Cycling specific shoes are one of those things that you either really care about or you don’t. Most casual riders roll with whatever flat pedals are on their bikes and go on their merry way.
When I first started cycling, that was my general idea as well. That’s until I discovered clip-less pedals. Yes, you can debate whether or not clip-less pedals are efficient or practical. I personally dig the feel of clip-less pedals as my pedal strokes are more efficient and have a greater transfer of power.
That being said, clip-less compatible shoes have a reputation of looking mega dorky or wildly unfashionable.
DZR made it their mission to change that. If you don’t know, DZR is the sibling of stylish bag company, Mission Workshop. Their line of commuter shoes have been popping up in all sorts of style guides and fashion spreads. They’ve utilized the same concepts that drives their commuter bag designs to create a highly functional and practical line of shoes for the urban cyclist.
While most of their shoes come in a wide range of sizes, they have some that are specifically designed for rider with smaller feet. Many of their designs are unisex, which is greatly appreciated.
The Tosca’s I own are about a year old. I received them as an early birthday gift (thanks Keri!) last November.
When I initially unboxed the beauties I noticed that one of the SPD plates was missing. I e-mailed DZR, but never got a response. Luckily one of my buddies working at my old shop hooked me up with an extra plate and all was right in the world.
At first the shoes felt a little strange to wear. They were semi stiff soled, but also forgiving like a regular shoe. I was so used to the uber stiff feel of mountain bike shoes. It didn’t take long for the shoes to break in though and now they are super comfy.
If you’ve ever owned a pair of high top Converse, you’ll probably enjoy the fit of the Tosca’s. I was a huge fan of Chuck’s and Van’s back in high school, so the fit was like catching up with an old friend 🙂
Some of my favorite features of the Tosca’s include the rear reflective hits. There’s a reflective stripe up the back and a little chain link shaped reflector to match. The chain link theme carries over to the soles of the shoes which are grippy and work well for walking around.
The shoe laces on the Tosca’s are really long. Longer than any I’ve had on a pair of regular old shoes. The reason for this is that the laces can be tucked away under a piece of elastic on the tongue of the shoe. This is important as you won’t get tangled in your drive train while cruising around town. The subtle, but well thought out details really set these shoes apart.
My only real issue, if you can even call it that, with the shoes is that I get some pretty annoying cleat strike when I walk around on pavement. Hearing crunch, crunch makes me cringe as cleats aren’t something you want to have to change that often. If DZR could somehow add a little extra thickness to the sole or recess the cleat area just a tad more, these shoes would be damn near perfect!
A quick note on the sizing, before I forget, the shoes I have are a size 39. I usually wear a women’s 7.5-8 (US sizing) depending on the company. I have wide feet for a lady and these shoes fit me very nicely, especially after breaking them in.
Overall I highly suggest the DZR Tosca’s for city riding. The shoes are comfortable for medium length rides (in my book that’s usually 30 miles or less) and for walking around town. I prefer to wear my Tosca’s in the fall/winter as they are a little too warm for my liking in the summer.
I’ll most likely purchase DZR’s slip on, low top, Jetlag shoes next spring so I can have fashionable SPD shoes for all year round!
Check out DZR online or at a bike shop near you. The Tosca’s will run you $120 retail, inline with or even less expensive than a lot of SPD offerings.