Oh DZR Strasse, what a can of worms you have opened! Previously, wearing SPD-compatible shoes in town was easy. You simply swallowed your pride and resigned yourself to looking like a bike geek. The only question was, what flavour - clumpy commuter shoes, or more purposeful Shimanos, Specialized, Northwaves or Sidis?
Yet there's always been a market for an SPD trainer, and I've owned several of the previous attempts. Was this particular one better than my beloved, battered pair of Adidas?
The short answer is yes - albeit with the caveat that these are at the 'trainers' end of the 'trainers to bike shoes' scale. These, perhaps like the Chromes
Road.cc also tested recently, change the game somewhat. They're well built and have hard-wearing, bike-friendly features, such as the rubber scuff pad around the toes and the reflective detailing. DZR claim to have moved the flex point of the sole further forward to give the shoe a natural gait, while retaining some stiffness, and this may well be true. They are, nevertheless, definitely trainers. The soles are chunky and durable (as I realised after staring at them for a prolonged period in close up, cutting out the panel to reveal the cleat fitting), but, to be honest, they're not that stiff, but that's not really a criticism. Once you mount the cleats, on a standard two-bolt fitting, you can walk naturally and you rarely if ever get metal-scrape on the floor (a problem caused by thin soles exposing the cleat - which is often inevitable, given that manufacturers have to allow cleat clearance for many different types of pedal). Despite their weight, I often forgot they were SPD shoes while I was wearing them around town. The high heel cup tilted my foot forward a bit, but I soon got used to that.
Meanwhile, when you're on the bike they work well. Having an SPD fitting, even in a trainer, is miles, miles better and more efficient than wearing a stiff-soled trainer (say a Vans) and riding with clips and straps. The mid-height boot had ample laces to hold the foot snugly, and the only on-bike complaint I had was that the laces, unless tucked in, were in danger of flapping into the chain.
So what's the problem? Well, now it's proven possible to make a good SPD trainer, style comes into play. If I were choosing a pair of trainers, would I choose these? I'm not so sure. Although the herringbone and leather were quality, the styling wasn't quite 'me', a bit too skate-y. Don't get me wrong - this is a good problem to have. If you want to be nippy around town and yet in and out of shops and pubs without clunking obviously, then these work, and there's several styles in the range to choose from.
The fit, by the way, seemed normal. Order your normal size, if buying online, and you shouldn't have any surprises.
Great. Looks like a trainer, performs decently as an SPD shoe. But good performance in both modes leaves you with a new problem - do you like the styling?
road.cc test report
Make and model: DZR Strasse shoe
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?
Says the website:
"With a mix of full grain leather and a classic herringbone fabric, the Strasse hearkens to an early time of pocket watches and Fedoras. Classic profile in a midtop for added ankle support and protection."
Yup, it's a fairly classic looking sneaker, in nice materials.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Again, Mr Website tells me:
Variable-flex nylon inner shank
Performance mapped flex for mobility
Strategic stiffness for power transfer
600 luminosity reflective badge
Stitching is good, rubber is heavy duty, leather and fabric look high quality.
Well, it's not a snug fit like a Sidi and the power transfer isn't great, like a sports shoe's would be. But that's why you bought it, eh?
I've had them a month and they still looks new. Good scuff panels. Slight worry about the laces getting caught up in the chain.
Each shoe a whopping 497g, with cleats - but, again, that's hardly the point, is it?
Wore in like a normal high-top trainer, ie, with a little rubbing. A little heavy...
Seem competitively priced in their market.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
No complaints at all. Comfy and barely any cleat-scrape when walking. Decent performance on the bike.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
I usually ride: Cinelli Strato road or fixed commuter hack. My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,