White is the new black as far as road shoes go and this pair of Ekoi R2 road shoes will brighten any ride. French company Ekoi specialise in cycle clothing and while big on the continent they are new to us in the UK. We have a few items to try out, the first being their top of the range Ekoi R2 road shoe.
The Ekoi R2 has a glossy white finish and bold black graphics which combined with a minimum of seams, make for a good looking shoe. This smooth finish has made it simple to keep the Ekoi R2 looking like new, a quick wipe with a damp cloth – or a baby wipe if you’re a parent – will have them back to showroom finish in no time, always essential for those big rides.
The R2 is built on a 6mm thick, ultra-light 3K carbon sole. With standard 3-point fixings, they are compatible with most major brands – sorry Speedplay owners. There are a couple of ventilation holes in the sole, which have a silver mesh to stop anything nasty getting in and a replaceable heel counter. Weight per shoe for my size 42 was 324g.
The Ekoi R2 uses a combination of velcro strap over the fore-foot and their own ATOP buckles, which do all the work. These dial closures use a ratchet system which reels in a Kevlar lace. Twist them forwards and they tighten one click at a time, turn back and they release the lace tension, allowing you to tighten them back up to how you need. This is easy to do on the bike and is quite intuitive
The ATOP system is simple and works really well pulling the shoe tight without creating any hot spots. At first the front strap seemed a little bit like an after thought, all the real work being done by the ATOP buckles, but it does actually help pulling the front in a bit tighter.
I’ve been riding the Ekoi R2 roads shoes all summer and have put in some long hard rides, as well as some short crit races. During this time they have performed flawlessly, being stiff enough for racing, yet still comfortable on long, hard century rides. Obviously shoe fit is a very personal thing, but I found the Ekoi R2 great for me.
Part of this is probably down to the micro-fibre sealed fabric that the upper is made from. As well as having a wonderful glossy finish and soft feel, it seems to mould and support your foot, without any pinching or rubbing. The heel is lined with a Spandex Lining Grip, this material helps keep your heel in place with it’s one way textured finish. If you rub it down, it feels smooth, but rub up and there’s a coarse, grippy feel to the material that will help hold your sock and foot, in place. Not sure how comfortable it would be to wear without socks, but we’ll leave that for the tri-athletes shall we?
As with a lot of Ekoi’s product the R2 allows you to add some personal touches to your shoe, although these are limited to changing the colours of the ATOP buckle tops and the forefoot strap. Still this does add a nice touch and you could add your team colours, or make sure they match your bike? Take a look at their website and you’ll find yourself spending far too long working out how to match helmet, shoes and sunglasses!
So after a long hard summer I’ve come away very pleased with the Ekoi R2 shoes. They’re good-looking, light, comfortable and easy to maintain. And if you look at the website they are currently on sale! Originally retailing at €259, Ekoi are now selling them for €189, so it’s a chance to grab a great shoe at a keen price.
Ekoi have a lot of smart-looking kit on their website that is definitely worth a look. We’ll be reviewing helmets and glasses from them soon and will hopefully get to try some of their clothing as well. Take a trip to their website and have a look for yourself.
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