Shoes and helmets of the cobbled classics

Lots of aero lids and customized footwear

We've given you a good look at the bikes ridden this year at Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix, but what about the rest of the riders' gear? Here's a peek at some of the shoes and helmets used during the cobbled classics.

Two trends stood out for us this April. One, riders love customized footwear. Whether it's a company providing special colors for an entire team or a particularly high-profile rider getting their own individual colors, the split between stock and bespoke versions was roughly 50-50. Standouts include Marcel Kittel's (Giant-Shimano) Shimano SH-R320 shoes with the colors of the German flag and his name on the strap, David Millar's (Garmin-Sharp) wild Roubaix-inspired fi'z:k shoes, lots of Sidis in team livery, and day-glo footwear from Giro, Bont and others.

Alex Dowsett's (Movistar) lime green Bont Zero shoes

Second, aero is king – at least when it comes to helmets, where fully covered models and/or drag-reducing models seemed to roughly match the number conventional options. One might argue that the wet and chilly conditions at Ronde van Vlaanderen would explain the prevalence of fully covered models there, as riders certainly would have been seeking any extra warmth (and dryness) available, but we noticed similar distributions at Paris-Roubaix, too, where the conditions were comparatively balmy.

Tom boonen (omega pharma-quickstep) flashes a smile while wearing a specialized s-works evade aero road helmet:

Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) went with Specialized's S-Works Evade for Paris-Roubaix

Teams reported to us that there's a simple reason why such helmets are taking over in the pro peloton: verifiable speed. Moreover, many riders feel that there is adequate airflow on aero models in all but the hottest conditions, especially at typical race pace.

Sky has several kask helmets at its disposal, including the slick infinity (left) with its sliding vent cover and a fully covered version of the mojito (right):

Team Sky has their choice of multiple Kask models, including the Infinity (left) and the covered version of the Mojito (right)

Click through the image gallery at top right for a look at what many of the top teams and riders used this year at the spring cobbled classics.

Did you miss either of these races? Then head on over to Cyclingnews for comprehensive coverage of the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.

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