Spiuk’s 16RC has all the features we’d expect to see in a pair of high-end racing shoes. The upper is constructed using very few seams, to reduce potential irritation points, and there are two meshed vents on top of the toe-box. Ventilation elsewhere comes from a series of pinholes along the flanks, or a ‘drilling shell system’, as Spiuk would have it.
The full-carbon sole is very stiff thanks to twin ribs that run from the cleat plate to the heel, with the carbon itself well protected by a polyurethane toe bumper and a replaceable heel bumper. The closure consists of two Atop dials, which adjust Kevlar cords that pull the upper in equally from both sides for a snug, secure fit.
So far this is standard stuff – all good quality and what we’d expect at this price. But there’s a standout feature lurking under the surface of the upper. Whereas other heat-malleable shoes require you to bake them at a low temperature in the oven for a while or use special equipment at the shop, these just need to be worn – straight out of the box and without cleats. Thanks to Spiuk’s ‘Auto-thermo’ heat-mouldable material, half an hour walking around at a minimum temperature of 20°C – on a soft surface such as a carpet – and the theory is that the uppers will fit themselves to the shape of your feet.
At first the Spiuks seemed stiff and narrow, but having traipsed around the house in them as instructed, these really did relax – and they came fully into their own when we started riding. The newly shaped upper feels superbly supportive and it combines well with the stiff carbon sole. Unlike some high-end leather uppers they don’t wallow or shift independently of the sole. The result is a shoe that enhances your pedalwork with no shifting from side-to-side – just an efficient piston-like action.
It’s also good to see Spiuk supply two sets of insoles with the 16RCs, a perforated one for hot weather and a solid insole for cooler days. The second one proved very welcome when autumn duly arrived.
At 500g a pair (size 45) they’re not the lightest for the money, but with such high performance and quality we can live with a few extra grams.