I did a little research, and I emailed a few shoe companies to see if they were interested in doing a "Shoetout" and letting me compare some more stylish SPD compatible shoes. Chrome was enthusiastic, but I didn't hear anything from Keen or DZR - so I unequivocally declare the Chrome Pro series of shoes the best casual SPD compatible cycling shoe in the world. Without a doubt, these shoes are the best looking "urban" cycling shoe I have ever handled, and they are surely the best looking SPD compatible sneaker I have ever had in my office. I wish I was more graphically savvy so I could make them some sort of digital award to post on their site for winning The Plano Cyclist's 2012 Shoetout. In the very least, we here at the PC offices celebrate their clear cut win.
|Hells yeah, guys!!!!!|
|Chrome Kursk Pro|
Above, you can see the red sole and SPD attachment bolts. The shoes come with a "plug" for the sole, and as you can see I haven't removed it as of this writing. I have a new set of cleats in my desk that I will install tonight so I can really give these shoes a run. So far my impression is that they look sharp and seem very well made.
|This is an Aglet|
A great example of the build quality is seen in the the aglets; they are not the standard plastic ones you see on most shoes. The kind that split and fray under hard use. Instead, Chrome went the extra mile to make sure the aglets on the laces will last for as long as the shoes themselves. That small detail shows the thought that went into making these shoes worth the dollars you spent.
|Midway Left, Kursk Right|
The photo above shows the other version of the Pro shoes that Chrome offers; the Midway Pro. The Midway has all of the same details as the Kursk, but they fit a little higher on the ankle and don't have the full toe cap that the Kursk has. I have both pairs because the Midways were sent by accident, in the wrong size. I haven't tried these on, but I assume they are as comfortable as the Pros. I'm not a mid-top guy though, so I will stick with the Kursks.
I am kind of glad for the mix-up, because the good folks at Chrome have agreed to allow us to raffle them off to benefit a local cyclist who had a bad accident and needs money for hospital bills. In fact, after I presented my case Chrome even sent a bag for us to add to the raffle because the shoes are only one size and might have limited interest. All the same, if you are a women's 9.5 or a men's size 8, then you should plan on coming to the party to win these. As an added bonus, I will be autographing the box they come in. I'm guessing that alone will make these a hot raffle prize (and a commodity in the underground "blogger autograph" market).
I will install SPD's on the Kursks soon and report back how they walk with the cleats installed as that is obviously an important part of the functionality of these shoes. I will also try to go play a round of basketball once I have them installed, per reader request. Look for a fundraiser to bail me out of jail shortly thereafter.