Road shoe trends for 2017

Dials, dials everywhere — but seldom a shoe in black

If Eurobike is any indication, the era of buckle ratchets on top-end road shoes may be drawing to an end. Whether for the smaller increments of adjustment, the lighter weight, or just the me-too trendiness, Boa and Boa-type dials are now de rigueur, with the likes of Shimano, Sidi, Bont, Giro, Pearl Izumi, Fizik, Northwave and many more betting on the thin-lace technology.

Here is a top-line look at many of the latest and greatest road shoes shown at Eurobike. Please note that Specialized and Trek don't exhibit at Eurobike, but rest assured that both American brands are in on the Boa action, with the S-Works 6 and the Bontrager XXX models, respectively.  

Dials aside, hi-vis and flash are also in for 2017. Black shoes could be found at Eurobike — but you really had to hunt for them. 

Giro Prolight Techlace and Factor Techlace

Giro's Prolight Techlace is laughably light
Giro's Prolight Techlace is laughably light

A few frame makers like Felt use TeXtreme for its high stiffness-to-weight ratio. Giro used the material for the sole on the Prolight Techlace, which Giro expects to come in at about 150g for production models.

Techlace (which consists of standard laces clamped into a Velcro pull tab) first showed up alongside a Boa dial in Giro’s new Factor Techlace.

Shimano S-Phyre

There are different types of Boa dials; the top-end option lets you micro-adjust in both directions, and pull open for a quick release
There are different types of Boa dials; the top-end option lets you micro-adjust in both directions, and pull open for a quick release

Shimano’s first Boa shoe is the S-Phyre, which comes in the top-end R9 range (230g claimed for a size 42) and the more affordable R7.

Lintaman Adjustable

Specialized adopted a somewhat similar design with its S-Work Trivent shoe, where the back folds down for on-the-bike access. Otherwise, we haven't seen a design like this anywhere
Specialized adopted a somewhat similar design with its S-Work Trivent shoe, where the back folds down for on-the-bike access. Otherwise, we haven't seen a design like this anywhere

Okay, I can’t vouch for the fit, feel or performance of this one, but the novel design was worth sharing, as I’ve never seen a shoe that tightens at the back and at the toe.

Bont Vaypor + and Riot

The new Bont Vapor + combines pro-level stiffness with a luxury finish, including kangaroo leather upper and an internal leather lining
The new Bont Vapor + combines pro-level stiffness with a luxury finish, including kangaroo leather upper and an internal leather lining

Bont’s Vaypor + combines the stiffness of the Vaypor S pro race shoe with a little high-end cushiness, thanks to a kangaroo leather upper and a cow leather lining. The shoes are heat moldable with a low stack height and a high price (US$499).

The Riot, on the other hand, is heat moldable for US$179 with Boa dials.

The Bont Riot is a carbon composite moldable shoe that starts at US$159 (UK and Australian pricing not available)
The Bont Riot is a carbon composite moldable shoe that starts at US$159 (UK and Australian pricing not available)

Fizik R1

Fizik's R1 is unique for a Boa shoe in that the lower dial has a single lace, instead of a loop, like on the upper dial
Fizik's R1 is unique for a Boa shoe in that the lower dial has a single lace, instead of a loop, like on the upper dial

The R1 isn’t brand new, but just look at that red! Also, Boas…

Unlike most shoes that use a wire loop on the Boas, the R1 uses a single strand on the lower dial.

Pearl Izumi Elite Road V

At the heel of Pearl Izumi's top-end Pro Leader III comes the Elite Road V
At the heel of Pearl Izumi's top-end Pro Leader III comes the Elite Road V

Pearl Izumi’s Pro Leader III arguably created the dual-dial-on-the-tongue design (see new Sidi Shot below) when it came out last year. The shoe also did away with the traditional cardboard lasting board that most cycling footwear has, lowering the stack height in the process.

The new Elite Road V riffs on some of this technology, notably the absence of the lasting board and a Boa, but at a more accessible price. Aside from the svelte look, having the Boa on the tongue makes for an even pull on both sides of the shoe, Pearl says.

As with the Pro Leader, the Elite Road V runs the Boa wires like traditional laces, with the dial mounted on the tongue
As with the Pro Leader, the Elite Road V runs the Boa wires like traditional laces, with the dial mounted on the tongue

Suplest Aero

Suplest's Aero Road shoe debuted at the Rio Olympics with the Swiss team
Suplest's Aero Road shoe debuted at the Rio Olympics with the Swiss team

Okay, so there is no Boa dial here. Sorry. But this slick shoe debuted at the Rio Olympics on Swiss feet (the company is based in Switzerland), with a decidedly Nordic skiing look thanks to the zipper-over-laces closure.

Northwave Extreme RR

Northwave's Extreme RR shoes uses the brand's own SLW2 (Speed Lace Winch) dial
Northwave's Extreme RR shoes uses the brand's own SLW2 (Speed Lace Winch) dial

The new Extreme RR shoes use Northwave’s own SLW2 (Speed Lace Winch) dial. It may also be the only shoe with a single dial (without any other additional closure mechanism like Velcro).

Sidi Shot

Sidi's new Shot uses the double-dial-on-the-tongue design that Pearl debuted, but with its own Tecno-3 dials
Sidi's new Shot uses the double-dial-on-the-tongue design that Pearl debuted, but with its own Tecno-3 dials

These first popped up at the 2016 Tour de France, and the venerable Italian cobbler rolled out the details at Eurobike. As with Northwave, Sidi has its own dials.

Click through the gallery above for a closer look at these shoes and a few others.

Ben Delaney

US Editor-in-Chief
Ben has been writing about bikes since 2000, covering everything from the Tour de France to Asian manufacturing to kids' bikes. The former editor-in-chief of VeloNews, he began racing in college while getting a journalism degree at the University of New Mexico. Based in the cycling-crazed city of Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and two kids, Ben enjoys riding most every day.
  • Discipline: Road (paved or otherwise), cyclocross and sometimes mountain. His tri-curious phase seems to have passed, thankfully
  • Preferred Terrain: Quiet mountain roads leading to places unknown
  • Current Bikes: Scott Foil Team, Trek Boone 5, Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL4, Marinoni fixed gear, Santa Cruz Roadster TT bike
  • Dream Bike: A BMC Teammachine SLR01 with disc brakes and clearance for 30mm tires (doesn't yet exist)
  • Beer of Choice: Saison Dupont
  • Location: Boulder, CO, USA

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