Hailing from Bern, Switzerland, Suplest is known mostly for its high-end road shoes, however the small brand also has a few off-road kicks, including the X1 Pro Trail shoes.
A far cry from the brand’s uber stiff Edge3 Pro range of kicks, the X1 Pro Trail shoes are less about laying down watts, and more about finding the balance between on bike and walking performance and comfort.
With a nylon sole, the X1 Pro rigid under the cleat for pedalling efficiency, but doesn’t offer the plank of wood type stiffness many XC shoes do. There is a decent amount of give in front of the cleat, which is much appreciated off the bike, but there’s no discernable flex when pedalling.
The Boa L6 dial and the cable routing provide for a secure fit, I just wish you could loosen it without popping the dial Colin Levitch / Immediate Media
Each shoe gets a single BOA L6 closure system which is smartly mounted on the tongue to prevent it from getting ripped off in a crash or pedal/shoe strike. The L6 dial offers finite adjustments when tightening the shoe down, and a pop open function for quick entry and exit, however, it doesn’t spin in reverse should you over tighten, which can make on-the-go adjustments a bit awkward.
While the L6 dial is notably lower profile than some, for the price I’d really like to see dial that can loosen and tighten, like the IP1 or S2.
With that said, the orientation of the dial and cable routing provide for even pressure across your foot with no hotspots. There’s also a Velcro strap to reign to adjust the toe box, which was very much a set and forget affair for me.
There’s also a big heel loop for easy entry, and tipping our scales at 420g per shoe in a size 45 they’re decently light too.
One way silver thread lines the heel to prevent heel slip Colin Levitch / Immediate Media
The overall fit is based around a medium last, and there is a roomy, but not too big toe box. At the back, the heel cup is lined with silver sharkskin fibre which keeps your heel planted in the shoe.
The bumpers on the front and back are showing no signs of wear, despite some pretty heavy impacts, and fending off branches and rocks.
Suplest uses its own SUP traction rubber, and the compound provides decent purchase scrambling up big rocks and steep inclines, which there’s just enough flex in the forefoot to make walking the least of your worries. The tread depth is moderate, while pronounced lugs under the toe grip well on steep inclines.
Unlike some shoes in this category, the tread didn’t create any swear word inducing cleat to pedal interface issues.
The tread depth is moderate and purchase is good Colin Levitch / Immediate Media
The tongue isn’t overly padded nor is the area around your ankles, so if you’re planning to go full-send it might be worth looking for something a bit more robust.
The shoes find a good line between weather resistance and breathability, which is well suited to the Australian climate. The front half of the shoe is rubberised with only a few perforations over the toe box, while the back is mesh based.
The X.1 Pro’s don’t have any of the internal neoprene cuffs like similar offerings from Giro and Specialized, and beyond light showers and puddle splashback you’re probably going to have wet feet.
Overall, the X1 Pro Trail shoes have served us well over the past few months. There’s plenty of efficiency while pedalling, but they don’t punish you when you venture out to the rain rutted washed out sections of your local trail network and end up hiking for a good portion of your ride.
If I lived in an area where winter miles were wet and sloppy, I might want to look for something with a bit more weatherproofing, but for mild climates, the Suplest X1 Pros are a good pick
The front half is rubberised and water resistant Colin Levitch / Immediate Media