DZR is a small SF-Based shoe company known for their uber-hip SPD compatible sneakers. If you were to imagine the classic profile of Chuck Taylors, re-visited in leather and herringbone, then add SPD-compatibility, you’d end up with the best looking riding shoes available. You also would have nailed the look of their Ovis and Strasse shoes. I tested a pair of the Ovis shoes a while back, and I’m still rocking them. They’re ideal for clipping in to your urban machine for trips around the city and light excursions onto dirt as well.
DZR is back with some fresh new releases, and this time they set their mark on the all-mountain/ enduro crowd. This just happens to describe my favorite type of riding to a T, so I was super stoked to receive a pair of the new Mamba X midtops. With the Mamba, DZR again took a few styling cues from some classic shoes of the past. The blue hue of the upper reminds me of my favorite shoes from my skateboarding years- Vision Street Wear Blue Suede Hightops. (The profile actually is built more similarly to a Vans shoe though.) Unlike the canvas sneakers they’ve made in the past, the Mamba is considerably stiffer, and offers a lot more support. The high-top design provides some ankle protection as well.
Like the other models in the DZR line up, the Mamba is designed with comfort off the bike in mind as well as on the bike. The cleat is recessed enough that it barely contacts the ground while walking. However, the type of pedal you run will need to be taken into account. Engagement with Shimano PD-540 pedals was excellent, and I took advantage of it on an urban lunch ride in San Francisco, hitting up the Mount Sutro trails on my rigid single speed. I wore the shoes in to work, and threw my riding shorts on at lunch. The addition of the metal shank and the stiffer upper makes the shoes much more trail worthy over the stylish Ovis model. I had no problem pushing my 32-18t gearing up the hill, whereas I would be feeling the flex in the canvas upper in the Ovis. The Mamba is designed with performance in mind over the other offerings in the line, and the shoe delivered.
Running the shoes with the integrated cage of my PD-M530 pedal didn’t quite work as well. I was able to clip in, but the engagement didn’t feel as clean. This issue could likely be remedied with the addition of a few spacers under the cleat. (I’m not sure I want to give up the walk factor though- the clearance is nice to have) On the subject of cleat installation, there is ample room— with other shoe we’ve run in the past, the exacto knife has been put into play in order to get a proper fit for cleat placement. No issues here. I readjusted the cleat a few times in order to have enough clearance for the top strap, as it protrudes slightly to the inside, and was rubbing on my crank arm. Once I dialed in my cleat placement, I didn’t have any further issues.
The Mamba shoe is available in black and white and the blue X version seen here. White shoes taken into the dirt don’t stay white long, but as pictured above, the blue X version looks great covered in a layer of dust. Did I mention I freakin’ love blue? I wish the shoes had a pull-on tab at the rear to assist in pulling them on, but overall, I’m super into the Mamba. Size-wise I generally wear a 42-43 depending on the manufacturer, and I find the 42 comfortable on my foot without feeling too snug.
Check them out: DZR Shoes