Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Coolest Bicycle Shoes Ever Made - Chrome Pro Series.

I like to use clipless pedals for my commuter. I actually built the Bloggipede up with regular flat pedals, and that is fine for running around the neighborhood, but I don't care for unsecured feet when riding any sort of distance. I wear a pair of Shimano "commuter" shoes now, but everyone tells me they look terrible, and I'm inclined to agree. They do the job I need them to do, but they are certainly not stylish in any way. (Much like the dude wearing them.)


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!!!!!
When I told Chrome about the Shoetout, they were excited about the "long term" part of my testing regimen. I always read reviews on the internets that tell me how nice something is when it's new, but I rarely see a longer term follow up on the item as it wears. I plan to do a long term review of these shoes as well, so you can see what you can expect after riding them for a while. For now, however, I will give you my initial thoughts about the winning pair of shoes.

Chrome Kursk Pro
The shoes I chose to test are the Chrome Kursk Pro model - they are an SPD compatible Chuck Taylor styled low top canvas shoe, with a nylon reinforced sole for better power transfer. This pair is in my size, and having tried them on,  I will tell you that they are very comfortable.

Red Sole
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. 


  1. They look a lot like the North Face Snow Sneaker. About the same price as the Chrome, but they claim to be waterproof and insulated. Alas - no SPD. When you report, your loyal reader wants to hear how they keep out the February really cold chill. Or not. Please do not go to the extreme of risking actual frostbite. That could make cycling a real PAIN!

  2. I will, Steve. I am "breaking them in" now, and have been wearing them all day. They will be my only outdoor show for the next few months, so I will give a good cold assessment.

    I do need the SPD part - otherwise there are plenty of options for shoes. Flat pedals are for SNOW.