DMT’s KM1 is, by the brand’s own definition, a mountain-bike marathon shoe but they work well for gravel riding too.
The KM1 was conceived alongside the road-specific KR1 shoe, using a material designed by DMT and based on the latest generation of running shoes with a three-dimensional seamless knitted structure.
This kind of engineered knit upper has been around for a few years in non-cycling sports shoes but are a recent development here. Rival brands have knitted upper shoes, but most of those are a hybrid upper – so either a knitted skin over a formed base, or pairing knitted fabrics with more traditional materials and construction.
The KM1 is very different because the uppers have an incredible sock-like fit that’s only enhanced by a Boa tensioning system threaded into the forefoot and controlled by a familiar dual-direction IP1 dial.
Putting the shoe on is like pulling on a sock and the tight-fitting cuff can roll down if you don’t take care. DMT provides a shoe horn to help with getting the shoe on correctly.
Knit fabrics aren’t exactly hardy, so DMT has infused the lower two thirds of the upper with a polymer that toughens up the fabric and provides a bit of splash proofing too. It also adds to the structure of the upper giving support and solidity laterally while allowing the tongue area and the ankle cuff total freedom.
The outsole also contributes to this combination of ‘soft yet supportive’ by being far more shaped and sculpted than a traditional carbon sole. The rear extends up, creating a pocket that your heel sits firmly in, and the instep similarly rises to offer support while the rest of the carbon has a lip to retain your foot’s position. It’s a very clever piece of design.
The stiff carbon sole has a little spring to it, making them easy to walk (or run) in, with the carbon sole heavily protected at ground contact points by bonded-on tread blocks developed in collaboration with French tyre specialists Michelin.
On the toe is a rubberised tip that rolls up around the front of the shoe offering protection and great grip when you’re scrambling up a slope. To add further traction there are twin stud mounts. These will appeal to cyclocross riders and cross-country racers; for most of us they’ll remain in the box.
My only niggle is with the minimal footbeds. They are shaped well but the thin material tends to crease and ripple after a while. I found myself switching out to my preferred, more substantial footbeds quite quickly.
The KM1 is superbly comfortable and the nature of the material means that they breathe well, keeping your feet cool on warm days. The stiff sole and soft yet supportive upper are among the best feeling shoes around and they’re lightweight too (682.5g pair, size EU 45).
They are expensive, but if you can meet the price then I’d highly recommend them.