With a classic lace-up look, the new dhb Dorica enters the fray as a smart entry-level road shoe which pairs its good looks with a fair amount of stiffness and ventilation.
Having introduced four new shoes to the road market at the back end of last year, British brand dhb is hoping to shake things up and the Dorica is one of two shoes slotting at £70.
I've also been testing the other £70 offering, the Troika, and, without wanting to give the game away, both shoes are largely similar in character - other than the fact the Dorica has laces and the Troika swaps in three velcro straps. If you want to move up the range, the excellent Aeron Carbon shoe adds a micro-adjustable dial and carbon sole for £120.
dhb Dorica Road Shoe
- Price: £70.00
- Sizes: 39-48
- Size tested: 42
- Colours: White; black
- Website: Wiggle
Let's focus on the Dorica here, though. It has a synthetic upper with ventilation holes running the length of the foot, including some down the ankle and behind the heel. The material used is robust, and even survived some pretty horrific British winter riding conditions without any noticeable damage.
Although not the supplest material, the shoes are certainly comfortable enough and I didn't notice too many hotspots or areas of discomfort on longer rides.
Ventilation is pretty good thanks not only to the perforated areas across the top, but also the three vents along the bottom of the shoes, creating a decent flow of air from front to back.
Both the Dorica and Troika shoes are built around a nylon sole, and in both instances the material – while naturally not as firm as more expensive alternatives like carbon – does a decent job when it comes to stiffness and power transfer. There is also a rubber heel buffer, along with a rubber strip at the front, to help when walking.
The biggest difference between these Dorica shoes and the Troikas, as mentioned, is the closure system, with the Dorica offering traditional laces. As you probably know, laces have made a resurgence with roadies in recent years, and offer the opportunity to fine-tune the fit, given that you can individually adjust tightness through each lace hole.
The Doricas laces are effective at securing your feet in place and haven't slipped or come undone on long rides. Performance aside, it gives the shoes a really classy look, too - on a par with models from Giro or Dromarti - and that masks their entry-level RRP of £70.
However, as I've found with other dhb shoes, fit is an issue. Wiggle make clear you should size down, which I did as I opted for 42s instead of my usual 43s, but they still came up a little on the large side. Weight, meanwhile, is 270g/shoe - about right for a nylon-soled shoe at the price but heavier than the lace-up Mavic Aksium shoe, which has a claimed weight of 245g (and costs £20 more).
dhb's apparel is known for hitting a sweet spot between performance and value for money, and that continues with these shoes. They look good, offer a decent level of power transfer and provide enough ventilation for most kinds of riding. They are not the lightest - and you need to be careful with sizing - but that is compensated for by the quality features and value-for-money price.
- Good looking
- Well priced
- Strong entry-level performance
- Sizing comes up big