizes from Euro 38-45 and then in single sizes from 46-48
This is what really stands out about the Hora Evos. The stitching is substantial whilst being very neat. It's obvious that real care has gone into the manufacture.
The sole is as stiff as you'd want from a shoe, while providing an extremely low stack height. The ratchet and cable dial work well together to provide solid yet even tension across the foot.
Probably one of the most durable top-end road shoes you a likely to come across. The only knock against them is that the front of the sole can get a bit scratched when pushing off from a stop. This is more cosmetic than anything, and shouldn't reduce the lifetime of the shoe from a performance standpoint.
The Evos are easily 200 grams more for the pair than most comparable shoes. Though the tradeoff is increased durability, the extra mass is noticeable when pedalling.
The uppers are generously padded for comfort, but not all that flexible so you really need a higher volume foot to fit into them properly. I found that the top of the shoe by the tongue would occasionally dig into the front of my ankle when dropping my heel over the top of the pedal stroke.
Though their durability should see them last a good few seasons, at the top of the range, performance and light weight are the key metrics and the Evos fall some way behind the competition
Did you enjoy using the product? I've mixed feelings about them.
Would you consider buying the product? No - they don't suit my foot shape.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Only if they'd tried them out first.
About the tester
I usually ride: Canondale EVO Red My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Semi pro
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, mtb,