The Vittoria Hora Evo is a high performance racing shoe but sufficiently comfortable and robust to make it a realistic offering for use beyond the WorldTour peloton.
The carbon sole is stiff, but not crippling, and the rubberised synthetic fabric of the upper makes it a candidate for year-round use.
The double closure mechanism – a ratcheted strap at the ankle and a dial-operated cord above the metatarsus – offered an impressive range of adjustment and a secure and comfortable fit.
The Hora Evo is not the lightest on the market, despite the flagship billing and pro clientele, and we’d recommend this as a shoe for riders seeking high, all-round performance rather than for no-compromise racers.
The unidirectional carbon sole is the single element most likely to command the £225 price tag. Its 3mm depth meant we didn’t feel isolated from the pedal. The sole was also sufficiently stiff to ensure that none of our (limited) power output was lost to flex. The line of mesh covered vents along the centre of the sole made an effective contribution to keeping our feet dry in the recent hot weather, despite an inevitable compromise in stiffness.
Despite having watched our step in the Hora Evos, the sole scuffed slightly, at the heel and the toe, ironically just fore and aft of the plastic blocks placed at either end of the shoe for protection.
While such minor scuffing is perhaps unavoidable, some further protection (a rubberised strip, perhaps) at toe and heel on future iterations might negate even this slight damage.
We took a detailed look at the Hora Evo’s technical features in our pre-test ‘first look‘. Here, we’ll report on their performance.
We began testing the Hora Evo in May at the start of what has proven to be a sustained spell of good weather, and despite the welcome but unusually high temperatures for Blighty, we didn’t suffer sweaty feet.
Ventilation in the upper (and, as previously mentioned, in the sole) proved effective. Vittoria have equipped this pro level offering with numerous panels through which air can pass and we’re pleased to report that their combined efforts were effective.
While conditions of recent weeks have been far from demanding, the uppers have proven sufficiently robust to withstand minor contact with the real world. The rubberised surface of the synthetic fabric proved simple enough to keep clean and shrugged off its admittedly very minor encounters with road debris. Winter will provide a greater challenge in this regard, of course, although by then we’d be likely to have encased them in shoe covers.
The closure mechanisms
The closure mechanisms on the Vittoria Hora EVO shoe were both very easy to use. The dial on the top of the shoe came equipped with a very neat handle that made tightening the steel cable, one threaded in a figure of eight through four mounting points, a doddle (turn clockwise to tighten; anti-clockwise to loosen).
Its ratcheted adjustments were placed at short increments, offering an impressive degree of adjustment. Vittoria bill the mechanism as “micro metric” – an accurate enough description. It’s replaceable, too, apparently, though we wouldn’t want the job of doing so.
The dial was simplicity itself to use. The only requirement of the wearer appeared to be to centre the tongue before tightening. It was possible to achieve an impressively tight fit, but at its tightest, the pressure was distributed disproportionately, pressing the dial into the foot rather than pulling evenly at the four mounting points.
Closure mechanism number two was a ratcheted strap at the ankle, another feature that proved extremely easy to use. Again, the only input required from the rider, aside from operating the lever, seemed to be ensuring that the right hand edge of the pad behind the strap remained outside the upper.
The increments of adjustment achievable from the strap were greater than those of the dial but still offered an impressive degree of fine tuning. Taken together, it was possible to achieve a secure but comfortable fit from the dial and ankle strap, making the toe the sole area of the shoe in which a closer fit might have been achieved.
Custom footbeds are becoming increasingly popular and, perhaps wisely, the insole supplied by Vittoria with the Hora Evo is one best described as neutral.
It did nothing to hamper feedback from the pedals and its perforated underside worked well with the aforementioned mesh covered vents in the sole to keep our feet cool.
The bottom line
Given Vittoria’s history and clientele (Stephen Roche was a customer during his Triple Crown-winning season) and the Hora Evo’s position at the top of the range, we’d expected a combination of slipper-like upper and plank-like sole. The reality was quite different.
If the lowest possible weight and unyielding stiffness are your goals, you’ll perhaps continue your search elsewhere. If, however, you’re seeking a shoe that offers a combination of performance, comfort, and robustness, the Vittoria Hora Evo could be for you.