By Mia Moore
My bicycle commuting philosophy can be summarized into two succinct bullet points:
My general MO is to disengage from the mania around me as much as possible and smoothly roll into my day unscathed and unharried (within reason, this is Chicago). Along with this philosophy, I choose to get around in my regular clothes at a medium-to-slow rate and leave the racing and sweating to the spandex clad hours. I generally carry 20 lbs of school books and lunch and what not, so that also keeps my commuting pace “classy”.
I do however, travel by bike in a myriad of conditions and don’t like to rough up my nice shoes in inclement weather, so I was intrigued when DZR came out with the fully waterproof clipless-pedal-compatible-but-not-necessary shoe.
OUT OF THE BOX: LOOKS
They look nice. The shoes are heavy, but not bulky, they are a nice cross between a skate shoe and a classic all black Chuck Taylor; more support than converse, less puffy than a skate shoe-good qualities. The leather is great looking, and the elastic band with which to secure the laces after tying is clutch.
Hybrid skate/Chuck-inspired looks allow you to transition seamlessly from bike to pedestrian mode.
FIELD TEST 1: WATER
After a messy training ride full of road bikes off-road, my fast bike was in serious need of cleaning, so I decided to test the mettle of the H20 shoes against the mud and soap involved in a good old fashioned bike washing. They held up well. I sloshed dirt and water all over them, and not only did the water roll right off, as advertised, the shoes were easy to clean with a damp towel, leaving them looking pretty new.
The H2O's seam-sealed, waterproof design will come in handy if you're caught in a downpour.
FIELD TEST 2: RIDING
I have to say, I have tried on different versions of DZR shoes through the years, and none have fit me comfortably, so I was pleasantly surprised at how well these felt even right out of the box. DZR has clearly listened to their customers and made changes to improve their shoes from year to year, which is something I truly appreciate. They are definitely stiff, too stiff for walking more than a mile, I would say, but perfectly comfortable for short jaunts from place to place, like from school or work to lunch, etc. The extra stiff sole is great for riding though. I have low key old style pedals on my commuter bike, and even with those I noticed a significant difference in power transfer from my regular shoes.
FIELD TEST 3: CLIPLESS
The set up is really easy. All you have to do is remove two bolts holding in a small chunk of the sole from the rest of the shoe, and then (grease your bolts and) stick your cleats in there! If you are a person who likes to get around connected to your pedals in this way, but not walk like a tap dancing duck in the grocery store, these are a great option. Stealth, even.
DZR shoes can be worn out of the box with standard platform pedals. To install "two-bolt" clipless pedal cleats (SPD, Crank Brothers, Time Atac), simply remove the rubber piece with a hex wrench.
Waterproof also means limited breath ability, so if your feet tend to get hot, you may want to pack an extra pair of light shoes for hanging around your work. The upside to this is my toes stayed warmer at cooler temps than they do in my Doc Martins, so for a rainy ride, it’s worth the extra burden of either hot feet or extra shoe schlepping.
Multiple shoe savvy friends ranging the bicycle spectrum from “all season commuter” to “racer” to “thinks all bikes are Schwinns” complimented me on these shoes which leads me to believe they just generally look good to a discerning public, which I agree.
Thumbs up, would purchase and wear.
Size Range: 37-47
For more information: https://dzrshoes.com/products/h2o
About the author:
Mia is a longtime Chicago-area rider, racer, and bicycle industry insider. She's a member of the Chicago Cuttin Crew, and last fall won a state championship in Cyclocross.