Those Shoes: Vittoria Rock mtb
I haven't completely given up on the fast life, so I want a shoe what will keep me out of the slow lane. For what cycling shoes cost, I certainly do not want to buy a new pair every year, so I want a shoe that is durable, nor do I want something that will contribute to leg fatigue on those longer hillier rides, or have me hobbling around afterwards because they are just plain uncomfortable.Those are the three characteristics I look for in a good cycling shoe - performance, durability and comfort. I guess style makes the list as well, though a ways down from the other three - I am that guy who prefers teeshirts and shorts, remember.
Anyway, these are the brand new Vittoria Rock mtb shoes, I mentioned picking up at the Encino Velodrome quarterly swap meet a few days ago. They combine all three of those most important qualities I look for. Rubber at the toes and, typical of Vittoria shoes, the hard plastic (lower half) of the heel keep those two fast-wearing areas from opening up prematurely. The combination ratchet and wire closure mechanisms allow for good secure fit - important for both performance and comfort. The wire dial, though considerably larger that the dials on Vittoria's road shoes, also seems to work significantly better.
You know, for years and years, shoe manufacturers' one concession to comfort was to let the wearer buy an aftermarket insole insert from the local drugstore. The insides of those model shoes tended to be board flat and thin, bolt those cleats on a little too tightly and you would feel each one on the balls of your feet. Look inside these shoes and you will notice the extra padding for comfort and support where you want it (and did this just start to sound like a bra commercial?) The mesh venting helps keep your dogs cool and dry, as I found out when I chose a deeper passage through a stream crossing on their maiden voyage.
The Rock mtb shoes come with a little packet of studs that screw into the sole at the front - I haven't decided what they are for yet, but don't think they would do much for traction (unless you are maybe in snow), so perhaps they add an extra level of protection against rocks while pedaling, much like a chainring bash guard does. I don't know.
Vittoria may not be quite as widespread a name that some of the other manufacturers are but, whether you ultimately decide to go another route with your shoe choice, don't overlook the Vittoria Rock mtb shoes. They have a lot going for them.