I’ve long been a fan of the skate type shoe for messing about both on and off bikes as they are so comfortable. I’ve seen the clip in style skate shoe before and always been a bit skeptical that the combination of soft grippy sole and an spd cleat wouldn’t work. So when Chrome offered me the chance to test a pair i was all ears…or feet.
The shoe is of made of a cordura fabric with a polyurethane coating for water repellency with a Panaracer vulcanised rubber sole. The area where the cleat attaches has a reinforced area to support the cleat. The shoe has reflective laces and panels to help be seen at night and the insole is cushioned for impacts.
The Chrome website states that you should buy a half size down from your normal size for a good fit. Unfortunately I ordered my normal size (that’ll teach me to be too excited about being offered the shoe and not checking the website first) so when they arrived I thought the fit was wrong. My mistake not Chrome’s. By then I’d already attached the cleats so they were used and i’m sure Chrome would have exchanged them but rather than being wasteful I thought I’d see how things went.
To counteract the fact that the shoes were a tiny bit too big I set the cleat right back and I had to trim the rubber to get the cleat to engage with the pedal IF YOU BUY THE CORRECT SIZE YOU WILL NOT HAVE TO DO THIS! that’s why the sole looks a little ragged in the picture.
Riding the shoe I was fully expecting that there would be some heel lift when pedalling as the shoes were a half size too big but actually I didn’t notice any at all. I’ve done a number of rides now, furthest was 50 miles on the gravel bike on both road and off road and the shoes have performed a lot better than my skepticism expected. The reinforcing “shank” over the cleat is just the right length and stiffness to stop the cleat pushing into the underside of your foot or flexing when pulling up. power transfer is excellent and on a par with more contemporary cycling shoes with a glass reinforced style sole. On warm days the waterproof coating and nature of the upper did mean that my feet got hot but that same coating kept my feet dry from water flicked up from the front wheel from puddles. I was lucky enough to dodge any long rain downpours when wearing the Kursks so can’t vouch for their complete waterproofness but don’t forget that there’s a big hole in them where your foot goes in so I’m always subjective about those claims. They are definitely bridleway splash proof though.
Anyone who knows or rides with me will know that I like a cafe stop. When entering a shop, pub or cafe there’s nothing worse than tottering and teetering about on spd shoes. Although not too bad when wearing mountain bike shoes with a recessed cleat (road bike pedal users always remind me of the walk the Penguin from Batman does somehow) it’s still possible to look a bit odd and I need no help with looking odd with my dress sense! The kursk shoes are stiff where they need to be and in all other areas have enough flex that you can actually walk like a normal human being! a little flex at the toe makes all the difference. They are comfy enough to wear to go shopping by bike and walk around supermarkets, up and down stairs etc, I wouldn’t wear them all day at work or go rambling in them though. The Panaracer rubber sole is advertised as “non slip” for traction and I can confirm this is the case. jamming your feet down on the pedals and missing the cleat engagement isn’t such a drama when riding off road as the rubber is grippy enough to not slip off and ram the pedal into your shins. The trade off however is that when walking on a laminate floor or on linoleum the shoes will make a loud comedy sucking sound!
I’ve had the Chrome Kursk 2.0 for nearly a couple of months now and they pretty much look like they did when I got them out of the box. They look like a canvas shoe but the claims of robustness are spot on, they clean up well with a damp cloth too. As a cycling shoe they work remarkably well, you probably wouldn’t want to ride around the world in them or walk up Snowdon but for medium length rides, commuting, shopping, going to the pub or just messing about they are a great shoe.
If you are looking for an alternative to the “I’m a cyclist” type of shoe then you won’t go far wrong with the Chrome Kursk 2.0 as they will perform well clipped in but blend in with any social situation you find yourself in.
Just remember to order a half size smaller than normal!