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The 2013 Triathlete Buyer’s Guide magazine is out on newsstands now (and check out the digital version), and we’re giving you a sneak peek right here. Check out the complete cycling shoe section from the guide below and check back to Triathlete.com for more Buyer’s Guide content.
Specialized Trivent Terra
The draw: Time savings in T1
Off-road athletes rejoice: There is finally a mountain bike shoe suited to a quick transition. Specialized spliced a tri-specific upper designed for flying mounts onto a treaded mountain bike sole. These shoes can give you a head start over the rest of the field (if the course doesn’t start with a climb) by strapping in while rolling away from transition. Fit is right down the middle—perfect for a foot of average width.
The draw: Secure fit for narrow feet
True to this historic brand’s traditions, the T3 is sculpted for a snug fit. Its simple two-strap closure system securely grips down and prevents the foot from wiggling, although the heel cup is moderately flexible. Its carbon and nylon hybrid sole gives the T3 subtly more give than most equally priced shoes, but a little flex was more comfortable than the fully rigid alternative.
Pearl Izumi Tri Fly IV
The draw: No weaknesses, accessible price tag
This affordable shoe has it all: Stiff carbon sole, low overall weight, solid fit and a quick closure system. Although it isn’t best in class in any one category, it more than meets the needs of anyone looking to rip through transition and ride away in comfort. Fit is a bit more generous than average. And if you’re into bold colors, the Tri Fly IV fits the bill (the shoe is also available in black and white).
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Mavic Tri Helium
The draw: Most precise fit, strong connection with the foot
Most triathlon shoes fit less precisely than road shoes. The Tri Helium is the exception. Its intricate shape locks the foot into place without pinching or creating hot spots, even without the benefit of socks. Its padded heel cup anchors the foot and unlike most shoes, the forefoot strap effectively tailors the shoe’s volume. The tongue comes high up the ankle and subtly impinges foot flexion. Add the Tri Helium’s stiff sole and miniscule weight, and this shoe is the perfect choice for speed and comfort.
Louis Garneau Tri Lite
The draw: Top-flight performance
Like the Pearl Izumi, this shoe combines all the key features of a race-quality triathlon shoe without an inflated price tag. The closure strap is simple and effective, enabling a quick flying mount without any fumbling while slipping into the shoe. The forefoot is cut broadly, matching wider feet, and the heel grips securely. Finding fault with this shoe is difficult, but a seam on the tongue can press against a foot with a tall arch.
The draw: Built for broad feet
The Sidis are shaped for narrow feet, and the Shimanos are best suited to broader ones. The robust one-strap closure system mounted to a carbon sole creates space for wider feet—just make sure that you need the extra room, or else the fit will be sloppy. Aside from the generous fit, the SH-WT60 is packed with all the key features, including a stiff composite sole and a broad opening for easy entry.
Fizik K1 Uomo
The draw: Style, flash and flair
Fizik’s first stab at a tri shoe offers some great features but also lacks one key fit characteristic: The heel cup has a tenuous grip, allowing the foot to wiggle a little too much. Forefoot fit is very good, helping to overcome the heel cup. The sole has carbon down the center and nylon around the outside, which increases comfort by permitting the foot a little bit of give. Beautiful finishing touches make the shoe stand out among a sea of monotone alternatives.
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