Suplest says its Crosscountry Pro meets the needs of singletrack, gravel and cross-country riding. For gravel riders, the Suplest has plenty of plus points, with the sole being particularly suited to this type of terrain.
At the heart of the sole is a super-stiff carbon base, onto which is bonded a toe-to-heel rubber covering. This not only protects the carbon, but also adds a high-traction pattern with pronounced heel and toe tread plus large block treads on the forefoot.
There are also two threads in the toe for studs (included). This treaded covering shapes the shoe’s sole like a non-cycling shoe, thus making walking and running feel much more natural than with some of its competitors.
The upper uses the same anatomic wrap design as Suplest’s Edge+ Pro Road shoes where the material on the instep side-wraps over the outer. The forefoot is protected by a thin carbon layer, which claims to spread the load evenly.
Suplest has partnered with footbed expert Solestar to create some highly sculpted multi-density beds with a pronounced arch shape that holds your foot, providing superb stability.
The upper is robustly stiff and reinforced around the toe, giving great protection. However, the stiffness did create some issues for me even after plenty of wearing in.
The toe box has generous volume compared to the likes of Shimano and is, in fact, quite similar to Sidi’s Jarin. The volume is controlled by the wrap-over design and twin Boas drawing in the two halves.
The forefoot panel is padded but this doesn’t extend across the width of the toes. Where the padding ends at the seam, between the two wraps, the material has softened a little but it still wrinkled and rubbed the top of my big toe after a couple of hours’ pedalling, making thicker socks the order of the day.
At the back, a silver-thread cat’s tongue material takes care of heel retention, but I did find the padded ankle cuff gaped somewhat as the shoe flexed and on damp, dirty rides water easily found its way in, making these a fair-weather shoe for me.
At 858g (size 45) a pair they aren’t the lightest around but the construction quality is certainly up with the very best. However, the rubbing issues and gaping cuff outweigh the positives for me and at this rather eye-watering price there are better options for your gravel kicks.