14 April, 2010

Leather Touring Shoes

We have long wanted to stock a traditional touring shoe that was reasonably priced, shoes that you can wear on a club ride or with office clothes.

The SRT707's uppers are full grain leather and the sole is rubber for easy walking. The midsole is fiberglass-reinforced nylon for comfort on long rides. They are SPD cleat compatible.

I know that I said  VO was not going to get into apparel, at least not for a year or two, but I really wanted a pair of these shoes for myself. And since I wanted them, wouldn't others? I've owned a couple of pairs of vintage touring shoes and loved the way the looked, but they never fit quite right. These are a little wider than the old European models, though I would call them medium width by modern standards, and the fit is much better. I also like that I can wear them with jeans or kahki shorts and they look like nice simple sports shoes, rather than futuristic carbon fiber space pods.

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

I miss my leather shoes with wood soles from the late 70's The sole broke in 2 the hills near the Belgium border.

Charlotte said...

Did I hear SPD compatible?

SOLD! Where do I buy?

Matt Madden said...

Wow. Those look pretty cool. I've been thinking about new shoes, and prefer laces (to the dismay of my riding friends). These are in the running.

Anonymous said...

"With office clothes"? Not with the big white logos. Any chance of stocking them without those?

Anonymous said...

Does the fiberglass midsole insert complement a bike that Palins, er, I mean plains ?

I'm terribly afraid that any stiffener might be too stiff and therefore affect how much I think about how flexibly wonderful my flexible Cannondale Caad 3 frame is.

Is there any way you could arrange some sort of double-triple-blind comparison amongst two different riders that have virtually the same preferences and then use a very low number of test runs so that the matter of how this stiffener plate affects my overall speed can be properly evaluated ? FYI I usually like to speed along at a speedy 8 to 12 MPH on the way to my rest stop at the Dunkin' Donuts. Sometimes I get really hungry so speed is of the essence !

Finally - did the old French Konstructeurs have any secret ways of lacing their shoes that could reduce my wheel flop ?

Man, where did my Maple frosted donut go ?
Thanks, BQ fan

patates frites said...

They look nice, but I would sure rather not have the huge "Exustar" logo there.

Brian said...

Sweet!

Just let us know how exustar sizing compares with Sidi sizing- been looking for something like this myself for quite a while.

Tim K said...

Nice....

I'd love to see these on a foot/leg, saying someone wearing them with jeans or khakis ... and maybe shorts, though even though you say they work like that, I can't imagine them looking tolerable (oh, wait, unless you mean *bike* shorts, and in that case, I guess they'd just look like some old Duegis something).

XO-1.ORG said...

"Big white logos"? I don't see any. What's there is much smaller than a Nike swoosh or adidas stripes, and would likely disappear nicely with some quick use of a black sharpie. And do you seriously think the shoe company is going to sell them without logos, just for a handful of V-O nerds with logo hang-ups?

As for the lame BQ commentary, why not keep the comments here on-topic? And if you don't like BQ, don't subscribe. Snarkiness is never attractive nor appreciated.

- Signed with my real name because I don't hide behind "anonymous,"
Chris Kostman, a real BQ fan

Doug said...

LIKE

Justine Valinotti said...

In the pre-SPD days, Avocet and a couple of other companies used to make walkable cycling shoes. In fact, I rode a pair on my first two tours in Europe. I haven't seen anything like them in ages; those Exustar shoes in the photo might be the reincarnation.

AJH said...

Well done VO! I've tried the Reynolds shoes, they are slim fit and size 7.5 is designated EU 41 which is slightly too long. Walking about for an hour produced a blister on the little toe despite the larger size. The other shoes I've seen for sale are at Alex Singer for about 300 Euro! They look well designed.

Anonymous said...

I have been using a pair of those since last year, and although they are my favourite pair of cycling shoes, they are certainly not the best fitting. The length and width of a EU size 45 compares well with Shimano and Nike, but they are oddly tall in the foot. I'm still experimenting with insoles to reduce the volume. Oh, and they scuff quite easily, as the sole is shorter and narrower than the leather upper. Apart from that, great shoes, good looking and comfortable to walk in.

Michael

Max M. said...

I have an old pair of Diadora touring shoes that I refuse to throw away as they meet the same criteria of looking decent with regular clothes, walkable for long distances(after a flat or wreck) and grippy for my flat pedals.
Plus these look much more appropriate if you have a vintage ride. I would just take a Sharpie to the logo if it bothers me too much.

Anonymous said...

are these available in all sizes listed on the chart?

Anonymous said...

Chris,

I'm a huge BQ fan, but anon has a point. while the magazine has no equal, those tests are something out of my Jr High physics class, along with constant, "no matter what it is, the constructeurs did it better".
Bob Zeidler another real BQ fan.

Chris Kulczycki said...

It's interesting that someone thought these shoes are "tall". My complain with most older bike shoes is that there is not enough volume in the toe and mid-foot area. Human feet do vary a lot in instep height and I suspect that's the crux of many sizing issues.

We stock the shoe in most, but not all sizes. In the future we'll have all available sizes. See the web site for whats in stock.

I no longer read BQ. The tests and editorial opinions turned me off. Though I do quickly skim the copy we get at VO. I'm considering backing a new publication along the same lines.

Anonymous said...

Chris (K) - please tell us more about the possible publication!
I like BQ, and subscribe, but I think the tests and opinions therein have to be taken with a grain of salt. Your actual mileage may vary, etc., etc.

Ross Winchester IV said...

Dude if you think these things look good with jeans or khaki shorts you have no fashion sense whatsoever.

Uncle Ankle said...

My favourite cycling shoes are my Puma King Exec astroturf soccer shoes. My knees won't let me use SPD, so compatibility's not an issue for me.

These (kangaroo leather!) shoes have that off-center soccer lacing and a tongue with an elastic strap that folds over the laces. This makes them very comfortable with clips/straps, and also holds the laces in place. The stiffness of the sole is a nice compromise between firm and walkable (after all, you ARE supposed to run in them).

I had to grind down some of the nubs on the sides of the sole for safe clip entry, but that was quick work.

They do have big Puma-swooshes, though.

Anonymous said...

Yes, definitely want better touring shoes than my mtn bike ones. Appreciate others' comments about size/fit as I'm right on the cusp of two sizes. Thanks...
Jack

Anonymous said...

Yes, definitely want better touring shoes than my mtn bike ones. Appreciate others' comments about size/fit as I'm right on the cusp of two sizes. Thanks...
Jack

Anonymous said...

Chris,

Great idea! You may also want to consider the less expensive Exustar Stelvio SP 705 model...

Tom SVDP said...

The hard sole is what is important, I've worn down the ball of my foot on pedals and one company came out with a halfhearted line of cycling shoes and about half as stiff as they should be. Using astro-turf soccer shoes sounds like an interesting idea but for the same reason as above, I'm not sure if the sole would be stiff enough for a long ride. Cleats basically are a bit of a hassle to me and I believe it can be a matter of being lazy and not caring to unclip when stopping.

Anyway, I was at the library and checking out the recent bicycling magazine and it had some VO fenders in I believe an article on products for commuters. Probably an article to read with a grain of salt.

Kilroy said...

Greetings,

The offering of this cycling shoe is a positive move. Logos are everywhere and have become a part of life. It would take a bold comlpany to omit their use. I would be willing to buy a pair and help stimulate the economy.

I'm not sure how BQ came into the conversation. By the way, what is BQ?

Anonymous said...

here's to another cycling publications! I too am not impressed by BQ and would love something closer to "Bicycle Times" but not quite as rad, if you know what I mean. The Riv Reader was great while it lasted.

Dan S.

NatMc said...

I'm with Ross on this one. I don't want to start a fight or anything, but, while these shoes are certainly "understated," no one is going to be fooled into thinking they are "normal" shoes. logo or not, they look a bit off. my philosophy with bike shoes (as with most bike apparel) is that they are special equipment that truly do work better than street shoes and trying to hybridize them is only going to possibly degrade the performance but will NEVER make them totally blend in. So i say, get some regular old bike shoes, preferably low-key, darkish mtn shoes, and just accept it, people are gonna see your shoes and they're gonna know they ain't normal shoes. at least with true bike shoes, there's a small chance people will recognize them for what they are and say, "oh, it's a cyclist, right on." but with these incognito street-shoe wannabes, more than likely people will just think you're a complete dork or that you have some sort of disability requiring special shoes. i mean, what, are you embarrassed to be associated with cycling or something?

Anonymous said...

I don't like feeling white, middle-aged, and obsessive/picky/petty, which is, I feel, the tone for most of publications. Ick. I would rather park my lugged bikes for good if that's what it takes to keep the mantle of geekdom off. I'll buy a beach cruiser if I have to.

Love the shoes, and will definitely get them. More comments on how they fit will be appreciated.

mw

Anonymous said...

I like BQ's approach to testing. They appear to describe their methods, data and results in enough detail that the tests could be replicated if someone wanted to seriously challenge their results.

I have no idea how well their testing standards stack up to mainstream science standards, but at least they are trying to do something objective.

Are their other cycling publications attempting to perform similar tests? If so, I'd subscribe to those too.


--Wayne Jacobsen

omd5 said...

It's hard to find a critical review of anything, and it's even harder for bike stuff. BQ provides one, and it's refreshing, even if I don't always agree 100%.

The overly positive reviews in Bicycle Times really disappointed me. They'll briefly indicate they had a number of problems with a product, then recommend it for generic reasons. Perhaps that's what you have to do if you want manufactures to send you products to test. The reviews are still interesting, but not as useful as they could be.

web said...

Due respect, but I think the Vittoria 1976 in black is simply a better looking shoe - ant it's also SPD compatible. No idea which shoe performs better but just sayin'...
For those that are unfamiliar, check it out. Simple, clean, understated shoe that looks very much the classic...

Anonymous said...

mw said:
I don't like feeling white, middle-aged, and obsessive/picky/petty, which is, I feel, the tone for most of publications. Ick. I would rather park my lugged bikes for good if that's what it takes to keep the mantle of geekdom off. I'll buy a beach cruiser if I have to.

Love the shoes, and will definitely get them. More comments on how they fit will be appreciated.

mw

4/16/10 12:05 PM

Um, 97.3478% of the customers in this market niche are as you say....

Anonymous said...

For the life of me, I don't understand why anyone in this day and age relies upon old-style, vendor-sponsored media for any information. The conflict of interest is plain to see. While this has always been true, in the past there haven't been alternatives. When I buy something these days, heck, I don't wait for Buycycling or Bicycling Quarterly to give their benediction, rather, I google it and read a couple of threads/blog posts.

If VO wanted to something forward looking rather than derivative and redolent of 1994 like the Riv Reader, they should think along those lines. Maybe distilling and reprocessing the best of VO blog comments, etc.

But whatever they do, they have to overcome the conflict of interest issue that, deservedly or not, haunts BQ. So I'm wondering what is novel and interesting in this new VO-backed publication that is more than just pushing VO products or stylistic sensibility.

Anonymous said...

Big Picture: BQ has influenced (and inspired) the frame building movement in the northwest…and not just for all things “constructor.” BQ along with a very few others (VO included in that short list) are broadening the bicycle market place in a very healthy and wonderful way. Amazing to see really!

Personally: Although I read every issue the day it arrives and wish it was a monthly publication, I find myself groaning at times…and skipping through sections. That said, I would not necessarily want BQ to change because within that strong voice (that I often do not agree with) there is a very refreshing (noncommercial) honesty and life-long love and experience of riding, history, and bicycle culture.

VO backed publication: I would love to see new cycling publications with strong, genuine voice and vision. Go for it please!

Anonymous said...

I've had a pair of these for about a year. The midsole is plenty stiff, which is a good thing in my book, but you wouldn't want to take any long walks in them.

They have little to no padding in the uppers, so they're not quite as comfy as my Shimano RT's, but fine for a 4 hour ride.

One minor annoyance is the stitched seam inside the toe box that runs across my big toe.

Anonymous said...

I went to the Vittoria site and they had the 1976 model under a heading which read: INDOOR.

Since very little of my bike touring is indoors, I guess I'll have to stick with the Exustar.

Anonymous said...

"Um, 97.3478% of the customers in this market niche are as you say...."

sounds like a really dull niche. I'll steer clear if you don't mind.

Sprocketboy said...

These shoes are certainly a welcome addition to the market. I recently finished a restoration of a classic 80s racing bike and discovered that current shoes, with hook-and-loop closures, do not fit under toe straps, and of course current cleats are different from the original simple flat ones. I found a pair of Adidas Eddy Merckx shoes on E-Bay that luckily fit but old shoes tend to be on the small side.

On the subject of BQ, although I am not a randonneur, nor share the editor's obsession with French constructeur bikes, I find it an informative read. The best tests in cycling are in the German magazine TOUR, which go to amazing, and quite scientific, lengths. BQ is very upfront about how the testing is done and it is clear that while the views may be personal they are substantiated, unlike U.S. mainstream mags like Bicycling, or even worse, Road Bike, which have never, ever suggested a bike was poorly-designed, badly-made or not good value for money. It is pretty obvious why Chris may not be very keen on BQ, however.

Joel said...

Anon 4/17 @2:31 a.m.:

In my opinion blogs and online review are less trustworthy than traditional publications. Magazines give their street address, provide the real names of their editorial staff, reporters and publisher. Moreover, you can see their advertisements and know who is paying their bills.

Bloggers can be anyone from anywhere. Maybe the blogger is an average person expressing their heartfelt opinions. Maybe the blogger is a marketer paid to generate a buzz.

Yelp recently has been under investigation for demanding money from retailers and restaurants to edit out bad customer reviews. Somehow I doubt Yelp is all that unique. Unfortunately, there is no good way of knowing.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 4/17/10 1:06 PM

Go right ahead, but them's the facts....

Anonymous said...

Anon 4/17/10 9:10 AM said:

Big Picture: BQ has influenced (and inspired) the frame building movement in the northwest…and not just for all things “constructor.” BQ along with a very few others (VO included in that short list) are broadening the bicycle market place in a very healthy and wonderful way. Amazing to see really!

Personally: Although I read every issue the day it arrives and wish it was a monthly publication, I find myself groaning at times…and skipping through sections. That said, I would not necessarily want BQ to change because within that strong voice (that I often do not agree with) there is a very refreshing (noncommercial) honesty and life-long love and experience of riding, history, and bicycle culture.

VO backed publication: I would love to see new cycling publications with strong, genuine voice and vision. Go for it please!

+1 on that!!!

Pete Ruckelshaus said...

First, does anyone here remember the Le Coq Sportif touring shoes that were pretty popular back in the late 70's and early 80's? They were good shoes, adn fit my foot well.

Now, not to take away VO's sales, but if you're looking for a completely pedal-able shoe that looks good on and off the bike, take a look at Keens - http://www.keenfootwear.com/wall/shoes/men/pedal The "Austin", "Springwater" and "Commuter" are all SPD compatible, and the Austin looks identical to its non-cycling brother...which looks pretty darned good with jeans or khakis.

Pete

BrotherTrucker said...

maple bars are awesome! oh, nice shoes. Does the same company make a work boot? Isn't it against the law somewhere, anywhere to drastically change the subject of a conversa...oh look a chicken.

Anonymous said...

BrotherTrucker said...
maple bars are awesome! oh, nice shoes. Does the same company make a work boot? Isn't it against the law somewhere, anywhere to drastically change the subject of a conversa...oh look a chicken.

4/20/10 2:52 AM



I think you may be right. What were we talking about?

(From the movie 'Up').

Anonymous said...

Hi , , I ordered from VO and just received these shoes.
1. Great SPD shoes , not so good for toe clip and straps , the thickness of the sole at the pedal spindle location is enough to elevate the shoe so there is too much contact with my toeclips , even with the boxy toeclips that VO sells , which give the princess and pea under the matress effect , with my older toeclips, absolutely too much contact.
2 . The leather uppers very nice and have that vintage look, however the sole is very contemporary with modern racing shoes.
3 . Don't expect to cycle to your favorite hiking trail and go for a comfortable hike , the ground contact is very narrow and the heel is not wide enough for stable walking on uneven surface , great for light walking at the market, parking lot etc.
4 . good quality and value for the price.
just my two bits
regards, TomR Gainesville, VA

Mark Young said...

Chris,

Have you considered offering a fixed-fixed wheel, such as what would have been run on early racing bikes? I'm looking for a 36 spoke fixed-fixed wheelset....

Thanks,
Mark

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Hi , , I ordered from VO and just received these shoes.
1. Great SPD shoes , not so good for toe clip and straps , the thickness of the sole at the pedal spindle location is enough to elevate the shoe so there is too much contact with my toeclips , even with the boxy toeclips that VO sells , which give the princess and pea under the matress effect , with my older toeclips, absolutely too much contact.
2 . The leather uppers very nice and have that vintage look, however the sole is very contemporary with modern racing shoes.
3 . Don't expect to cycle to your favorite hiking trail and go for a comfortable hike , the ground contact is very narrow and the heel is not wide enough for stable walking on uneven surface , great for light walking at the market, parking lot etc.
4 . good quality and value for the price.
just my two bits
regards, TomR Gainesville, VA

4/20/10 1:36 PM

Tom:

Try the new Tall MKS clips....

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
BrotherTrucker said...
maple bars are awesome! oh, nice shoes. Does the same company make a work boot? Isn't it against the law somewhere, anywhere to drastically change the subject of a conversa...oh look a chicken.

4/20/10 2:52 AM



I think you may be right. What were we talking about?

(From the movie 'Up').

4/20/10 11:08 AM

Hey - you edited the important part out of my post! ('Squirrel!') It's not an insult, it's a quote from 'Up'....
Bummer.

guidon said...

It seems difficult to get a shoe stiff enough for cycling, yet comfortable enough for walking. I have a pair of Diadora ankle-high police cycling shoes that seem to have dialed in the formula nicely. I have a pair of Lowa light hiking shoes that have a very stiff shank, but the toe box is so huge they don't fit in normal toe clips (I'm ordering a pair of deep clips to help with this problem).

Henri said...

I've never had a pair of cycling shoes, just regular with toe clips. I'm thinking about going to a SPD system. I ride a salsa casseroll, so all road, some maybe gravel, but all road. I don't race, but want good performance on the road. I'm older, sometimes my feet cramp off the bike, wonder if I need stiffness. Can anyone actually using these comment on:
1. stiffness vs. say bontrager road or similar? Are these stiff, or just stiff for a walkable shoe?
2. walkability is good, but I won't need the office aspect or much trail walking.
3. What about waterproof? My last shoes fell apart after a rain.
4. I would like to have available for toe clips also, but less important than comfort/efficiency on road use. I am not touring in these, but I want to go longer distances as I work into it (last year metric centuries were all I did)
So, are they efficient at road use, comfortable and good for foot care, and waterproof?

Thanks for any advice.

- Richard Kleim ( richardkleim@gmail.com )

Scott said...

I received my pair last week, I have to give them a big thumbs up. My feet tend to be a little wide, these were much more comfortable than some of my other cycling specific footwear. I used them with MKS toeclips and MKS Touring pedals .. perfect fit, no issues with my toes being pinched ..

Scott

Paul Drummond IV said...

I wore those shoes with some knee-high white socks and Khaki shorts downtown annapolis last week, and your right --they looked great--People could not stop staring and pointing in my direction. Thanks for the fab fashion advice.

alan said...

I bought a pair of these shoes elsewhere, as VO doesn't handle them in size 48. Initial impression after wearing them around the house and a short ride is very favorable. Stiff enough for riding so as not to aggrevate my plantar fascia, easy to get in and out of toe clips and straps, enough room for orthotics after I put a thinner insole in them, and easy enough to walk in for going into market and chasing down birds with my binoculars on Sat. rides. Much, much better than any other shoe I've tried with touring pedals, straps and clips.

alan said...

I forgot to add to that last post that leather uppers are GREAT. Conform to the shape of your foot quidkly, unlike every other modern cycling shoe with synthetic uppers!

trainers shoes said...

I used a pair of these trainers shoes since last year, and although they are my two favorites for cycling, certainly not the best editing. The length and width of an EU size 45 is comparable to Shimano and Nike, but they are unusually large base. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Commenting on the leather shoe conversation, I have been cycling for 42 years, exclusively with toe clips. I have tried many different brands. And we all know that shoe models seem to come and then go. I have been riding Reynolds touring shoes for 15 years now, and feel they are the finest shoes you can ride with. But the next guy or gal may or may not agree. But the Reynolds are hand made, all leather, and worth repairing when the sole wears out.
Just my humble opinion.
Paul Fuller.

3d ultrasounds said...

Wow. Those look pretty cool. I've been thinking about new shoes. And This is perfect For me .