These Suplest Streetracing Carbon road shoes put in a strong all-round performance although they lack the standout features of some other options at this price.
You might not know much about Suplest. The Swiss brand has only been around since 2007 and they've fairly recently got distribution through the Evans chain in the UK.
This is the top-end road shoe which is available with a ratchet upper closure (like wot we have) or for £179.99 with three Velcro straps – so you're paying an extra £45 for the ratchet version.
The uppers are distinctive. I'm used to looking down and seeing skinny, minimalist shoes. Well, as skinny and minimalist as size 46s ever get. These are noticeably more roomy than most across the forefoot. The toe box is high and the section right over the tips of your toes is rigid thanks to some clever materials jiggery pokery.
The uppers are made from 'organic grid' which is a tough microfibre material, the thickness varying around your foot. Suplest say the thicker areas offer higher reinforcement and the thinner areas increase comfort although you'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference in use.
Ventilation is provided by perforations in the forefoot and the padded tongue. I didn't find my feet stayed as cool as in shoes with large mesh panels but I'm not particularly bothered by that. If you do tend to get uncomfortably hot feet, maybe that'll be more of an issue for you.
The whole of the upper from the buckle forward is one piece so there are no seams to bother you, and padding around the heel keeps things comfy back there. The heel cup is quite narrow, especially compared to the fit up front, and I found that it held my foot securely in place without any unwanted lift.
The ratchet closure is pretty chunky so it's easy to tighten from the saddle although the button to loosen the strap is small and requires quite a lot of pressure compared to others I've used.
The outsole is carbon fibre with graphics to match the uppers. We always comment on sole stiffness in shoe reviews but it seems that there's rarely any point these days. The Suplest's soles, like those of all the other high-end models we've tested lately, are absolutely rigid; there's no flex whatsoever in any direction as far as we can discern.
Two vents, one under the toes and the other under the midfoot, provide some airing while heel and toe grippers – along with your cleat once you've bolted it in place – provide some protection for the sole and do a good job of stopping you slipping on wet Tarmac. The rear one is replaceable, which is a thoughtful feature to improve longevity. The sole is drilled for three-bolt cleats (there's no Speedplay-specific version) and a textured finish around the holes helps hold your cleat in place.
The EVA insoles are neat too. They're a little thicker and a touch more spongy than most – not much, but just a bit – and I found them really comfortable.
So, comfortable, stiff-soled and secure, these are good shoes. It's just that if I'm spending £225, I want shoes that are exceptional in some way – mega-light, super-supportive, mouldable for the ultimate in comfort... or whatever. There's no standout feature here. That said, they're strong across the board so they're still worth considering, particularly if you're after a bit of extra space in the forefoot.
Comfortable, stiff-soled, secure road shoes although lacking exceptional features you might expect at this price.
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Make and model: Suplest Streetracing Carbon road shoe
Size tested: Size 46, Red/White
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?
Here's the write up: "The Suplest Supzero Streetracing (Buckle) 2012 Road Shoe is Suplest's top-of-the-line shoe for road racers. From the carbon sole to its seamlessly manufactured upper, this model is tailored to performance.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Suplest says this about the upper, "Suplest uses a special micro fiber, which is called 'Organic Grid Micro Fiber', a light and comfortable material. This allows us to cleverly select areas that need a higher reinforcement to keep the foot stable, while other areas are thinner to increase overall comfort. The forefoot area is seamless to eliminate any unnecessary pressure zones."
And this about the sole: "The light carbon sole is an important part of the Ergo 360° concept. It has been engineered for performance cyclists who want a stiff sole without compromises. Our Ergo 360° concept guarantees maximum comfort and efficient power transfer. The sole has two air vents, offering airflow from underneath. For safe walking suplest added rubber inserts in the toe and heel area. The heel tread is replaceable."
Well put together - no worries on that front. The microfibre upper is reasonably tough and you can wipe it clean easily.
These are reasonably light but certainly not exceptionally light. The Giro Factors we reviewed in a size 45 were 510g the pair. These are 1 size larger and 200g heavier.
Comfy with plenty of space across the toe area, but you can get mouldable insoles and uppers on shoes at this price.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Solid all-round performance... just not mind-blowing for the price.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The super-stiff carbon soles.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The button to loosen the ratchet is really small and requires a lot of pressure from your finger.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? I'd probably go for something mouldable at this price.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? If they needed room across the forefoot.
Age: 41 Height: 190cm Weight: 75kg
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, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,
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.