The Aeron Carbon Road Dial Shoe from Wiggle/Chain Reaction Cycles in-huse dhb brand is one of the least expensive carbon-soled road cycling shoes you can buy.
dhb markets the three-bolt Aeron as a “high-performance road cycling shoe” with a “stiff and responsive carbon sole”.
And my experience is that this really is a shoe that will suit the rider looking for a good balance of stiffness and comfort.
dhb Aeron Carbon Road Shoe Dial specifications
The Aeron’s key feature is undoubtedly the carbon sole with its 3K weave for the top layer. The sole is paired with a well-padded upper that has twin Velcro straps for the forefoot and a single Atop top dial that allows on-the-fly adjustability.
dhb claims that the manmade upper is breathable and lightweight. Our size 42 shoes weigh in at 512g, which is respectable for a shoe of this price.
The sole is well ventilated though venting perforations on the upper are more limited than on some other road shoes.
dhb Aeron Carbon Road Shoe Dial performance
I tested dhb’s Carbons on short-and-sharp sessions and more casual rides around Bath, Bristol and Clevedon, topography taking in numerous hills and some unsurfaced light gravel. I was accompanied by cold but thankfully dry winter weather.
When it comes to road shoes I wear size 42s in pretty much all brands, except Mavic where I size up.
dhb recommends going down a size for its dhb Aerons and indeed, my size 42 test shoes did come up about a centimetre longer than most size 42s.
That sizing was one of the few downsides when it came to the Aerons, which have two big selling points – the very attractive price and full-carbon sole.
You can see the 3K carbon weave too, which looks great (no that you’ll see it while you’re riding). The sole did also get scuffed fairly quickly in spite of a well-sized non-replaceable heel bumper and a tough rubber strip at the front.
But in addition to that you also get a shoe that delivers an absolutely first-class performance. The stiff sole not only looks good but felt suitably stiff throughout testing.
Whether climbing out of the saddle or sprinting to get home before the inevitable rain, the lack of flex is always to the fore.
The Aerons also stayed consistently snug, with the twin Velcro straps and single Atop dial making it quick and easy to adjust on the fly.
The Atop works in a similar way to Boa’s system – you twist the dial anti-clockwise to tighten the cable on the left shoe, and clockwise on the right – but unlike cheaper Boa dial systems, you don’t need to pull the dial outward to loosen it.
The Atop dial’s adjustments doesn’t feel quite as fine as the Boa’s, but it’s still a very effective system.
Comfort from the shoes is also very good, with the uppers more plushly padded than on many other shoes.
Venting is limited to some perforations at the front and running along the inside of the shoes. This wasn’t an issue during cold-weather riding but could become a factor come summer if you find you get hot feet in warm weather. That said, the tongue is perforated and the carbon soles has good sized toe and central vents.
The Aeron’s most obvious competitor is Boardman’s Carbon cycling shoe, which comes in at £85 – similar to the Aeron’s present price but cheaper than the Aeron’s £120 RRP.
Both have stiff full-carbon soles, which are rare at this price, though the Boardman’s upper has more venting and a pair of Atop dials rather than the Aeron’s Velcro-and-dial setup.
If you’re happy with a Velcro-and-buckle pairing, Bont’s £100 Riot Buckles offer a formidably stiff carbon-reinforced fibreglass sole, with the advantage of a heat-mouldable upper.
dhb Aeron Carbon Road Shoe Dial bottom line
You might expect shortcuts on ‘budget’ carbon road shoes but dhb’s Aerons excel in pretty much every area.
Adjustability is good, comfort even on long, hard rides is excellent and the full-carbon sole delivers stiffness in spades.
If you ride hard and fast and want an efficient pedalling platform, these are a top choice.