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The Pearson x Lake Rough 'n Ready Carbon Gravel Shoes are supremely comfortable, feature-packed performance shoes at a high yet competitive price. They're comfortable enough to wear all day, don't shy away from off-the-bike pushing or café-strolling, and come with a lifetime warranty on the top-spec multi-release Boa laces. Very highly recommended.
In collaboration with US brand Lake, Pearson, a small UK outfit, has delivered a product at the pinnacle of technology and performance. The Rough 'n Readys (hereafter 'RnR's') are well thought-through for all-day gravel/touring/hike-a-bike use, whilst still retaining premium performance aspects such as a full carbon sole.
The moment I first popped the R'n R shoes on in the kitchen, I knew we would be friends. Over a month's gravelling, clambering, and the five-hour closed-road Etape Caledonia, my feet were nothing but happy and regular micro-adjustments of the Boas became second nature. They made a two-day, 100 mile bikepacking escape a breeze, despite ten hours of gravel, 15% climbs and screaming descents.
In fact, on arrival at camp I didn't even bother with the usual swap to the All-Terrain Crocs (yes, they're definitely A Thing). The fact that after a heavy day on the pedals I was more than happy to continue kicking about in the Pearson's for an hour before bedtime speaks volumes. The Syksól insole is fairly thin but has anatomical mouldings, and again, my feet have never been happier.
Coming into a Scottish winter I went for a 47 (two sizes up on my standard fit) to allow for thick waterproof socks, as the RnR's aren't waterproof themselves.
The dual Boas allow near-infinite micro-adjustment of tension on and off the bike, meaning my feet always felt happy even on rides over five hours – including when riding, walking or scrabbling over ladders or fences.
These are the Boa IP1 dials, which both tighten and loosen in micro-increments, as well as fully releasing when pulled up. And if the laces ever fail, Pearson / Boa will repair or replace them, no questions asked.
The reasonably aggressive 'real rubber' sole has solid lugs either side of the cleat, across the area where you naturally roll your foot when walking – meaning that on hard surfaces there's a lot of rubber in contact.
Critically, the cleat is recessed to ensure it's not a slip hazard or source of clackety-clack annoyance to those around you.
There's a guide in the box to help you set the cleat's inset correctly. Bog standard Shimano SH-56 cleats work just fine without spacers, but if you're using 'spring binder' cleats from Crank Bros, Look, Time or others, you need shims – which aren't provided. If the cleat is more than 1mm above the rubber lugs, you're going to strike difficulty engaging the pedal.
Also underneath are (threadlocked) dummy studs, which can be replaced with full-height studs or spikes. At the toes and just in front of the heel there's a wee mesh vent, and along with myriad holes elsewhere you can expect the RnR's to be cool in summer.
It also means you really need waterproof socks, but as these are a standard low shoe and not a boot, that's kind of a given.
The grey Pearson logos look like they'll be reflective, but aren't – a missed opportunity for some, especially on the heel. Both the toe and heel are solidly wrapped in a tough protective bumper, and the tongue is well-padded but not gusseted – so any grit or foliage finding its way into the front of the shoe will eventually end up inside.
The padding of the leather uppers is well judged though, so even when soaked they don't get chilled or squelchy.
The final tech feature of note is the 'hook lycra' inside the heel cup. With such a stiff sole I can't say I noticed it holding my heel down, but neither did I feel any lack of support or retention when pedalling. Again, just right.
At £265, these definitely sit at the premium end of the spectrum. Okay, you can spend more still, such as £299.99 on the Bontrager XXX Mountain Bike Shoes, but although they're a fair bit lighter there's not much grip for walking.
Liam highly rated Lake's donor shoe, the MX237 SuperCross, but didn't like the single-direction Boas; that issue is sorted here, while the price is much the same, in reality. The SuperCross shoes were £247 back in 2017.
In case you haven't noticed, I highly rate these. I'm very pleased to find a shoe that so perfectly matches my wider feet, and they're supremely comfy for all-day adventures and on into the night. Here's looking forward to a waterproof version soon.
Very well-appointed shoe with a great fit, for all manner of off-road shenanighans. Pricey mind
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Pearson x Lake Rough 'n Ready Carbon Gravel Shoes
Size tested: 45
Tell us what the product is for
Pearson says: "When you have the bright idea of tearing up a fire track or riding through a Hawthorn bush, the Rough 'n Ready shoes are fit for purpose. A collaboration with expert cycle shoemakers Lake, to give you long-lasting comfort, support and durability, a shoe with a recessed cleat mount, a moulded rubber grip over a full reinforced carbon sole.
"For stiffened support while riding and easy walking when off-bike, plus the option to fit front studs for extreme conditions. Featuring a relaxed-fitting toe box & cupped heel, full leather upper, reinforced toe, front and rear side guards to deal with nicks and scuffs.
"Exceptionally secure upper to support the foot for hard riding and racing, with enough room in the toe box to prevent cramped toes when stepping up inclines or negotiating hike-your-bike terrain. Equally at home for long days of more leisurely gravel riding."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
* Soft leather upper for comfort
* Side Scuff Guards for long service
* Dual Boa fastening dials for optimum tension on the upper
* Recessed sole for easy walking
* Lake Competition 100% Carbon Fiber platform
* Mountain Race X real rubber grip sole
* Full-grain leather upper
* Dual bolt fittings to mount most major brands of off-road cleats
* Helcor abrasion resistant leather panels and mesh with a hook lycra heel lining
* Dual Side mounted Push/Pull BOA L5 lacing system with releasable lace guides.
* Dual front stud options.
* Full lifetime guarantee on laces - they break - we replace!
Really well-assembled. Premium.
Comfort, stiffness and adjustability are top-notch.
Built tough. With the Boa warranty, can't imagine any issues.
As per the review, these are the most comfortable cycling shoes I've worn.
910g is middling, but they aren't built to be light.
All day, day after day.
Really I'd like to see Gore-Tex at this price, for an adventure shoe.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
The materials make for easy care and still look great.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Can't fault them. Fit perfect, feel perfect, all day long.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The fit across the foot, closely followed by the dual-direction Boas.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Lack of waterproofing and tongue gusset.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Slightly on the more-affordable side compared to the full-carbon, dual-release Boa competition, but north of £250 for shoes is a still a lot - we're into incremental gains here.
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
Comfort is supreme, which when matched with the microadjustability, grippy sole and abrasion-proof uppers, makes for a great package. The only let-downs are the lack of waterproofing and gussets on the tongues.
About the tester
I usually ride: Sonder Camino Gravelaxe My best bike is: Nah bro that's it
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, general fitness riding, mtb, G-R-A-V-E-L