A lot can happen in 15 seconds. In just a quarter of a minute, the universe expands by 1km, the US national debt grows by $1 million and you could have read this opening paragraph.
There are a lot of things that definitely can’t happen in 15 seconds. I’d love a 15 second workday, commute or annual review. On the way to my ‘longer than 15 second’ workday there are two sets of traffic lights on the final straight. The time between the first going green and the second going red is, you guessed it, 15 seconds.
Sometimes I can do the 147m between them in under 15 seconds, in which case I derive far too much pleasure from this rather mundane achievement and am ready to take on the workday. On other days I can’t quite manage it, and I start the day in a huff (irrational and childish I know). One of the most important factors in being able to cover this distance in time is clipless pedals. They help me get a fast start and mean much more power can be transferred to the pedals. I also reap their benefits (better grip, handling and power transfer) during the rest of my commute. For both these reasons I almost always commute with clipless shoes.
READ: Best Urban Cycling Shoes
Clipless Urban Cycling Shoes
While this type of footwear allows me to enter the workday happy, they are usually uncomfortable and impractical to walk in and so necessitate the lugging in of another pair of shoes – only adding to the hassle of a work morning. Ideally one wants clipless shoes that are comfortable to walk in.
This is the problem DZR have tried to solve with their S240 shoes which they describe as a ‘midtop clipless bike shoe with the bikepacker in mind’, and which cost $149/€125. While we’re not necessarily bikepackers here at Discerning Cyclist, but akin to them we do require the ability to both walk and cycle in our shoes. They say that the same shoes can help you get the green lights and also be worn all day.
On the bike these shoes equip you to run both flat and clipless pedals. There is a removable (with allen key) rubber plate which allows you to switch between these two configurations. When riding on flat pedals these shoes perform very well.
They are very grippy which kept my shoes stuck to the pedal well, avoiding the almost immeasurable pain that a pedal to the shin brings.
In addition to the traction they were also quite comfy whilst not being so flexible that I felt robbed of too much power each stroke. As someone who loves riding clipless, a shoe’s performance while I’m clipped in is the cycling performance aspect I hold paramount. The S240s performed admirably in this department.
The cleat positioning on the shoe is easily adjustable and I was quickly able to find my optimum configuration. In no time I was zipping around town and felt at all times well connected to my bike. When I was putting out very high power (yes it was trying to catch a green light), I could feel some flex but given this is a comfortable shoe that can be walked in, I can’t really hold it to race level stiffness requirements. There are 4 walking boot style hooks you can use to lace the shoe up which makes sure the rider’s foot is well secured and supported.
DZR City Cycling Shoes
While threats to cyclists such as lorries, rogue car door openings and tram lines are relatively well known and mitigated against there is one threat that deserves to be in that pantheon of pain but is scarcely mentioned. I am, of course, referring to getting one’s laces caught in the chainring. Mercifully, DZR have added an elastic lace catch which securely holds your laces to avoid this harrowing reality.
Despite all the other clever Swiss/American engineering on this shoe, the feature that my mum likes most is the reflective badges on each heel. In her defence, they are quite luminous. On the bike these tick the box.
One thing the cycling world is not short of are shoes which perform well on the bike. The vast majority of these however are as comfortable to walk in as paving slabs. This is where the DZR differentiates itself from the rest once more. Thanks in large part to the variable flex shank, these shoes feel comfortable while walking, as if they were any other pair of non cycling midtops.
The variable flex shank means the sole stays stiff when chasing green lights on the bike but allows flex in the sole when wandering about on foot. In terms of feel, walking is identical regardless of the presence of a cleat. The difference however does come, as when walking on slightly rougher ground, the cleat can sometimes make a slight clipping noise. This is a relatively minor issue though.
In terms of looks, this pair of shoes split my household more than any other, with reactions ranging from manly nods of approval to mild disgust. Thankfully aesthetics are the most subjective metric and the easiest to ascertain from the photos. So I’ll leave it up to you to decide.
While the suede finish is definitely what DZR went for and achieved, it perhaps isn’t the best finish if you wanted to ride these shoes in the wet. In previous years DZR might not have been synonymous with durability but these shoes feel well built and my previous pair of DZR still look and function great despite the thousand plus miles they have already done.
DZR have made these shoes perform well on the bike, whether or not you ride clipless, and have made them comfortable off the bike. Hopefully from now on I’ll be finishing my commute happy more often.