I’ve been running a set of the DZR Ovis shoes for a while now, and they’re by far the most stylish clip-in shoe I’ve ever owned. (check out my review on ih8bikes for details) As a fan of their stuff, you can bet I was stoked when a brand-new preproduction sample of their latest offerings recently showed up at my doorstep to check out. Like the other models in their line, they look like a great looking sneaker first, as opposed to the ballerina-style shoe the XC racer guys wear. (Most of the time people don’t even realize they are cycling shoes until you show them the cleat bolted in on the bottom.) The only downside? Unlike the Ovis, these new shoes didn’t feel very good on my feet. Super bummer.
Luckily, DZR is based in San Francisco, and since I work in the city, I hopped on my bike and cruised over to check out their HQ, and talk about shoes. I tend to have more issues than most when it comes to overly stiff shoes due to a bit of a mishap a few years back, (where the bones of my right exploded into little pieces over jumping a gap) so I figured I’d try some different models on.
DZR has been known primarily for making good looking shoes that are great for around town. Their tagline is “SPD Compatible Sneakers,” which gives you a good idea of their intended use. However, they’re changing it up with the newest releases, and stepping into the enduro and trail category with the release of their Task line.
The Task line-up is made up of the Mamba and Dice models, and includes a women’s specific Link model as well. With the new additions, DZR added metal reinforcement to their nylon shank to stiffen it up. The new padded upper also features what they are calling their power strap.
Back to the two Dice models: I found I preferred the synthetic uppers over the leather version. The tan model reminds me a lot of a Brooks saddle: stiff initially, but after breaking in, molded to your foot. However, as someone who has had issues with overly stiff racer shoes, my feet can be a bit picky. (shattering my right foot while riding a few years back doesn’t help any either) As mountain bikers, the synthetic version is a better choice, as our riding conditions vary considerably more than typical commuters and urban riders. (I’m also not a fan of white or light colors for my gear, as it only looks good until the first time I get it dirty) The shoes are solidly constructed though, so if you are just looking for a good looking shoe for around town that doubles as a shoe for the weekends that matches your Brooks saddle and seat bag, you are in luck.
I ended up swapping the tan Dice for the high-top Mamba X model, which is much more inline with the kind of riding I like to do. First rides on the Mamba have been great, and the shoe offers significant pedaling performance over the initial models for off road use, while still maintaining the all day walkaround comfort. (read up on my first impressions of the new Mamba X model on Ih8bikes)
DZR created a cool edit showing a bit of the behind the scenes and the construction of their shoes.
Check it out: DZR Shoes