With the launch of an exciting new dhb cycle shoe range, we caught up with dhb senior product manager, Rich to learn more about them.
Talk us through the new range of shoes from dhb – what's new, what's exciting?
Everything, would be the first word I'd use! The entire collection are brand new designs from the ground-up. The shape of the shoe, and the last (mould) they're made from is all new, the materials are new – everything.
We've never worked with experts like Atop on the ratchets and dials before, and we're working with great fabrics, products and solutions to build a great product for the customer.
What are the differences between the different models?
How I see Troika and Dorica is that the latter covers off a classically-designed lace-up shoe – they have a really smart, timeless look to them. The term ‘Troika' is Russian, and is a term used for a cart being pulled by three horses – when I was thinking about the 3 strap shoes, I liked the thought of the 3 straps working together as one to get the correct fit, so it was a good name to describe it. Both of these could be used by riders of any ability, whether they're using clip shoes for the first time, or they're more experienced on the roads or the trails.
With the dhb Aeron Carbon Road Shoe Dial, these are the pinnacle - with Carbon soles and Atop closure systems. They tie it in with the apparel collection – a shoe where riders wearing the Aeron range would be happy to put these on their feet to complete the setup.
The reason we went for the Atop tension systems with the Aeron shoes was to accommodate customers who have high and low insteps, so it creates a singular platform of the shoe, but changing the top buckle or dial means it adapts well around the rider's foot.
What is the fit like?
We'd describe these as offering a medium fit – they don't have a slim toebox like a Sidi, nor a super-wide fit like a Northwave. We've tried to get a ‘best of both worlds' fit, with slightly more room around the toebox for better wiggle room, and also to give you room for when you're switching out socks from summer to winter. With the Velcro adjustment on the Troika's, we've offset it to distribute the pressure. There's a lot of veins close to the top of the foot, so with offset straps the pressure doesn't sit right across the top of the forefoot.
It's important to have a good heel cup to hold the heel in place. Cycle shoes are more like a marathon shoe. People spend a lot of time in them, so you want a tight and positive feel in the heel with a good enough toebox shape. We've developed the shoes with a neutral shape and a little more volume around the toebox, but without needing to go to a wide fitting. It adds a bit more volume, top-to-bottom and side-to-side, but when you look at the shoe it's not as obvious until you put your feet in.
What are you favourite features of the shoes?
Every shoe in the collection has a little bit of something. Personally, I love the finishing details on the Aeron dial model, where we've chamfered around the edges of the Carbon soles. These soles are great -. There's no moving parts within the sole, it's a single piece of carbon, so everything's on the same vector which is great for power transmission through the shoe into the pedals.
The Trinity tri shoe's got some great details on it, too. I love the crank holder and the offset heel grab - it's short enough but useful enough – and the mesh we use on that shoe is nice as well. It's got to be suitable for UK use as well as further afield, and it does this nicely. The shoes look smart with aeration holes, or surface disruption dots across the face of the fabric. It's the little details that make them great. From a distance, they may look simple, but when you take a closer look you see the details shine through.
How long have you been working on these shoes?
It's probably taken around a year, from product specifications to prototyping and testing to make sure we're happy with where they're going – some shoes have had over 1000km on them so they've had some thorough testing on them. We've tested them in all sorts of conditions too, from commuting right the way through to rides in the Pyrenees, so we're confident they offer everything we want them to for the customer.
Do you have a favourite model?
The one I'm keenest to get is the dhb Aeron Carbon Road Shoe Dial – it's the one I'll be riding. It's similar to the type of shoe that I normally wear on my rides, and I like the dial closure and adjustment.
Will there be other designs in the future?
We're planning to introduce a specific Women's range next year. As a brand, we've never done women specific shoes before – we go down to a size 39 currently, but we're looking to do a Women's range for both MTB and Road to give specific options for female riders.
We'll keep developing and bringing more into the range as and when we've gone through rigorous testing and making sure they're absolutely right for our customers. Watch this space!
View the range below: