Interbike: It Must Be The (Tri) Shoes

Tri-specific shoes get lighter and more versatile for 2012.

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Tri-specific shoes get lighter and more versatile for 2012.

Sidi T3.6

Click here to view more images of the T3 and other tri shoes.

Sidi has revamped their entire triathlon shoe line without changing the Italian company’s signature slim and snug fit. Their 2012 shoes are still built around the exact same lasts as the 2011 models, but the soles and uppers have been updated. Most notably, Sidi now offers soles with a cleat bolt pattern specifically for Speedplay pedals. Nearly all pedals other than Speedplays have a 3-bolt triangular pattern to attach the cleats to the shoes and until now Sidis have been constructed specifically for those cleats. Speedplay riders had to use an adapter plate to ride these fine Italian shoes. Sidi has now designed a sole platform specifically for Speedplay’s 4-bolt pattern along with help from Speedplay founder Richard Bryne. This shoe is called the T3.6 SP and it reduces stack height by 4mm, which means your back and head sit 4mm lower into the bike. It sells for $360 and will be out next month.

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Pearl Izumi Octane

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The Octane will boldly stand out against the onslaught of red/black/white bikes, kits and shoes. Its neon orange upper is the first thing I noticed when I saw the shoe, but it’s weight left the most lasting impression. The shoe is amazingly light, weighing just 185 grams, but doesn’t sacrifice the ventilation and Velcro straps found on many tri shoes. The mesh panels are bonded rather than sewn to the solid orange sections. The carbon sole has two raised spines that run from the heel forward to the cleat and additional raised sections around the side of the cleat. These vertical sections of carbon are oriented perpendicular to the foot, which adds a ton of vertical stiffness to the sole without completely eliminating twist.

Navigate the pages below to read about other tri shoes.

Giro Mele

Click here to see more images of the Mele and other tri shoes.

Giro has built a triathlon-specific shoe based on the fit and technology used in the mid-level road shoes—the Trans and Espada—they released a year ago. The Mele and women’s-specific Facet are both constructed from the same lasts used in the road shoes. The women’s version has a slightly tighter heel cup and narrower forefoot than the men’s shoe. Both have the Easton EC70 carbon/fiberglass composition sole. The women’s version has a “white carbon,” which is really fiberglass, outer layer for aesthetic reasons but real carbon fiber is underneath this exterior. The men’s sole has a black exterior. Both soles are identical weight and stiffness, and the soles feel extremely stiff in hand.

The upper has a “set it and forget it” small Velcro strap at the front of the foot and one large, trim-able Velcro strap at the top of the shoe to secure the foot. This large strap folds toward the center of the rider’s body when closed. The upper has moderate sized mesh windows and large sections of solid, non-breathable fabric typically found in road shoes. Giro says it intentionally limited the ventilation so it performs well as a training/racing crossover shoe. They will cost $199 and will be released April 1st. Giro intends to create higher and lower level triathlon shoes in the near future.

Navigate the pages below to read about other tri shoes.

Specialized Trivent Terra

Click here to see images of the Trivent Terra and other tri shoes.

A few pros have special pairs of XTERRA-specific tri shoes that combine a tri upper with a mountain-friendly sole and Specialized is now offering that combo to regular riders as well. The Trivent Terra’s upper has the same mid-volume fit, single-strap closure system, massive vents and transition friendly features found on the standard Trivent road triathlon shoe, but the sole has rubber grippers attached at the toe, heel and midfoot. These grippers are more minimalistic than most mountain bike shoes, but still protect the key areas of the sole and should provide grip should the rider have to come off the bike and walk.

Navigate the pages below to read about other tri shoes.

Scott Tri Carbon

Click here to see images of the Tri Carbon and other tri shoes.

Scott’s triathlon shoes are taking a major step up in quality in 2012. The Tri Carbon has Scott’s stiffest carbon sole that, like some other shoes, uses raised ridges for robust stiffness. It has a large heel loop to grab during a flying mount and a tiny rubber band loop on the side of the shoe to suspend the shoe close to horizontal for a mount. Its large upper Velcro strap folds to the outside of the shoe. The upper has large mesh sections and ample ventilation. Although the mesh material is perforated, it is still quite stiff and doesn’t seem to stretch at all, which should help lock the foot against the sole. The Tri Carbon is already available. $200.

Navigate the pages below to read about other tri shoes.

Written by Aaron Hersh. Follow him @triathletetech.

Photos by Nils Nilsen.

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