The B'Twin 500 road cycling shoes are designed for regular road riding and entry level racers. They hit the mark nicely when long, steady miles or competitive stuff's involved, it's just a shame they don't offer a road-specific, recessed cleat sibling for generic club/touring duties.
As the price would suggest, the materials are tried and tested, rather than particularly exotic but they're made in Italy to a decent standard and come complete with the brand's two year warranty. The rigid outer sole is a polyamide/thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) 60/40% mix. These are drilled for Look Delta, Keo and Shimano SPD-SL cleats.
Uppers are good old PVC, and they're durable and relatively low maintenance. Our white and red samples sullied very quickly, especially around the toe box, but scrubbed up nicely, given a quick shot of bike wash and tickled with a medium stiff brush. They also come in black, which might be a little conservative but lowers maintenance and complements pretty much everything.
The B'Twin 500s are available in a pretty comprehensive 3-11 size range. The shape is longer and narrower than usual, so rather than my default of size 44 for cycling shoes, I took a gamble on the 43 ( UK size 8.5). To my relief it paid off. The Velcro closures allow some closer tailoring and the toe box proved broader than it looks from side-on pics.
Other riders have commented on this, suggesting the material will mould/relax slightly in this region during initial rides and ours followed suit. On balance and parting with my own money, I'd still try first rather than simply clicking to cart.
While weight and power transfer could never be compared with top drawer carbon composite soles, within a matter of minutes I had forgotten their budget price tag and concentrated on enjoying the ride. The snug fit and heel cup not only offers excellent efficiency but better support, which becomes particularly apparent as the hours and miles whiz by.
There's no hint of hot spots or similar discomfort either. Somewhat predictably, my feet became clammier, when the temperatures climbed into the high 60s and wearing bog standard road socks. Don't skimp, go for higher end, ideally Merino.
Being as synthetics don't breathe particularly efficiently, narrow mesh panels adorn the toe boxes for improved airflow.
Despite some initial doubts, the mesh facilitates reasonable airflow, while resisting light to moderately showery rain with comparable finesse. In my book this strikes a sensible compromise for year round use, although overshoes are a must for more persistent rain.
When all's said and done, there's no escaping the old adage that you only get what you pay for. However, Decathlon's purchase power means these should be high on the list of newbies, aspiring racers or riders just wanting a budget set of shoes for training.
Nice fitting entry level road shoes with decent performance although worth trying for size first
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road.cc test report
Make and model: B'Twin 500 Road Cycling Shoes
Size tested: Size 9.5, White/Red
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?
"Great value and high quality Italian made road cycling shoes. Fully redesigned, the b'Twin 500 range offers great energy transfer when pedaling thanks to the stiff nylon outsole, three secure rip-tab fastenings and a preformed heel cap for optimal fit and comfort. This model is Shimano SPD-SL and Look Keo cleat compatible and is available in various colours. This lightweight b'Twin road model is the perfect shoe for regular road cycling or for starting out in competitive cycling. The black model is available in a wider range of sizes: 3 -> 11"
No quibble here. Does exactly what it says in the blurb.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Stiff nylon sole for more efficient pedalling.
A preformed heel cap, 3 rip-tab fasteners, shoe volume designed for cycling
Weight: 310 g in size 8.
Seems well made for the money-two year guarantee offers further peace of mind.
Very good, easily on par with, if not superior to bigger brands' budget models.
Seem relatively rugged, although black uppers would be my preferred option.
Snug fit that feels great. However, though the uppers relax slightly given a few rides, it's worth trying a pair for size first, rather than going the click-to-cart route online.
Quite accurate, though I was surprised to find the 9.5 Cinderella perfect.
Generally excellent, allowing for the fact synthetics don't breathe particularly well, so decent merino socks are a wise choice, especially when temperatures climb.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Somewhat predictably, white/red sullied very quickly. However, scrubs up surprisingly well, given a quick blast of bike wash and tickled clean with a medium-firm brush.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, B'Twin 500 road cycling shoes are an excellent starter/budget conscious training shoe thanks to the combination of snug, supportive fit and decent power transfer. Ventilation is good, rather than great (I'd stick with Merino socks, especially during the summer months) but arguably welcome during the depths of winter. Similarly PVC uppers and TPU soles may lack the pizzazz of more sophisticated composites, yet are easy to care for and a two-year warrantee should offer further peace of mind.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Snug fit, surprisingly efficient power transfer.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing given the design brief, although synthetic materials and moderate ventilation have their limits when temperatures climb beyond the mid 20s.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? If there was a road cum tour version with recessed SPD cleats, definitely.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? As an entry level road/shoe or budget second/training set, yes.
Use this box to explain your score
Cheap but very cheerful starter/training shoes but modest ventilation is a mixed blessing and worth trying for size first.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)