Mavic's Cosmic Boa SPD is a fantastic leisure, commuting and touring shoe that's efficient in the saddle and easy to live with out of it. Comfort is excellent, too, with only the wide fit letting the side down slightly, for me.
As a bike snob – and somebody who desperately needs to eke the last ounce of effort from every pedal stroke – my first question upon being presented with a new pair of cycling shoes is: does it have a carbon sole? The answer, in the case of the Mavic Cosmic Boas, is: sort of, but not really.
The sole here is a composite concoction, made from a mixture of fibreglass and carbon. Consequently, it doesn't have quite the unfiltered, instant attack of carbon-soled shoes but, then, the Cosmic Boa SPD is not a race shoe. For leisure, touring or commuting purposes, it's certainly rigid enough and power transfer feels better than a typical nylon sole.
Another difference with more performance-orientated footwear is width. If anything, cycling shoes tend to be a little bit on the narrow side but the Cosmic Boas are notable for their substantial girth, especially in the toe box. These felt like wide shoes from the off (for the record, I don't have unduly narrow feet) and on terra firma there was even a bit of difficulty adjusting the Boa closure system enough to make them feel ultra secure.
That could also be due to just one Boa dial being used to tighten the full length of the shoe. Perhaps, as with rivals products, Mavic should think about using a Velcro strap at the bottom or perhaps two Boas just to make things feel slightly more firmly fitted.
In the saddle, though, they're very good. Comfort is superb, with the Ortholite insole doing a fantastic job of cushioning. Despite my hesitations about shoe width – and some concerns that my feet might move about within them – my feet actually stayed resolutely in place with no slippage or rubbing. The highest compliment I can give the Cosmic Boas is that, from the first ride, I completely forgot I was wearing new shoes.
A particular bonus for people who aren't dedicated to spending absolutely every second in the saddle is the on-foot grip. Although the Mavics only use a horseshoe of under-sole rubber at the toe and a smaller amount at the heel, thanks to the anti-slip tread it's more than enough to let you walk without skittering about like a duckling on ice.
As the name suggests, this model will only accept SPD cleats – speed demons using dedicated road cleats need look elsewhere (the non-SPD version perhaps) – but that's thoroughly in-keeping with its general design and demeanour. As an easy-to-live-with cleated road shoe, it's ideal.
There are actually quite a few decent all-purpose cycling shoes around at the moment, even if they tend to be marketed more as off-road kit rather than practical road footwear. Bontrager's Forays are officially gravel shoes but actually share a lot of the Mavics' qualities, including being a bit wide, for a bit less (£129.99).
In this company, the £149 Mavics look like a good deal, particularly as all these other shoes use a nylon sole with nary even a whiff of carbon. The Mavics are lighter than all of them, too.
In the Mavic Cosmic Boa SPD, what we have is very much in keeping with a traditional touring shoe: a dedicated road bike shoe with specific extra features to enhance comfort and permit a spot of walking. To that end, if you want to make as few performance compromises as possible in the name of practicality, these are a really fine choice.
Excellent touring or commuting shoe with stiffness, comfort and off-bike grip, just be aware they're on the wide side
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Mavic Cosmic Boa SPD shoe
Size tested: 45
Tell us what the product is for
This is a cycling shoe designed for commuting, touring and any occasion where you might need to be able to walk without slipping on exposed cleats. Mavic says: "Perfect for touring or other adventures where you may spend time off the bike, this shoe combines the comfort, fit and efficiency of our Boa closure with SPD cleats for walkability."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
BOA® Fit System on top of the foot
Energy Carbon Composite outsole
Rubber outsole tread
Compatible with all SPD pedals
Index Energy Transfer: 80
Not quite as efficient as full carbon outsoles, but certainly good enough for non-competitive riding.
So far, so good. No signs of undue wear.
Quite a wide shoe, which didn't pose a problem in use, but I would have preferred something slightly narrower.
Length-wise: fine. Width, especially in the toe box: just a bit too big for me.
Not a featherweight shoe, but fairly light compared to others with similar abilities.
Bontrager Forays are a little less at £129.99. For £169.99 there are the more mountain bikey Shimano MT7s, and for even more, at £179.99, there are the beautiful touring and commuting-friendly Giro Republic LX Rs. All those shoes feature a nylon sole rather than the Mavics' fibreglass/carbon sole, and the Mavics are cheaper and lighter than all of them.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Quick wipe down with a wet cloth seems to do the trick.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well. They provide very decent pedalling performance along with superb comfort.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfort – they're not quite like a pair of old slippers, but close.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The fit and tightening system – I would much prefer a more secure, cosseting closure.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
As serious commuting or touring shoes, these are excellent. The carbon-infused sole is rigid enough for efficient pedalling, the inside with its Ortholite insole is supremely comfortable, walking about is possible with some measure of grip, and weight and price are really rather impressive. Their only downside is that the wide fit and single Boa closure make it tricky to feel fully tightly enclosed. However, if you've got wide feet, you might find your personal score is more like a 9 or 10.
About the tester
I usually ride: Islabikes Beinn 29 My best bike is: 25-year-old Dawes Galaxy
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: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb, Leisure