Lake's top end CX402 shoes combine a super-stiff, custom mouldable carbon sole with a luxurious kangaroo leather upper. The two unidirectional Boa dials clamp the foot well but can be frustrating if you overtighten them.
There are many things that can annoy you on a ride. But there are only a few things that can completely ruin an outing. If you've ever had shoe issues, you'll know what I mean. Pressure points that stab your foot during each turn of the pedals. It's the stuff of nightmares. Having custom-moulded shoes has been a bit of a revelation to me. And its one that I never knew I needed.
Lake's CX402 shoes have been around for a few years now. Along with the likes of Bont, Lake offers custom-moulded shoes for riders with odd feet and simply those who want the best comfort and performance.
The full-carbon fibre sole and heel cup is what really makes these shoes stand out. The first thing to mention is that they are super-stiff. I couldn't detect even a hint of flex. With all that stiffness can come great discomfort, but I've happily not had any issues with vibration or any discomfort whatsoever.
Lake has also made the heel cup out of carbon, but it is heat mouldable. This adds to both the security of the shoe and also the comfort. Heating the shoes can be done at a Lake dealer, or at home. Lake strongly suggests having the initial fitting done by a dealer, leaving you to make any tweaks at home.
Taking my test pair out on the bike, I found that the outer part my right shoe was just a little tight, so I popped them in the oven at 90°C for 3 minutes. This left them warm, but not too hot to handle. The process is actually quite easy, although Lake stresses that you shouldn't tighten the Boa dials too much as the glue in other parts of the shoe may be weakened.
I've been testing the 3-bolt version, but there's a Speedplay specific 4-bolt version, making adapters unnecessary. Lake has also included a replaceable heel strike pad. I'm glad it did, as mine, especially the left, are starting to look rather worn after two months of daily use.
Lake has used a wonderfully supple kangaroo leather for the upper. While this isn't the lightest material, it is brilliant at moulding to the shape of your foot. After only few short rides, I noticed the upper had shaped itself nicely. It's also very strong, helping to prevent any loss of power during the pull phase of your pedal stroke.
One slight downside of the leather upper is that where it moulds to the foot, it has folded very slightly. It's purely aesthetic, but it does compromise the look a little.
There are also mech sections and perforations to help with cooling. With the weather being less than tropical lately, I've had no issues with overheating. That cold air does highlight rather clearly how well air is getting through to your foot.
As problems go, this one is a small one. The two Boa L5 dials on each shoe are unidirectional in their micro-adjustment. You can tighten them in tiny increments, which is great, but if you go too far, you can't micro-adjust backwards. That means that small changes on the bike can be a little tricky, especially in overshoes.
The dials and laces do hold very securely, and having two separate lacing systems gives the flexibility to tighten the toe section a little more than the upper section.
The price of these shoes will put many people off. They are £370, which is slightly more expensive than the Bont Vaypor+ at £350. It's only £20 more, for which you get a very similar shoe, and the Bonts feature a dual-directional dial. Both have kangaroo leather uppers, super-stiff carbon soles and the ability to be custom moulded.
Bont also produces the Riot, an 'entry-level' custom mouldable shoe for £150. They are less luxurious, but at £220 cheaper, they represent a significant saving.
In terms of pure value for money, you are getting a fantastic pair of cycling shoes that will most likely fit your feet better than a standard shoe. I have certainly found that, with a few remoulding sessions, I've got a shoe that fits perfectly. If you have this sort of money to invest in shoes, I'd say it's really worth getting ones you can customise.
At £370, the Lake CX402 shoes represent a significant investment. For people who have suffered foot pain or just want the ultimate performance that custom moulding gives, these are possibly the most luxurious option.
Custom fit, amazing performance and beautiful construction come at a price
road.cc test report
Make and model: Lake CX402 Road Cycling shoes
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?
From Lake: "CX/TX RACE Last – Featuring a slightly narrower toe box & tighter heel than the Competition last and less overall volume than the Sport last. Designed for very high-cadence riding & higher pressure and a slimmer fit."
They want to keep your heel firmly in the shoe and they've achieved that.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Outsole: Custom Fit Carbon Fiber sole. Men's regular width available in a 3-hole or Speedplay specific cleat pattern for use without adapters. Replaceable heel strike pad.
Upper: Klite Kangaroo leather & mesh upper with Perforated Kangaroo leather lining.
Closure: Dual Side mounted Push/Pull BOA L5 lacing system with releasable lace guides.
The sole is stiff, and the carbon bucket ankle looks really nice. The stitching is neat and the whole shoe looks very well finished.
I couldn't feel any flex, and they didn't let my ankle slip at all.
I've seen a few scratches on the carbon and leather, but that's cosmetic. The important stuff, the glue, carbon and stitching, is all perfect,
They're custom carbon shoes. If they don't fit eventually, you've probably got very strange feet.
Mine were as I would expect. There's also great arch support.
Not the lightest, by far. But they're not designed to be. For the materials, these are okay.
They take a few moulds to get right, but you'll be happy you took the time.
Okay, they're £370, but you do get the best materials.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
The half black, half white design is easy to clean. Even in the depths of winter.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Superbly. The heel is fixed into the shoe giving an amazing feel of power transfer.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The fit takes a few tries to get spot on, but once you get it, it's just amazing.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The price. And the leather does get little folds. I'd also expect a dual directional Boa dial.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
These are super-luxury. They are super-stiff, comfy and look great. But that price tag limits their score.
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.