Udog (short for underdog) is the new Italian cycling-shoe company of Alberto Fonte, who previously ran things at established cycling-shoe brand Fizik.
The brand’s aim is to make great-value cycling shoes for everyday riders with its online-only, direct-to-market business, rather like Canyon does for bikes.
The Tensione is claimed to be “the first ever shoe that wraps your feet from the bottom to the top”.
Udog Tensione shoes construction
So what are the Tensiones like? The outsole is a carbon-composite/nylon blend that’s conceived to be stiff enough to transfer power efficiently to the bike, but the sprung flex behind the cleat plate adds a little comfort too.
There’s an integrated rubber heel bumper and toe protection, while forward-facing, mesh-lined venting channels aid breathability too. Cleat-position markers extend to the sole edges, making fore-aft cleat setup easy.
The clever details continue on the shoe’s upper. Twin inverted-V-shaped ribbons either side of the mid-foot tether to the laces and wrap under your foot between the footbed and outsole, giving a close yet comfortable fit and helping to transfer power as you lift the pedals.
Udog Tensione fit and performance
I liked the shape of the Tensione’s upper. The toe box and mid-foot both have generous volume but aren’t overly wide. The upper’s tight mesh material has more inherent elasticity (not to mention better breathability) than commonly used PU ‘leathers’.
I found the Tensiones warm enough for spring rides in all weathers, but not too hot on a few rare sunny rides.
The shape tapers quite dramatically towards the rear, and the close-fitting, padded heel cup fitted me perfectly and kept my feet in place when pedalling, with the help of just a small panel of textured sticky silicone.
Udog’s flat, pressed laces don’t stretch or loosen like round versions, and you can tuck the ends into a pocket at the top of the well-padded tongue. This system is claimed to make the shoes more aerodynamic than those with dials or lace-loop designs.
On the road, the sole is superb: stiffly efficient when stomping on the pedals, yet it absorbs rougher road surfaces well, giving great all-day comfort.
The Tensiones are only available online, in sizes 38 to 46 and in ‘Pure Black’ or ‘Arctic White’. My test pair of size 45s (UK 10.5) weighed 597.4g, which is impressively light, especially for the price.
Udog Tensione bottom line
Overall, I’m impressed. The Tensiones are a well thought-out, wonderfully comfortable and great-looking pair of shoes. They won’t break the bank, but despite the affordable price, they’re capable of competing well with shoes twice the price.