These Mavic Zxellium performance shoes are comfy, mega-stiff and very, very light – our size 10.5s (UK) weighed in at just 622g the pair. We’ve said it before and we’ll doubtless say it again, Mavic make some great shoes, and these yellow perils feel like a favourite pair of slippers as soon as you put them on.
The Energy full-carbon outsole is extremely lightweight and just 5.5mm thick, so the stack height above your pedal is noticeably lower than usual. It’s also perfectly rigid with no slop at all when you put the power in – fantastic.
The uppers are lightweight and airy mesh panels within a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) framework. There’s no discernible stretch when you pull your foot upwards and there are few seams to irritate because everything, including the tough toecap, is bonded rather than stitched into place.
The Zxelliums feel so soft when you put them on that you expect them to flop about all over the place, but not a bit of it. Your feet stay firmly in position thanks to a lightweight carbon heel counter and three adjustable straps. The lower two are simple Velcro pull-tabs while the broad upper one is an easily-tightened lightweight ratchet, although it’s not easy to loosen on the fly. There’s loads of padding on the wide, integrated tongue and around the ankle while a three-density insole with elastomer inserts under the cleat and heel absorbs vibration well.
Although these look a lot like Adidas Adistars from a while ago, they’re a little broader with a noticeably roomier toe box. They’re still pretty narrow compared to some brands, but not excessively so. As ever with shoes, it's best if you can try before you buy.
These really are excellent, providing everything you want in a performance shoe – stiffness, comfort and ventilation without too much weight. We’re not down with the super-yellow colour scheme, to be honest. Just how yellow these are doesn’t really come across in the pics – jack the brightness setting of your computer up to 11 and you might get some idea. But anyway, that’s just a matter of taste. They’re available in white too.
The Zxelliums are expensive, though – there's no getting around that. And the very slightly lighter Zxellium Ultimates are £60 more. This puts them on a level with top-end Sidis, for example. And you can get shoes with mouldable insoles and uppers considerably cheaper than these. Are they worth it? Well, value is a definite weakness but for all that comfort we'd still be tempted.
Incredibly comfy performance shoes that are very light and very stiff-soled too
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Make and model: Mavic Zxellium road shoe
Size tested: YELLOW
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, despite the hefty price
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 36 Height: 184cm Weight: 74kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.