If Eurobike is any indication, the era of buckle ratchets on top-end road shoes may be drawing to an end. Whether for the smaller increments of adjustment, the lighter weight, or just the me-too trendiness, Boa and Boa-type dials are now de rigueur, with the likes of Shimano, Sidi, Bont, Giro, Pearl Izumi, Fizik, Northwave and many more betting on the thin-lace technology.
Here is a top-line look at many of the latest and greatest road shoes shown at Eurobike. Please note that Specialized and Trek don't exhibit at Eurobike, but rest assured that both American brands are in on the Boa action, with the S-Works 6 and the Bontrager XXX models, respectively.
Dials aside, hi-vis and flash are also in for 2017. Black shoes could be found at Eurobike — but you really had to hunt for them.
Giro Prolight Techlace and Factor Techlace
A few frame makers like Felt use TeXtreme for its high stiffness-to-weight ratio. Giro used the material for the sole on the Prolight Techlace, which Giro expects to come in at about 150g for production models.
Techlace (which consists of standard laces clamped into a Velcro pull tab) first showed up alongside a Boa dial in Giro’s new Factor Techlace.
Shimano’s first Boa shoe is the S-Phyre, which comes in the top-end R9 range (230g claimed for a size 42) and the more affordable R7.
Okay, I can’t vouch for the fit, feel or performance of this one, but the novel design was worth sharing, as I’ve never seen a shoe that tightens at the back and at the toe.
Bont Vaypor + and Riot
Bont’s Vaypor + combines the stiffness of the Vaypor S pro race shoe with a little high-end cushiness, thanks to a kangaroo leather upper and a cow leather lining. The shoes are heat moldable with a low stack height and a high price (US$499).
The Riot, on the other hand, is heat moldable for US$179 with Boa dials.
The R1 isn’t brand new, but just look at that red! Also, Boas…
Unlike most shoes that use a wire loop on the Boas, the R1 uses a single strand on the lower dial.
Pearl Izumi Elite Road V
Pearl Izumi’s Pro Leader III arguably created the dual-dial-on-the-tongue design (see new Sidi Shot below) when it came out last year. The shoe also did away with the traditional cardboard lasting board that most cycling footwear has, lowering the stack height in the process.
The new Elite Road V riffs on some of this technology, notably the absence of the lasting board and a Boa, but at a more accessible price. Aside from the svelte look, having the Boa on the tongue makes for an even pull on both sides of the shoe, Pearl says.
Okay, so there is no Boa dial here. Sorry. But this slick shoe debuted at the Rio Olympics on Swiss feet (the company is based in Switzerland), with a decidedly Nordic skiing look thanks to the zipper-over-laces closure.
Northwave Extreme RR
The new Extreme RR shoes use Northwave’s own SLW2 (Speed Lace Winch) dial. It may also be the only shoe with a single dial (without any other additional closure mechanism like Velcro).
These first popped up at the 2016 Tour de France, and the venerable Italian cobbler rolled out the details at Eurobike. As with Northwave, Sidi has its own dials.
Click through the gallery above for a closer look at these shoes and a few others.