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review

Adidas Velosamba COLD.RDY Cycling Shoes

7
£130.00

VERDICT:

7
10
An efficient and stylish pair of shoes that are great for cycling – but these shoes aren't made for walking
Warm
Great looks
Use of recycled materials
Effective reflective uppers
Too stiff for regular use off the bike
Weight: 
876g

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The Adidas Velosamba COLD.RDY Cycling Shoes are an interesting pair of casual footwear for urban use – but, to quote a football cliché, it's a bit of a game of two halves. They're warm, they absolutely look the part with Adidas's familiar three-stripe aesthetic and they're great when you're riding, but they're a little too stiff for regular use off the bike.

Our best cycling shoes buyer's guide rounds up our top footwear choices, though most are more explicitly road orientated than the Adidas Velosambas.

> Buy now: Adidas Velosamba COLD.RDY Cycling Shoes for £130 from Adidas

I am a bit of a religious wearer of Adidas Sambas – perhaps it's a throwback to Britpop or maybe I'm just too set in my ways to choose a different type of trainer. I was aware of Adidas's attempts at making a cycling version of its classic trainer – or 'Velo Samba' – in the past, and so with the release of the COLD.RDY version, I just had to try them out.

The first thing you notice is that they are clearly Adidas Sambas but with a slightly different shape. I'd say they actually look a little more like a skateboarding shoe, as they're wider than the non-cycling Samba and the soles are much thicker.

2023 Adidas Velosamba COLD.RDY Cycling Shoes - front.jpg

The reflectives are a great touch. The shoes have Adidas's classic black-with-white stripes look during the day, but when they're picked out by headlights they come to life – not only are the stripes and logo reflective, the apparently black uppers are also impressively reflective. With your feet moving when you're riding, these are extremely effective at increasing your night-time visibility.

2023 Adidas Velosamba COLD.RDY Cycling Shoes - reflective.jpg

The toe box is made from a much harder-wearing rubberised material rather than the suede used for constructing regular Sambas, which makes a lot of sense given the intended uses of the different shoes.

2023 Adidas Velosamba COLD.RDY Cycling Shoes - toe.jpg

As you'd expect from a training shoe-inspired design, Adidas has gone for regular laces, but with a loop to tuck laces under, to prevent them getting caught in your chain.

2023 Adidas Velosamba COLD.RDY Cycling Shoes - laces.jpg

What sets the Velosamba apart from the regular Samba is that these have additional insulation to protect your feet on colder rides – and it's the thicker outer material used for the insulation that gives them the look of skate shoes.

In terms of effectiveness they are undoubtedly warmer, I wore them down to about 3°C with a regular pair of sports socks and my feet never felt cold. If I wanted to put on some wool socks or similar I could have comfortably gone lower too if necessary.

That said, these shoes are not waterproof, so while I could use them in light drizzle, for heavier or more sustained rain I would choose something else.

The shoes can take a two-bolt SPD cleat, which sits in a cutout, and once the cleats were fitted I had no problems engaging or disengaging from the pedals.

2023 Adidas Velosamba COLD.RDY Cycling Shoes - sole toe.jpg

I used these with a set of Crankbrothers Eggbeaters and they worked very well, with walking not impacted by the cleats, which is an absolute necessity for shoes designed to be worn off the bike as well as on.

2023 Adidas Velosamba COLD.RDY Cycling Shoes - in step.jpg

On the bike they work very well, and offered a surprising level of stiffness, so they felt less like a trainer that has been adapted to cycling and more like a cycling shoe.

2023 Adidas Velosamba COLD.RDY Cycling Shoes - sole heel.jpg

However, although I was a big fan of these shoes when I was riding, they are clearly focused more on cycling than walking. This is because the needs of a more cycling-friendly design mean that the shoes are considerably stiffer than a training shoe, and there's very little flex in the sole.

2023 Adidas Velosamba COLD.RDY Cycling Shoes - heels.jpg

It's not like you're walking in a set of carbon soles, but a flat sole profile, combined with very little flex in the sole means they are uncomfortable to wear when you're walking for any length of time. For things like a quick dash to the shop or for a desk job you commute to, these are absolutely fine, but I would not want to ride somewhere in these to walk around a park or go trawling round the shops for hours [clarified, for Rendel Harris].

Value

The £130 price seems about right compared to other shoes on the market and the cost of other variants of the Samba.

Our sister site off.road.cc recently reviewed the £140 Five Ten Trailcross Clip-In shoes. These have the opposite qualities of the Velosambas – as a more off-road-focused design these have a more flexible sole and are better off the bike, but I'd argue they still fall into the the 'cycling trainer' category.

John raved about the £190 Quoc Chelsea, a Chelsea-style boot with an SPD-compatible sole. And though these aren't trainers, they offer the same kind of commuter aesthetic and seem a little easier to walk in – once you've broken them in.

Conclusion

I have mixed feelings about these shoes. They look great, work well off the bike and keep your feet nice and warm, and who doesn't like cosy feet?

The flip side of the shoes' stiff soles, which makes them so successful for cycling in, is that they struggle to work quite as effectively when you're off the bike. They are designed to be used as crossover shoes and although they're fine for riding to places where you're not going to be doing a huge amount of walking, that does limit their usefulness a little.

Verdict

An efficient and stylish pair of shoes that are great for cycling – but these shoes aren't made for walking

road.cc test report

Make and model: Adidas Velosamba COLD.RDY Cycling Shoes

Size tested: UK 7

Tell us what the product is for

Adidas says:

Keep up your bike commute when the weather turns cold. This insulated Velosamba cycling shoe extends your comfort zone in cold weather without compromising on iconic Samba style. It's designed with winter city riding and commuting in mind, and Adidas COLD.RDY seals in warmth. It's two-bolt cleat compatible, with a full-length reinforced midsole for efficient pedalling that still flexes for comfortable walking. A reflective logo and 3-Stripes details increase low-light visibility.

Made with a series of recycled materials, this upper features at least 50% recycled content. This product represents just one of our solutions to help end plastic waste.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Regular fit

Protective lace closure system

Textile upper with mesh overlay

Warm terry lining

Reflective details

Nylon and glass fibre composite plate

Synthetic outsole with two-bolt cleat compatibility

Upper contains a minimum of 50% recycled content

Product colour: Core Black/Cloud White/Silver Metallic

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

They are well made – and they feel like they would survive an explosion.

Rate the product for performance:
 
6/10

On the bike they are fantastic, but they are too stiff off it to be comfortable for regular use.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

They feel pretty bombproof, and I have no reason to believe they wouldn't last.

Rate the product for fit:
 
7/10
Rate the product for sizing:
 
8/10

About what I would expect, though Adidas does recommend sizing up by half a size.

Rate the product for weight:
 
6/10
Rate the product for comfort:
 
7/10

Difficult one to score – on the bike they're comfortable and warm, off the bike they are too stiff for extended use.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

There are few direct competitors to the Velosambas but the price feels about right, and is within a tenner of the Five Ten Trailcross Clip-Ins mentioned.

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

Washed them with a cloth a couple of times – no different to washing any other trainer.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

They're 50% great, but 50% could be improved – on the bike they are excellent, off the bike they are a bit too stiff for walking any distance.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The insulation – they're great for use in cold weather. And the impressive amount of reflectives.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The stiffness off the bike – they are not comfortable to walk in.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

We recently looked at the Five Ten Trailcross Clip-In shoe that are a more off-road focused design, but I would argue they still fall into the 'cycling trainer' category. The super-stylish Quoc Chelsea boots aren't trainers, but do offer the same kind of commuter aesthetic and also seem a little easier to walk in.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? No

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes – depending on how much they plan to walk in them.

Use this box to explain your overall score

On the bike they are excellent, but they are a bit too stiff to be comfortable for walks of any length when you're off it.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 35  Height: 6 ft  Weight:

I usually ride: CAAD13  My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo

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: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed,

George is the host of the road.cc podcast and has been writing for road.cc since 2014. He has reviewed everything from a saddle with a shark fin through to a set of glasses with a HUD and everything in between. 

Although, ironically, spending more time writing and talking about cycling than on the bike nowadays, he still manages to do a couple of decent rides every week on his ever changing number of bikes.

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3 comments

Avatar
Steve K | 6 months ago
0 likes

I've got a pair of the original velosambas, and I find them too stiff for regular off bike wearing.

Avatar
Rendel Harris | 6 months ago
2 likes
Quote:

For things like a trip to the shops or for a desk job you commute to, then these are absolutely fine, but I would not want to ride somewhere in these to walk around a park or go shopping.

So they're okay for a trip to the shops but not for shopping?

Avatar
HollisJ replied to Rendel Harris | 6 months ago
0 likes

Unless I'm looking at bikes, a trip to the shops is my limit of shopping endurance.

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