Suplest makes some rather snazzy shoes, and the new Crosscountry Edge/3 Pros are hard to miss. The sole is brilliant, nailing that delicate balance between stiffness and comfort, and the upper is rugged and cleans easily. The Boa dials aren't the sleekest, but the extra protrusion makes them easy to operate in big gloves. The only downside is the price: there are some cheaper options that are equally capable in the mud.
Let's start with the all-important sole. I've had bad experiences of flexing soles that just cause pain, especially with small mountain bike cleats. The Ergo 360 sole appears across the whole range of Suplest's Pro edition shoes and is truly excellent. These are plenty stiff enough for the hardest sprints, and also perfectly comfortable for running up muddy hills.
Another brilliant feature of the Edge/3 is the upper. The WRAP Tongue is a two-piece construction that Suplest says 'allows a maximum foot hold and is comfortable at the same time'. It's not lying: the hold on my foot was excellent, with no movement apart from in the toe box.
The material is made in Japan and constructed with airflow in mind. Wearing these during an intense cyclo-cross session really allowed me to feel the cooling benefits. The thin construction of the upper means it really wraps around your foot, and after a few rides they formed permanently to the shape of my feet.
The outsole connects really well with the colourscheme of the upper. The clear rubber not only gripped well, but also shed mud with ease, letting me clip in without fuss. After some rocky run-ups, I was a little concerned that the rubber would get scratched and then be difficult to clean, but I had no such issues. The rubber has come up clean each time. It's a small detail, but it keeps the shoes looking fresher for longer.
There was a little discolouration of the green stitching. There's not a lot of it, so it's not the biggest issue, but you'll have to spend a lot of time getting these shoes pristine.
Keeping your heel in place is a super-strong cat tongue material. I had no issues with heel slip whatsoever. The Carbon Shield is another neat feature – it simply protects the top of your foot from the Boa laces, which can cause quite a bit of pain if they dig in. The shield works well and I had no discomfort.
The Boa dials here are quite large. They work perfectly, with good incremental tension adjustment, and are robust against mud, but they are quite tall – taller than Specialized's S-Works 6 XC shoes, which look a little sleeker to my mind.
At the lofty price of €349 (around £302), they've got some serious competition from the Lake MX237 SuperCross (£247) and the Giro Empire VR90 (£199). While these represent a very good performance shoe, I couldn't see myself parting with the extra cash over the Lakes. I also wanted a different colour option; grey and green isn't my thing and at this price, I'd like at least some choice.
Overall, these are great shoes when looked at from a performance angle. However, with my sensible head screwed on, I believe there are some equally lovely shoes for quite a bit less. And if grey and green just isn't your colour, you'll have to look elsewhere.
Brilliant shoes, but pricier than some equally brilliant rivals
road.cc test report
Make and model: Suplest Crosscountry Edge/3 Pro
Size tested: 42
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?
These cross-country shoes are some seriously high end offerings from Suplest. They are aimed at cross-country mountain biking, but they are good for so much more. The soles are brilliant – stiff but not harsh, which results in great comfort. I tested them in the muddy fields of cyclo-cross and was incredibly impressed by their ruggedness.
"Our mountainbike shoes are diverse: traction, outstanding power transmission and a perfect fit form, complete the shoe to a perfect companion, whether for a hard race or simply for a fun ride."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Suplest lists these features:
The anatomic WRAP tongue construction has been built to accommodate multiple foot shapes and widths. The construction allows a maximum foot hold and is comfortable at the same time.
Our Carbon Shield is a thin carbon layer, which spreads the pressure of the laces and offers a comfortable fit.
Boa Closure System, which provides smooth and even closure without pressure points.
Our Pro and Performance Shoes are equipped with SOLESTAR's footbeds, which are specifically made for cycling. No loss of power, highest comfort and maximum stability.
Robust everywhere. These stood up to all the abuse I could throw at them and still cleaned up to a good level.
Super-stiff soles that are comfy to run short distances in. What is this magic? The cat tongue heel grippers are also very effective.
The only issue here is that the green stitching stains, but on this type of shoe, I don't find it significant.
The Solestar insoles really help here. You can get different arch support, but my neutral arches were perfectly happy. I found there was plenty of wiggle room in the toe box.
My 42s were spot on. No tightness at all.
They're not superlight but the 827g weight for both shoes (42) with cleats and studs is perfectly acceptable.
With all that wiggle room and no pressure from the Boa laces thanks to the Carbon Shield, these were perfectly comfy for well over four hours.
Tough this one. While they are great shoes, they're expensive, and I'd struggle to choose these over the Lake MX237 SuperCross or the Giro Empire VR90.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Apart from the stitching they're super-easy to get adequately clean. I just pressure-washed them.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
For 'cross, they're great; they clear mud well and are super-stiff for hard efforts.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfortable and stiff. Suplest has nailed it.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The colourway. There's only one choice; for €349 I'd like some more options.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No, I'd go for the Lakes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Again, I'd recommend spending less.
Use this box to explain your score
These are very good shoes that are stiff, comfortable and robust, but the high price limits the score to 7; there are other shoes that do just the same, with more colour options, for less money.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Di2 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!
Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. Liam spends his time plodding his way through cyclocross races, very busy not winning. As an advocate for perfectly clean chains, he can be found cleaning his bike instead of training. A shop mechanic, Liam has many helpful skills, such as being able to identify 'cross tubs by the tread pattern alone. If you bump into him, he'll probably be eating.