For a pair of race shoes that look simple and will set you back only £110, the Lake CX170s have a heap of great features, not least the main shoe material. Action Leather is natural leather with a polyurethane-coated outer to provide greater durability and enhance water resistance.
The wet summer and autumn we’ve been ‘enjoying’ in the UK has provided perfect testing conditions, and the CX170s are still looking presentable and relatively free of scuffs, creases and cracks. Being natural leather under the outer coating, the upper offers a much more supple ﬁt than imitation leather competitors, and naturally shapes to your foot.
The sole is made from ﬁbre-reinforced nylon, which on some lower-priced shoes can be more ﬂexible than premium carbon-soled race shoes. But the Lake’s sole is a little more substantial, with plenty of depth to the material at the cleat point and quite a pronounced arch and a deep heel.
It’s not a big deal, though it could be an issue to those who prefer a super-low connected position on the pedals. It does make them easier to walk in than most, but the increased depth at the ball of the foot meant we had to adjust our saddle height by a few millimetres.
The cleats are a standard road three-bolt pattern but included in the box are two metal inserts that can be ﬁtted under the insole to allow two-bolt ﬁtings, a good touch for those used to standard SPD pedals. Our only issue with the sole is the lack of markings, which makes setting up your cleats a little trickier than when you have reference marks.
The single best feature of the CX170s, though, is the BOA lacing system, something only usually found on much pricier shoes. While we like the system in its normal conﬁguration – with the ratcheting strap on the outside of the foot – Lake have ﬁtted the BOA adjuster on the heel. The advantage here is that not only does it tension down the front part of the shoe, as normal, it also tensions up around the heel.
Having the heel of your shoe slipping or moving independently of your foot can cause blisters, but that just doesn’t happen with these. And that, combined with the superior quality upper, makes the CX170 our shoe of choice at this most competitive of pricepoints. A pair of size 45s weighs 370g.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine.