I didn’t realize how badly my cycling wardrobe actually needed kicks like these until these bad boys showed up at my doorstep. For some time I’ve been running a set of SPD pedals (on my city bike) with a platform pedal on the other side for getting around town and urban rides. It isn’t great for hills, but being able to wear my usual sneakers keeps me from looking like a bike dork while in line for groceries at my local grocery store. I tend to leave clip-in shoes at home, as my cycling shoes are horrible if actual walking is involved, especially if a stop at the local pub is in the list of things to do. So when a sample pair of DZR Ovis shoes showed up at my door, I was ecstatic.
You don’t have to be a hipster riding a fixed gear bike in the city to appreciate having a set of these shoes. These sweet new SPD compatible offerings from new comer DZR certainly compliment the urban aesthetic though. Now that I have these shoes, I don’t know how I lived without them. I’m never going to have to clomp around the produce isle hunting for dinner while wearing racer-type ballerina shoes ever again. Even my beat-up Vans-style SPD sneakers have been put to shame. However, the most important thing is that I finally have a pair of shoes suitable for riding to the bar that don’t look funny paired with a button up shirt. I can’t wait to roll through the Mission wearing these babies- hipsters be jealous! It doesn’t hurt that the whole leather high-top sneaker look is completely in vogue right now too. Major props to DZR for being ahead of the trends on this one.
The Ovis shoe with its brown leather also matches the aesthetic of my new custom Wolfhound retro mountain cruiser. The Ovis is a stylish throwback to the days of canvas shoes. Like my new Wolfhound hardtail, the Ovis is retro inspired, obviously taking styling cues from the classic Chuck Taylor All-Stars shoes. (with a contemporary and modern twist) Instead of canvas, the Ovis upper is made of a comfortable soft leather. Most importantly though, they actually work great on the bike.
No one is going to confuse these for competition racing shoes, and this clearly isn’t their intended purpose. While I don’t plan to mountain bike in them much, (mostly because I don’t want to get them dirty or beat them up) I had a great time riding some single track in the east bay, and wouldn’t hesitate to ride in them. The only thing I’m concerned about is durability. I’d love to have a second pair- one to keep clean and wear them around town, and one to wear on group XC rides. Passing racer-boy XC types wearing these and some knickers would just be funny. Whatever it takes to motivate to put in the miles right?
I found that the Ovis a nice compromise between having enough stiffness to work as a recreational cycling shoe, but not so stiff that walking in them was a chore. When they first arrived, I tried wearing them all day while I ran errands, and while they aren’t as comfortable as my go-to sneakers, they weren’t bad.
Before I dug some cleats out of the tool box, I tried rolling around with these babies on flat pedals. They work well in this regard as well, although after rolling on 5.10 shoes for so long, they felt slippery on the platforms. This probably wouldn’t be an issue if you were fond of toe clips, which a lot of urban cyclist types run. The inner shank was noticeable with additional power going to the pedals. After installing the cleats, walkability was still great as well. My sample size is a men’s 8.5/ 42, which concerned me initially as I wear 9-9.5s or 42.5s with most shoe brands. I like a bit more room in the toe box, as I have a previous foot injury that keeps me from wearing shoes with a lack of cushion. DZR doesn’t offer half sizes, and while my feet weren’t pinched, I was initially concerned about them being too tight. However, after I mounted cleats on them and put some riding time in on the trail, they broke in well, and feel great. Since most of my shoes start off feeling good out of the box and hurt later, this was a welcome change.
If this post sounds like an ad for DZR shoes, I apologize, but sometimes a product comes along that really stands out- these shoes have quickly become a new favorite, and I have nothing but good things to say. Of course, when it comes to a product like shoes, we all have different feet, and impressions may vary. For me though, DZR hit the nail on the head for me with the retro/ classic aesthetic, and so far the only downside to the model I have is the white trim, which quickly became scuffed up. (see the gallery) However, DZR makes a model with black trim, including this pair we spotted at the Mission Workshop during the SF Lifecycles premier.
Unfortunately, further investigation found this model, the Kowloon, to be the women’s counterpart of the Ovis. (and therefore, only available in women’s sizing)