For those who have never owned a pair of cycling shoes before, the choices can be daunting. Up until now, the spectrum seems to have gone from the outrageously overpriced, borderline-ridiculous-looking cycling-specific shoe to the more moderately priced, rather-lame-looking commuter-cycling-type shoe.
There hasn’t really been a middle ground, where you don’t have to break your budget but can still be comfortable in the shoe off your bike. You know—something you can ride around town in and still wear at the office all day, or even to the bar.
Enter skate-shoe company DVS and its collaboration with Cinelli, a prestigious old-school bicycle company still in the game today. Based on another DVS skate shoe, their new Cinelli Luster is a clean and simple-looking “Stan Smith”–style cycling shoe. It’s available in two attractive colour styles: grey/blue and all-black, with the Cinelli’s brand colours subtly added. And at $80 (at stores including Strada Cycles [a Cinelli concept store at 162 Powell Street], as of July and August), it won’t break the bank.
Cinelli’s rich bicycle-racing history dates back to the ’40s. With many interesting collaborations with artists and cyclists, including Mike Giant, Barry McGee, MASH SF, and others, the company is just as concerned with the aesthetics of cycling as it is with top-notch precision quality. Besides, Cinelli is Italian; it’s kind of its job to be stylish and sexy—fuhgeddaboudit.
Ask any dude in his late 30s (like myself) or older what he thinks of being in the saddle while wearing a floppy VANS-style shoe for more than an hour and “foot cramp” will probably come up. The younger kids can get away with stretching their saddle time, but not this ole geezer. What stands out most about the DVS Cinelli Luster is its “shank”—a purposely stiffened sole (a trait of the more technically oriented cycling shoes) that decreases fatigue in your foot without sacrificing walking ability. Bingo! We’re onto something here.
Simple yet slick and comfortable, the Cinelli Luster has a perforated leather upper for breathability and style points, some nonobtrusive reflective bits for better night visibility, and a tongue flap to keep your Italian-flag-tipped laces cinched in and to prevent them from being shredded to bits by your chain ring. Add a solid, durable feel to the whole enchilada and you’ve got yourself a fine little urban-hipster cycle sneaker. DVS and other manufacturers have made a few similar cycle-influenced shoes, but this one is the standout.
Who better to try the Lusters out than one of the boys down at Super Champion (245 Main Street)? Nick Heart and Jamie Hooper run this one-stop shop in the Downtown Eastside for road-cycling enthusiasts specializing in fixed-gear, single-speed bikes (fixies) and parts, offering a great selection of vintage road and track bikes. The store is also a repair shop. Heart test rode these sneaks for a couple of weeks and loved them. “The construction of the shoe is very well thought out,” Heart said. “You do notice the stiffness of the sole while pedalling to prevent [feet] from cramping but it still proves very walkable off the bike. And the suede toe is nice too—it makes it more durable to the abuse a pedal with cages can do to your shoes.”
Both Heart and Hooper thought that the reflective bits are a help to night riders, and liked that the laces are waxed to prevent waterlog and have the Velcro lace flap. Hooper also praised Cinelli for collaborating with different companies to make new and interesting products by riders for riders.
“This is a smart casual shoe that will appeal to the standard skate market, yet with subtle but effective cycling-inclined features that will be appreciated by daily commuters or racing roadies around the Stanley Park loop,” Heart said.