One of the challenges of just grabbing a bike to head to breakfast, or to the store, or for any number of short trips can be shoes. If you’ve got a bike that you use to commute regularly, you probably have SPD pedals on it. That leaves a lot of different ways to solve the problem, but one particularly elegant option is to own shoes that work well on and off the bike. The DZR H2O shoes not only look great off the bike, but they also manage to be capable commuter friendly on-bike shoes, and they up the utility factor by being waterproof.
The DZR H2O isn’t an entirely new option, but it has received a few upgrades this year. The internal membrane has been upgraded to Hydroguard and there were several small improvements to the overall construction for durability. The exterior is still a soft to the touch sheepskin leather that’s been treated with a DWR (durable water-repellent) and this year has brought an upgrade to the leather. The new version is more environmentally friendly and softer to the touch, but now also needs to have waterproofing oils applied once a year before use.
The sole shank and other on-bike friendly features, such as a top cuff designed to keep water out as well as a reflective section on the heel, have been retained. Off the bike, you’ll find that the gum rubber sole provides excellent grip on surfaces such as wet cement or metal stairs. It’s also worth noting that the interior feels really nice both on and off the bike.
When you pull these out of the box, you’ll find that there is a cover in the sole where you mount the SPD cleat. It’s nice that they provide this, but I wouldn’t recommend these if you don’t plan to clip in. Walking around in the DZR H2O is comfortable enough, but you certainly won’t forget that you’ve got a shoe capable of being used on the bike. If the plan is to keep the cover on and spend a lot of time on your feet and off the bike, you are probably better off finding other shoes.
Despite these being a stylish option for wearing around there is always going to be some trade-off inherent in a design meant for on-bike performance. These shoes have a fairly stiff sole, and overall, they are heavier than a shoe of this style would normally be. As long as the plan is to use these on the bike as well as off, you’ve got a really solid set of shoes. It’s the utility of being able to easily transition from one use to another where these really shine.
The DZR H2O performs at least as well, when clipped in, as any less performance oriented SPD shoe I’ve used in the past, and these add additional features. Most SPD shoes you might use instead of these aren’t waterproof, and they don’t exactly blend in at the coffee shop. DZR has added an elastic loop to the tongue that holds the excess lace after they are tied, and the waterproofing isn’t lip service, it really works.
Water will always work it’s way into any shoe over time, but there isn’t any leaking anywhere other than around your ankle. The first time I got caught in a good rain with the DZR H20 shoes, I’d been wearing them for a bit and actually forgot about the fact that they were waterproof. On the ride home, on a bike with no fenders, and without proper rain gear, I realized that the only part of my body which felt warm and dry were my feet.
Bottom line, if you want something that performs really well on the bike but doesn’t require a shoe change when you get to your destination, then the DZR H20 is a fantastic option. They are stiff enough for good power transfer on your bike and have some thoughtful features that make them a good commuter bike shoe. They also look great once you get off the bike and while they are a bit heavy and stiff, especially if you are used to ultra light style sneakers, they work quite well for doing a bit of walking around. At $169 you could probably find something cheaper if you only need a bike shoe, but these really shine because of their utility.
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