Shimano, Bont and Louis Garneau all have new heat mouldable shoes for 2011, so finding well fitting cycling footwear shouldn't be a problem – although this technology doesn't come cheap.
Trick new upper materials from Shimano
Early heat mouldable technology adopters Shimano have revamped their top-end customisable models with a new upper material called Rovenica. While not heat mouldable itself (five separate panels in each shoe perform this duty), the material lends a much more supple feel to the new SH-R315 and SH-M315 models that previous versions lacked.
According to Shimano, the softer material offers a better fit straight out of the box than before and also give the shoes a less 'wooden' feel when worn. The company say durability hasn't been sacrificed, either, and breathability has improved.
In addition to the new materials, the SH-R315 road shoes boast a more streamlined shape than before with a more cleanly integrated plastic toe cap (necessary to keep the toe box from collapsing during the moulding process), a tidier fixed-position buckle, and a new wraparound external heel counter to help stabilise the foot. Shimano will offer the SH-R315 for US$379.99 from November in sizes 38-48, with half sizes from 40-5-46.5 and E-widths, too. Claimed weight is 523g per pair.
Shimano's new SH-M315 mountain bike shoe flagship (left) boasts lighter weight materials and a more supple feel while the new SH-M240 sticks to more traditional materials
The SH-M315 mountain bike shoe upper is virtually identical to the R315 but here it's bonded to an all-new carbon outsole with more aggressive lugs for surer footing. More rubber has also been applied to the area behind the cleat pocket, for better security when you're not quite clipped in. Available in December, the M315s will come in a generous 38-48 size range, with half sizes in 40.5-46.5 and E-widths. Suggested retail price is $349.99 and claimed weight is 686g per pair.
There are major changes at the non-heat-mouldable mid- and entry-levels, too, with at least four other new road models, two new multisport models and a whopping seven new mountain bike shoes for 2011. Highlights include the SH-R077, with its three-strap Velcro upper and three- or two-bolt cleat compatibility; the SH-TR52 with a broad single reversed strap and giant heel loop for faster transitions plus an aggressively vented upper for quicker drying; and the SH-AM45 all-mountain shoe with a higher-cut inner ankle and more heavily bolstered outer edge to protect against impacts.
Shimano beef up the middle of their road range with four new models for 2011
Bont's new Vaypor model borrows from Cervélo TestTeam development
Bont continue to come on strong, with far more pro riders – sponsored or otherwise – using the distinctive-looking shoes this past season thanks to their ultra-rigid carbon fibre bathtub-style soles, superb heel hold and fully heat mouldable uppers. New for 2011 is the Vaypor, which borrows heavily from the ctt-one road shoe that was developed in conjunction with the Cervélo TestTeam.
The Vaypor shares the general overall style and strap layout – including Bont's new single Z-strap forefoot setup – but with a carbon fibre bathtub chassis that's cut a little lower down on the sides of the foot for a slightly less constrained feel. Upper materials have also been updated for a more premium, glossy look and additional ventilation around the toe box and tongue.
Bont's new Vaypor model is based on the ctt-one designed in conjunction with the now-defunct Cervélo TestTeam but with a slightly lower-cut carbon fibre bathtub
The mid-range a-two model also receives a lowered bathtub chassis for 2011 but retains its familiar single buckle-plus-twin forefoot strap layout. Substituting some fibreglass for carbon fibre increases the weight and stack height just a tad relative to the a-one or Vaypor but still remains outstanding at just 572g per pair (size 44, actual weight) and 4.4mm, respectively.
Though not new for 2011, one of our favourite Bont models remains the surprisingly attainable a-three, which offers virtually identical levels of rigidity and foothold to the upper-end models but at less than $200 retail. Changes include fibreglass composites instead of true carbon fibre and three broad Velcro straps instead of a ratcheting buckle but still remaining are the bathtub-style construction, vice-like hold and full heat mouldable capabilities.
Bont's a-three costs less than $200 and yet is fully heat mouldable and supposedly just as rigid as the top models, only with more weight and a slightly thicker stack height
Louis Garneau expand on mouldable footwear for 2011
Louis Garneau will offer two new heat mouldable models for the 2011 season – the CFS-300 road and T-Flex-300 mountain models – both of which are repeatedly mouldable at home using a conventional oven.
The CFS-300 ($299.99) offers a mouldable toe box, inner and outer forefoot, and heel cup. The shoe features a main ratchet closure that is both vertically and laterally adjustable without the use of an intrusive instep attachment. It also sports Louis Garneau's HRS-100 system, a band that runs around the upper part of the heel cup and works to increase heel security along with the ‘cat’s tongue’ liner material.
The $299.99 CFS-300 is heat mouldable at home and weighs less than 300g per shoe
The upper is mounted to Louis Garneau's Exo Jet Carbon outsole, highlighted by a moulded-in arch support. Two Coolmax Ergo Air insoles are included for use in hot and cold conditions, as well as a set of winter/aero external toe covers. Claimed weight of the CFS-300 is 290g per shoe in a size 41.
The T-Flex-300 ($199.99) offers a similar level of mouldability as that found in the CFS-300, but to off-road riders. Features include an adjustable ratchet positioning system and a removable carbon fibre sole plate that allows the rider to customise the shoe’s flex and level of ventilation. The tread is updated from the original T-Flex with a new lug design and dual compound rubber. Claimed weight is 350g per shoe in a size 41.
Louis Garneau's new heat mouldable mountain bike shoe, the T-Flex-300