Shimano’s TR5 entry-level tri shoe is one of the heaviest on test (314g) but we’ll happily forgive it as we suspect that comes down to a soft foot entry, which is the most comfy on test. It’s a similar feeling to the most cushioned of high-mileage run shoes. The reverse main strap is huge but does the job. Despite the added thickness and comfort of the foot entry and the potential for water absorption, breathability is fine and we never experienced discomfort from sweaty or wet feet. A mix of mesh upper, and vented insole and outsole, helps here. The outsole’s a glass-fibre reinforced-polyamide, which is as you’d expect for the price. Overall, it feels bulkier than many here, which angles this towards newcomers. madison.co.uk
Verdict: great value and a mightily comfortable shoe, 86%
Buy from www.wiggle.co.uk
Sidi’s heritage is clear in this impressive shoe (320g) thanks to the blend of comfort and power transfer. The former’s ticked off via a mix of knitted felt and fabric that cradles your foot; it’s so well manufactured that you don’t feel a single in-seam stitch when barefoot.
The latter’s heavily down to the carbon sole that’s blended in nylon to produce a sole that’s stiffer than an ironing board. Your foot is clamped in place via two straps, the main one securing inwards and there’s no excess strap to catch on the crankset. Yet thinner-footed triathletes might find the upper fabric begins to fold over around that second strap. A reinforced heel prevents deformation and loss of power, while the heel loop’s ample enough for T1.
Verdict: impressive shoe, good price, but not for thinner feet, 84%
Buy from www.chainreactioncycles.com
The various tech of cycling shoes can often visually resemble a hotchpotch of materials. So it is with the busy Tri Fly Elite V6s (284g). That aesthetic clutter is partly down to the two-part main strap with metal buckle in-between, designed to reduce foot pressure – which it does – but at the sacrifice of looks. Initially it lacks the comfort a shoe over the £150 mark should deliver, yet the minor pain around the inside of the foot around entry disappears after a few rides. A low 5mm stack height adds a subtle feel to each pedal stroke, while a huge heel loop can’t be missed. A solid stroke is maximised by the stiff outsole, which garners a max stiffness rating of 13 – a fairly arbitrary scale that varies between manufacturers. madison.co.uk
Verdict: does the job, but lacks an aesthetic appeal, 78%
Buy from www.tredz.co.uk
Trek’s component arm has produced an extremely light shoe (299g), which will be appreciated by pursuers of marginal gains as a light weight will slightly improve cycling economy. Fit is secure thanks to two straps, the main one following Pearl’s split design. It works fine, though isn’t the sharpest in transition. It’s not a biggy as it’s not reverse and so won’t catch the crankset when riding, but aesthetes won’t be pleased. They’re the cheapest here and that manifests itself in the outsole, a nylon composite that lacks the crisp power transfer of carbon models (it has a stiffness rating of eight out of 14), although the design improves stiffness without adding weight. Breathability’s good and there’s a heel loop for swift foot entry. trekbikes.com
Verdict: light shoe that’s worth the sub-£100 outlay, 80%
Buy from www.tritoncycles.co.uk
Continue reading our guide to this year's best bike shoes (3/3)