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Spiuk Z16RC cycling shoes – review

Spiuk, (pronounced, well, however you fancy), are current sponsors of Caja Rural and Bretagne Séché Pro Continental teams and also sponsor several top level triathletes. Although they might fly under the radar in the UK, their kit is definitely worth checking out if you’re after something a little different but still has plenty of quality.

The Z16RC shoes are top of the Spiuk range, and just in case you’re worrying that they only come in the lime green colour we’re testing here, then don’t, they come in black, red or white as well. Overall, the design is pretty smart using the one green for the vast majority of the finish, with highlights in black – attractive and striking on the bike.

Construction-wise, the sole is full carbon – Spiuk call it ultralight SLX2 carbon – and the shoes are pretty light, too, our test set weighing in at just 474g for the pair in size ten, making them lighter than Rapha’s Climber’s Shoes in the equivalent size. Sure, they’re not super-lightweight like, for example, Giro’s ProLight SLX IIs, but they’re not bad at all for something that costs more than £100 less.

There are heel bumpers on the soles and these are replaceable. In fact, the bumpers on our test set were a little loose but that issue was easily remedied by removing the insoles and tightening the screw. Speaking of insoles, you get two sets with the Z16RCs, one labelled ‘cool’ and the other ‘hot’. Basically, you swap them out depending on the conditions as cool insoles are perforated to allow for a little more breathability.

The perforated vents on the side are called the ‘Drilling Shell System’ (DSS), designed to allow moisture out and improve breathability. This pairs up with two vents on the toe box of the shoe and two small vents at the front of the sole. It may not look quite as imposing as the ventilation on other shoes, but it does an impressive job, keeping my feet cool enough during warm rides, but not so well ventilated that winter riding would be completely out of the question.

One interesting feature of the upper is the ‘auto thermo mouldable shell’. Auto is the key part of that sentence as it’s not thermo-mouldable in the traditional sense as you don’t have to put the shoes in the oven. What Spiuk suggest is putting the shoes on in a warm room (around 20 degrees) tighten them up and walk about in them for half an hour or so on a soft surface like carpet. That makes the uppers mould slightly to the shape of your feet and improves fit.

Another, possibly intended, side effect of the mouldable uppers is that they have a certain amount of give to them. This means that the first few times you ride in them they’ll gradually adapt to the shape of your feet, so even if they feel a little tight at first they’ll give over time. Consequently, the fit I ended up with from these is as good as any shoe out there and makes them extremely comfortable.

The closure system is taken care of by two ‘Atop’ dials on each shoe, and it’s here that you’ll find the only way that these shoes possibly fall down slightly. Tightening is great, can be done in tiny increments, and the dials hold solidly even when you’re out of the saddle, but there’s no micro adjustment in the other direction. You turn them inwards towards the centre of the shoe to tighten, and the other way to release, but if you over tighten them you have to undo and start again as there’s no degree of adjustment the other way – they’re either done up properly or undone. It’s not a deal breaker, certainly, but it is a little irritating.

Conclusion

There’s very little to dislike about Spiuk’s Z16RCs. They’re pretty light, well made and extremely comfortable – which is easily the most important factor when it comes to bike shoes. The fit is excellent, and with the auto thermo-moulding technology most people should be able to find something that works for them without having to go to the bother of putting your shoes in the oven.

Pros

– Auto thermo-moulding is a great feature which makes the fit very adaptable
– Competitive weight for the price

Cons

– Lack of two-way micro adjustment on the dials is slightly annoying

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