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The DMT KR1 Road shoes are stiff, well-ventilated, lightweight carbon race shoes with a knitted upper that's super-comfortable, though the single Boa dial did create some retention pressure points. The weight isn't as low as some knit shoes, but the price isn't as high either...
If you're looking for a flashy race shoe with excellent ventilation, DMT's KR1s will serve you well. I was massively impressed by the sock-like fit that the knit construction gives you, but while foot retention on the whole is okay, I'd have liked an extra Boa dial to give better pressure distribution around the forefoot.
The sole is classically Italian, with a flamboyant shape that supports the arch and wraps the heel. I found it to be a great balance of stiffness for racing, and comfort for more general riding. For full-gas race efforts, it's perfectly stiff but this doesn't translate into a harsh ride when out for on a leisurely spin.
There is just one ventilation port at the front of the sole, but this does a good job of pulling air under the foot. At the heel, you get a replaceable rubber bumper, a nice touch that puts the Shimano S-Phyre shoes to shame.
The knitted upper is great where it is exposed, but I wonder whether DMT was worried about supporting the top of the foot during the pull-up phase of the pedal stroke, because apart from the top of the toe box, centre of the top of the foot and around the ankle hem, everything is covered in a silicone-like coating that doesn't allow the knit structure to flex as much as it could. The upper is also criss-crossed with supportive ribs that anchor to the Boa lace anchor points.
It's a bit of a shame as I'd have liked the breathability of the knit fabric and the suppleness to have been unobstructed. That said, on warmer rides I could really feel the air rushing through the shoes, so it doesn't seem to have compromised ventilation too much.
While the fit around the foot is so much nicer than any other cycling shoe I've worn, the knit upper does result in some foot movement which I reckon could be solved with a second Boa dial for the forefoot.
The single Boa holds the top of the foot securely, but the pressure there from the wires is more noticeable than on the S-Phyres or Fizik shoes that I've worn. On the bike, I can't say it was overly noticeable, but ratchet the dials down a bit for a sprint or big effort and the pressure becomes acutely centred on the central upper part of the foot. It's something that Fizik got right with the Infinito R1 Knit; it stuck with a beefier design here and, as a result, there were no issues.
The knit fabric extends quite high up the ankle but this caused no issues apart from making the shoes slightly more difficult to get on. Aesthetically, it's something you'll either love or hate. I love it. Styling generally is quite Italian; I would have preferred a plainer design that highlighted the knit fabric more.
Sizing is good and there is plenty of space in the toe box. As a result, these are much more comfortable than a lot of the Italian shoe brands I've tried, which tend to be rather cramped in the toe box. I actually sized down from my usual 42 to a 41.5, though it's not unusual for me to be between sizes.
Although expensive at £310, the DMT KR1s are much cheaper than some: the Specialized S-Works Exos, for example, are £450, though they are much lighter at just 340g for the pair. A better comparison, in my eyes, are Fizik's Infinito R1 Knits. They're £349.99 and slightly heavier at 679g (size EU46), but they do feature a better retention system.
Are the DMT KR1s worth the money? They're very well vented, stiff, look brilliant, and durability seems to be good – I've had no pulled threads in the upper or splits where it is attached to the carbon sole. But for a race shoe, I feel the foot should be more stable in the shoe; the movement I found here was most noticeable during hard efforts – sort this and these shoes would be very good. For me, the single Boa is just not as good as a double Boa system. I'd also prefer a stronger tongue for better pressure distribution as the Boa laces dig in slightly when you tighten the dial for big efforts.
Otherwise, the carbon sole is brilliant and the fit generally is very comfortable. Using a knit for the upper construction does have a few drawbacks, but the sock-like fit is great.
Stylish race shoes but let down by the retention setup
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road.cc test report
Make and model: DMT KR1 Road Shoes
Size tested: 42
Tell us what the product is for
DTM says: "The shoe that started the Engineered Knit revolution.
"Developed and worn by Elia Viviani to dozens of victories. Incredible comfort that will forever change how you think about cycling shoes. Light, breathable, proprietary Engineered Knit construction eliminates pressure points, fits like a glove, is super breathable and thanks to the super supportive anatomic carbon outsole provides race-winning energy transfer."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Full Engineered 3D knit upper
Variable thickness and knit structures for ultimate comfort
Boa® Fit System with single IP1 dial
Anatomic Carbon outsole
8mm front-rear cleat adjustability
Reflective accents on Black colorway
The knit fabric provides a sock-like fit, but an extra Boa dial would give better pressure distribution around the forefoot.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
The black is a sensible colour choice, though you might need to get your Vanish soap and nail brush out occasionally.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
For fast road riding and racing the shoes performed well, delivering power to the pedals well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The knit fabric provides such a comfortable sock-like fit. It's fabulous.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The retention system as a whole. Some reinforcement is needed to spread pressure better across the top of the foot and a second dial would be very welcome to tune the fit at the forefoot.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
There are many cheaper shoes, but comparing like with like, Fizik's Infinito R1 Knit shoes are £349.99. And you can pay a lot more: if you've got a huge wad of cash to burn, you can buy the S-Works Exos shoes for £450.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Not until the retention issues are addressed.
Use this box to explain your overall score
That knit fabric is lovely, but the tongue needs reinforcement to cope better with the Boa wire pressure. A second dial would close the toe box properly. At the moment they're good, but could be better.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Di2 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days 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. After joining the road.cc staff in 2016 as a reviewer, Liam quickly started writing feature articles and news pieces. After a little time living in Canada, where he spent most of his time eating poutine, Liam returned with the launch of DealClincher, taking over the Editor role at the start of 2018. At the weekend, Liam can be found racing on the road both in the UK and abroad, though he prefers the muddy fields of cyclocross. To date, his biggest race win is to the front of the cafe queue.