“What colour would you like?” asked Corinne from Chrome as we discussed a test pair of their Kursk shoes. “Whatever you have available” was my cheery reply – the black or grey ones I’d seen on the website both looked great. I have to confess to a slight intake of breath as I ripped open the smart packaging that came remarkably quickly from San Francisco. I can safely say that I have never previously owned a pair of red shoes. Even in my five-a-side football days, I never strayed away from traditional black trainers. In my experience, the players who wore red boots were either exceptionally good or (more commonly) exceptionally deluded about their abilities. I was neither. As a 43 year old father of three I reasoned that red shoes had more place in the Wizard of Oz than on my feet (although the thought of clicking my heels together to magically return home had some appeal for a few of my more difficult commutes).
Colour aside, these are brilliant shoes, with loads of features to make them great for cycling. The uppers are made from tough Cordura fabric – we’ve come across this before in the bagaboo messenger bag and swrve jeans. It is exceptionally hardwearing, ideal for a bike shoe. The laces are elasticated – strong enough to keep the shoes firmly on your feet, but with a bit of stretch to avoid “hot spots” when pedalling. The aglets (those bits on the end of the laces) are made of metal, so there’s no chance of them fraying. There’s also a “lace garage” – essentially a loop in the tongue – to stop your laces getting caught in the chain. The insoles are thick, comfortable and supportive. These shoes are from the Kursk “Pedal” series, so don’t have SPD compatibility. The soles are very stiff though and reinforced with fibre glass for ¾ of their length. A reflective patch on the back of the heel completes the cycling specific features.
In use the shoes are excellent. On the bike the stiff sole really comes to the fore – transferring pedalling efforts almost as well as pure road shoes. The grippy sole is so good, I really didn’t miss my cleats. After a few commutes the shoes were showing no sign of wear – a good sign of their potential longevity. This is backed up by Chrome’s one year warranty. I’ve destroyed many a similar looking but not bike specific shoe in a matter of months when using them for riding. Off the bike, the stiffness of the soles makes walking long distances a little uncomfortable, but for nipping from the bike rack to the pub, they were fine. The red colour frequently drew second looks from passersby, but after a while, I started to enjoy their reactions. I was wearing shoes that made me (and some strangers) smile – something I’d never experienced before!
Bike to Bar
The Kursks are a well thought out and excellently made pair of “bike to bar” shoes and I would definitely recommend them. Always Riding have them in black at £64.99. As for me, I’m off to find a yellow brick road to ride on.