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The Lake CX175 shoes are some of the cheapest on the market with the dial-operated BOA closure system. There are a few minor compromises elsewhere but the £119.99 rrp makes them a very interesting proposition.
As a long term user of carbon-soled shoes I had a couple of reservations about the fiberglass/nylon soles on the Lake CX175s. Other non-carbon shoes I've used have suffered with flex when putting the power down accelerating, climbing and the like but the CX175s are impressively stiff with the just slightest feeling of movement when you're really putting the hammer down.
The Competition last that gives the CX175s their shape is designed for 'optimal power transfer and comfort' which it does by putting the foot in a position that allows the energy to be focussed on the spindle – Lake's words, not mine. There is quite a deep profile under the ball of the feet/cleat area which would clarify Lake's technical info while the actual arch sits a bit higher than normal. In use this does mean that the foot feels as if it is being tipped ever so slightly forward allowing you to really push down on the pedals while also spreading the load.
The CX175s are drilled for three-hole cleat fixings, such as Look, SPD-SL and so on. Although Lake offer Speedplay-specific soles on some of their range you'll have to use the adapters on this model.
It's nice to see a leather upper at this price. There is no mention of kangaroo, yak or wombat skin so I reckon it's safe to assume it's just the bog standard bovine variety. It is a split leather with a PU coating added to improve durability by reducing stretch and increasing water resistance. They did seem to shrug off road spray pretty well and a quick wipe over sees them clean up easily.
The toebox is well vented and some long rides just before summer disappeared shows that are few issues with overheating. Single figures are going to require some form of shoe covering to keep your little piggies warm.
When it comes to fit you need a little bit of give in the upper and that's what you get here; enough to give your toes a wiggle without any slop around the foot. The high heel cup keeps the rear of your foot in place as you pull up and there were no signs of Achilles tendon irritation. The size range is good starting: 39 to 48.5 including half sizes plus there is also a wide fitting option in 39.5 to 46.5. There is a woman's specific model too in sizes 36 to 43 with half sizes 37.5 to 42.5.
The crowning glory though is the BOA system. It's amazing how much tweakability the dial provides. I've never had issues with hot points or anything with straps or buckles but the BOA system does feel hugely comfortable and secure with consistent, even pressure over the top of your foot. It's quick and easy to adjust on the fly as well even with gloves on.
On the whole then the CX175s score very highly. The only initial concern I had was with the nylon sole but that was completely unfounded as the stiffness was very good, not quite as rigid as a carbon sole but minimal difference. The pliable upper and BOA system creates a very snug fit which is also hugely comfortable. Above all that though they look good whether you go for the white or black versions and a BOA system at this price is a big bonus.
Smart-looking comfortable shoes with decent stiffness levels. BOA retention is a bonus at this price.
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Make and model: Lake CX175 Road shoe
Size tested: Size 45
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 CX175 is an entry level road shoe which is availiable in a huge range of sizes. Lake have used a lot of technology from their more expensive models to make sure they perform as well as they can for the budget.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Upper: Action Leather Upper: Breathable, Durable & Form fitting. Air-mesh: Breathable & Abrasion resistant.
Outsole: Fiberglass-injected Hi-Impact Nylon outsole. Outsole available for 3-hole.
Lining: Air-mesh: Breathable & Wicking.
Closure: BOA technology closure system. Micro-adjustable closure that equalizes pressure. In combination with Lake's Patent Pending heel securing sole system the BOA closure allows the foot to be secure and comfortable without the need to over-tighten the shoe.
Color: Pearl White, Pearl Black
Sizes: Men's, Men's Wide, Woman's specific (M 39-48:50, 39.5-46.5 ; W 36-43, 37.5-42.5)
Last: Competition Last: The Competition last is specifically shaped for optimal power transfer and comfort. Like the CFC race last, the Competition last puts the foot in a position that allows the energy to be focused to the spindle but also offers more room for the forefoot to expand allowing for a comfortable fit for extreme long distance riding.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The Lakes are decent quality both in terms of performance and comfort.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The BOA system.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing really stands out but even though the difference is very minimal I'd still prefer a carbon sole.
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: 180cm Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: Ribble Winter Trainer for commuting, Genesis Flyer My best bike is: Sarto Rovigo
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!