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Udog's Tensione Pure Blacks are a comfortable pair of cycling shoes thanks to a great sole shape and an upper that wraps around your feet, with the laces giving an even spread of pressure. The sole is a little on the soft side, though, making them a little less desirable for those putting out plenty of power.
The Tensiones share many of the design cues of Udog's more expensive Cimas for a lump of money less – £90 less, to be precise.
Starting from the bottom, the biggest difference is the sole material. The Cimas use carbon fibre which gives a very stiff sole without increasing weight, whereas the Tensiones use a composite of carbon and nylon, something often seen on shoes around this price.
The profile of the sole is great. It curves nicely, putting material under my foot exactly where I want it, especially under the arch, without it being too pronounced.
Switching to the carbon/nylon sole after wearing the Cimas did show some flex, though, especially when riding hard or climbing when out of the saddle. A few times this did cause some hot-spots above the cleat area on sustained efforts, but it wasn't a big deal the majority of the time. Basically, if you are a racer or put out big numbers, you won't find all of the stiffness here that you want.
Other than that, there is little to criticise. There is a ventilation channel running underneath to keep the sole of your foot cool and they will accept any three-bolt cleat design.
The toe and heel bumpers aren't as pronounced as most, though, which can make life a little tricky if you are walking on anything but a smooth surface.
The upper is created from a 3D technical mesh and it's a real mixture of being tough and robust, while also quite supple for comfort.
Probably the most stand-out feature of the Tensiones is the Tension Wrap System (TWS), which Udog says hugs the metatarsal area of your foot from the instep to the bridge. The lace passes through it to tension the system.
The upper does wrap nicely around the foot, I must say. I found these shoes very comfortable to wear from that point of view on long rides. How much difference the TWS makes to the fit overall is hard to define, though, compared with other lace-up shoes I have.
Udog has chosen laces that are flat and pressed to leave no air inside, which it claims stops them loosening while you ride. It all seems to work as I never had to fiddle with the tension once I'd started riding, and they give an equal amount of pressure from top to bottom of the lacing pattern.
The knotted part of the laces can be tucked into a small flap behind the tongue to keep them out of reach of the chainset or cranks.
At the rear of the shoe, you get a reinforced heel which is supportive and uses a kind of rubberised material to grip and stop your heel from lifting during the pedal stroke.
When it comes to the build quality the Udogs are excellent. All of the component sections are joined or bonded perfectly, showing no excess glue or anything.
A toe cover protects the front end from scuffs, and the upper material is easy to wipe clean after a wet ride.
At £130 the Tensiones are the same price as the Sundried shoes I tested a few weeks back. The Sundrieds have a TPU sole, which was very flexible, and the sizing was way off, something that isn't an issue with the Udogs. The finishing quality of the Tensiones is much higher too.
Northwave's Mistral shoes also come with laces and are priced at £144.99. I tested those last year, and thought they were pretty good value for a shoe with a full carbon fibre sole; it's also compatible with Speedplay pedals.
Overall, the build quality of the Tensiones is excellent, as is the shape and fit, and there are some neat design touches here that help justify the price considering it's not a full carbon fibre sole.
Sole is a bit flexy under full power, but very well made and comfortable shoes
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Udog Tensione Pure Black Shoes
Size tested: 45
Tell us what the product is for
Udog says, "Cycling is about pushing and pulling pedals for hours. So we designed and developed the first ever cycling shoe that follows your feet when pulling up.
TENSIONE is the first ever shoe that wraps your feet from the bottom to the top.
Light, fast and fully supportive. Take on training and racing in complete comfort."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Tension Wrap System. A comfortable and supportive shoe is a foundation of a good ride.
We designed TENSIONE creating 18 points of contact between the upper and your feet. Introducing Tension Wrap System, a metatarsal dynamic system that hugs the metatarsal area of your feet from the instep to the bridge for an optimum fit.
Tension Wrap System enables a more controlled transfer of power to the pedal. It holds your foot for complete comfort during the entire pedal stroke.
Be at one with your shoe.
Comfort & Upper
The shoe has been developed with comfort in mind. The design is consciously minimal, eliminating all hardware, plastic and metal parts, that create pressure points. The complex lace-up closure system allows UDOG to use upper materials that are softer and more comfortable when compared to standard cycling shoes minimizing stitching. The upper is made of innovative 3D technical mesh, the material is light, soft and breathable.
Laces have been carefully selected and tested to identify the best laces for a high-performance cycling shoe. Traditional laces tend to lose while pedaling, for this reason TENSIONE uses proprietary laces that are flat and pressed, firm without air inside, creating a rope knot effect that guarantee the best fit shoe from the most demanding crit races to the longest endurance rides.
It looks unique because comfort is crucial.
We spent hundreds of hours prototyping and real-world testing TENSIONE.
With a generous toe box that offers extraordinary freedom and comfort. The heel cup shape is deep and narrow with innovative construction to eliminate stitches in the most sensitive area of your feet.
At our shoes foundation we've designed and developed an outsole of composite carbon and nylon with a directed ventilation channel, integrated rubber heel and toe caps for added durability. A large metatarsal platform for easy cleat engagement. A high-performance stiff outsole engineered for consistent stiffness along the foot; ensuring optimal power transfer bonded to a breathable, soft, and comfortable upper. Stiffness index 7.0
TENSIONE minimalistic design eliminates all plastic and metal parts, stitches, uses the most advance materials creating a product that is ultra-comfortable, supportive and lightweight. As cyclists we know how weight is important on all bike components, especially on shoes. At 245grams in size 42 TENSIONE is by far the lightest shoe in its category. Helping you saving from at least 50 to 200 grams compare to traditional shoes at same price.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
They wiped clean easily after wet rides.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
A good all-round set of road shoes for everyone but the most powerful sprinter.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Sole a bit flexible.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They are the same price as the Sundried road shoes, although the Udogs are better made, better specced and more comfortable. Northwave's lace-up offerings are just £15 more, but come with a much stiffer carbon fibre sole if that's what you need.
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
The Udog Tensione is a good road shoe, although it does lack stiffness in the sole compared with some similarly priced options that come with a carbon fibre one. The build quality and comfort give the Udogs a boost in the overall standings, though.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 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!