Curiously marketed as an mtb trainer shoe, on the surface Lake’s MX90 look pretty much like any other SPD leisure shoe with all the virtues of civilian styling and day long comfort and to their credit perform moderately paced touring leisure duties very well. However, a wealth of technology and unexpected materials employed in their manufacture might give them the edge.
Take the uppers for instance, not your average cheap suede, they’re actually made for Lake from K-lite Kangaroo hide, claimed to be the lightest, strongest and most durable of hides. This is impregnated with a host of other treatments designed to strengthen and protect from abrasion and water damage. Even the mesh is constructed to maintain a constant skin temperature.
Over the years, I’ve come to treat these claims with a scepticism usually reserved for washing powders and even with good quality socks and appropriate hygiene, my feet can usually turn nice pumps into biological weapons in a matter of six months. Fit is slightly narrower than their looks suggest and you’ll need a size up from your street trainers too, although the toe box is deceptively generous. The soft, natural rubber sole is great for walking in but doesn’t detract from riding prowess either.
For bowling along at moderate paces-say between 15 and 20mph they’re perfect if you do take them off-road they offer surprisingly good grip on dry trails too without clogging with mud or sand in the way more aggressive designs can. Clever lace tidies keep them out of harms reach and complete the clean look. Riding in temperatures nearing the mid 70’s sees feet turn warm but not uncomfortably so and in the short term they do indeed offer good odour control. Uppers have resisted accidental dips in the North sea, sand and other light debris, needing only a post-ride wipe-over with a jey cloth, although they’re too broad for overshoes so need stuffing with newspaper after a soaking and allowed to dry naturally.
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Make and model: Lake MX90 leisure shoe
Size tested: 44
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?
The Lake MX90 are designed primarily as a leisure mtb shoe but don't let that put you off, they're a very comfortable and well suited to commuting, leisurely touring and general riding.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Uppers are made from K-lite Kangaroo hide, claimed to be the lightest and proportionally most durable hides impregnated with other technical treatments to protect it against abrasion and water damage. Natural rubber sole is cut for SPDs while clever lace lock system is both tidy and practical.
Certainly well made.
Quality of construction and high grade materials should see these retain their good looks in the long term.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
For general, moderately paced riding through town or trail, they won't disappoint, offering day long comfort coupled with superior odour control. Quality uppers should retain their smart looks even through milder, wetter rides, although in keeping with the breed, they're too wide to entertain overshoes.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Styling, good fit and day long comfort.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 35 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
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)