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Suplest Edge/3 cycling shoes review

3 Aug 2017

Page 1 of 2Suplest Edge/3 cycling shoes review


An exceptionally well crafted shoe for a certain type of foot

Of all the kit out there, shoes and saddles are probably the most difficult to review. Contact points are very important but equally entirely subjective. One person’s armchair is another person’s pub bench as one person’s slipper is another’s concrete boot.

To make this review worthwhile, then, permit me to describe my feet: Fallen arches, kinda wide and sadly on their way to ruin through too narrow road shoes for too many years.

Apparently I have bunions. I therefore need supportive shoes with a wide toe box.

Suplest hails from Switzerland, a relatively new company set up by ex-BMC employee, Daniel Balmer, and his designer mate, Robert Gehrig.

Balmer comes from a family of cordwainers, and with Gehrig decided there was a gap in the market for premium shoes. So this is their eyewateringly expensive answer: the Edge/3.

As you’d hope for from a three hundred quid pair of slips there’s carbon soles, superlight uppers, Boa dials, reflective detailing, replaceable rubber heel grips, mesh venting and a pretty light weight of 584g (size 45, pair). But there are a few novel surprises too.

Innovative extras

For one, the insoles, from German brand Solestar (which specialises in aftermarket cycling insoles), are actually rather decent.

Not custom mouldable it’s true, but equally a far cry from the impoverished foam one often still finds in high end shoes.

I found they offer good arch support with no hotspots, which is welcome for anyone that’s spent too much time wearing unsupportive skate shoes or who rides long distances.

There’s an incredibly thin, flexible carbon fibre skeleton that wraps over the tongue, doing the job of stopping the Boa wire from cutting into both foot and ruining the material below (the wire is actually plastic, like fishing wire, but it can act like a cheese wire if a manufacturer is not careful, but no such problems here).

The tongue enclosure is arguably the Suplest Edge/3 cycling shoes' main boon. One side wraps around, the other wraps over that – contrasted with a traditional tongue that runs up the middle, between the two sides of the shoe.

The advantage for me was that there was no annoying bunching up of the tongue across the top of the foot, and similarly no points of tightness or chafing.

The Edge3, once done up, presented consistent pressure across the top foot; secure but not so tight as to pinch.

There are other manufacturers doing this too, but none I’ve found that executes it quite so well – perhaps with the exception of Specialized S-Works 6 shoes.

The only criticism here is that the Boa wire does rub on a non-carbon protected part of the tongue right at the top, which after six months has begun to scar the material below.

Sole style

The sole is stiff but not mega-stiff. To compare again, not S-Works 6 stiff. Depending on your preference that could be a deal breaker or a deal maker.

Stiff soles, it’s alleged, are best for efficient power transfer. To my mind that seems intuitively true, but only to a point.

For while stiff equals power, discomfort equals slow, and I’ve found shoes that are just too stiff for long distance riding, where, for my feet at least, a touch of bend during the pedal stroke is preferable.

The other cool thing about these shoes is their asymmetric design. Side on you look like you’re wearing two different colour shoes, one red, one white.

Again, rider preference here, but I rather like it. It’s different, which is also what I want from an expensive product.

Why pay loads of money to look just like everyone else? Plus, that level of detailing to me indicates a designer who’s thought long and hard about a product, and who really cares.

That is also reflected in the Edge3 build quality, which seems to be superb (again, six months in). All the seams and graphics line up nicely, the cut edges are crisp and there’s no weird bunching up or errant bits of glue where the sole is bonded to the upper.

The execution is exceptionally crisp.

The crucial factor that made me fall in love with these shoes – and I should say they are now one of two go-to pairs for all round comfort (the other since you ask is Vittoria 1976 Evo, which is almost like a trainer with a composite sole) – is the flexibility of the upper and the width of the toe box. These are wide shoes, deviating from the traditional narrow Italian offerings that dominate the market.

So, to repeat one last time – shoe fit is subjective, many people will want a narrow shoe and so the Edge3 won’t fit the bill for them.

But as for me, my trotters have never been more comfortable on the bike. Nor, I think, ever looked as good.

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Page 1 of 2Suplest Edge/3 cycling shoes review