The Parley Road Cycling BOA Shoe is an update to the Adidas Road Shoe, the German brand’s first cycling footwear for 15 years when it launched in 2020.
This new shoe sets another precedent by being the first Adidas road cycling shoe with a Boa dial instead of laces.
As on the Adidas Road Shoe, the midsole is nylon and fibreglass-reinforced rather than full-carbon. No arch inserts are supplied.
The switch from laces to a single, unidirectional Boa dial contributes to a rise in price from £130 / €150 to £170 / €180.
The flexible upper on the Parley Road Shoe BOA makes it look and fit like a trainer (or sneaker, for our North American readers).
But after a while in the saddle, it feels as if you’re riding in trainers. This means the Parley Road Cycling BOA Shoe fails to live up to several of Adidas’ claims.
Adidas The Parley Road Cycling BOA Shoe specs and options
Adidas doesn’t score the Parley sole for stiffness, but not being carbon it’s on the flexy side.
The sock-like inner makes the shoe easy to slip on and off and ensures it feels snug.
The single Boa dial also simplifies putting on and removing the shoe. However, because it only rotates one way, you’ll have to pull up to release tension completely if you over-tighten it.
Adidas says the shoe is unisex and it comes in size EU36 (UK3.5) up to EU55 ⅔ (UK19). The shoe is available in half sizes up to size EU49 (UK14), but only in one width.
The two colour options are black-on-black or green and white, with three reflective stripes that double as Adidas’ signature branding on both.
Unlike on the similarly priced Shimano RC7, the Parley Road Shoe Boa’s three-bolt cleat holes are not adjustable. This gives less room for manoeuvre when installing and adjusting cycling cleats.
Adidas The Parley Road Cycling BOA Shoe fit
When you slide on the shoe, the extremely comfortable synthetic lining stretches around your foot.
The upper, featuring a yarn that Adidas claims is a 50/50 blend of Parley Ocean Plastic and recycled polyester, is very soft with no pinch points.
However, I found the inner fell short on the brand’s claim to be breathable and supportive (more on this later).
While these supple materials make for a comfy shoe off the bike, they contribute to an overall lack of rigidity – I’ll get on to this shortly.
Heel security is good though, thanks to the textile collar, which stops the back of your foot lifting when out of the saddle.
The Boa dial adjusts the cord laces, which run down the tongue of the shoe, and ensures tension is well distributed across the top of the foot.
The lack of a Velcro strap or other tightening mechanism further down the shoe means you can’t specifically increase tightness across the toe box, as is possible on the Giant Surge Pro shoe.
Consequently, I found that my forefoot and toes tended to lift off the insole when pedalling in an aggressive position.
Adidas The Parley Road Cycling BOA Shoe performance
The Adidas Parley Road Cycling BOA Shoe’s pliability creates a shoe that’s more comfortable off than on the bike and far easier to walk in than stiffer road cycling shoes.
As a result, I found the shoe best on shorter rides (up to an hour) – for example, when cycling to work involves hopping on and off a train.
But during more strenuous rides, unfortunately the Parley Road Cycling BOA Shoe performs well below its mid-table price tag of £170 / €180.
When pressing on the pedals, the sole flexes considerably.
Although I didn’t notice a downturn in average speed, more strain through my leg muscles and tendons translated into the odd ache, which I can only attribute to the shoe.
Additionally, the Parley Road Cycling BOA Shoe is a touch unstable when you stand up out of the saddle.
Because you sink slightly into the sole, it took me a fraction longer than usual to get balanced.
I also felt my foot slipping from side to side while standing, I believe, due to the lower rigidity offered by the flexible upper.
As for ventilation, longer rides proved a game of two halves.
Until two hours in, I didn’t notice the absence of gauze or mesh in the upper, or vents in the sole.
But things soon became squelchy on hot or hilly days as my feet perspired and the sweat had nowhere to go, other than into the spongy sole top layer.
On the flipside, rain takes time to permeate the Parley Road Cycling BOA Shoe. However, once through, it stays there and the shoe dries out slowly.
Adidas The Parley Road Cycling BOA Shoe bottom line
Despite my criticisms, the Adidas Parley Road Cycling BOA Shoe isn’t a bad shoe, and I do love its clean, timeless aesthetics.
The adjustment system makes the shoe easy to put on and take off, while allowing some fine tuning of tension.
If you want a road cycling shoe that’s comfortable for short rides, and to walk and sit in, the Adidas Parley Road Cycling BOA Shoe will do the job.
And there’s the style too, of course, which may matter to you. But for £170 / €180, there’s not much substance to go with it if you’re serious about performance.
You don’t get a carbon sole, there’s poor ventilation and foot support is lacking in and out of the saddle – all of which other shoes in this price bracket offer far more competently.
If weight is a concern, the shoe is also 200g per pair heavier than its rivals.
This means I couldn’t justify spending so much on a shoe that doesn’t cut it on faster and longer rides. It’s likely other shoes will ride significantly better for the same money or less.