Ekoi says the R4 shoes weigh in at 250g in a size 40. Mine are a size 44 and once the cleats and shims are on they weigh in at 313g per shoe. The carbon sole is thin and stiff, giving you a low stack height (your foot is closer to the pedal).
There’s no excess glue on the joins, the stitching is neat and well-finished. The Ekoi R4 look amazing. They come in both black and white, so it doesn’t matter which camp you fall into. There’s a hint of vintage design about them, but there’s no mistaking these are thoroughly modern shoes.
In our preview we mentioned a replaceable heel pad on the sole. This may be replaceable, but it’s held on by a rivet so it’s not ‘easily’ replaceable and Ekoi don’t seem to offer spare pads on their website. The pad is quite substantial and won’t wear through unless you’re doing lots of walking though.
ATOP dials are great for fastening shoes. The wires secure your shoe, spreading the load nicely. They have one-way micro-adjustment and I have had no problems getting them to the right tension. I’ve used a set of shoes with ATOP dials through Winter with no issues.
Comfort may depend on the shape of your foot, but I’ve found the R4 took a bit of getting used to due to the high ankle cut-outs. I’ve also found that they feel more comfortable with the perforated top of the tongue folded under itself. Not that they were uncomfortable in the first place, but on a couple of longer rides my feet had a couple of pressure points and it wasn’t as noticeable when I rode with the tongue folded under.
One point worth mentioning is that with stiffer shoes there’s less give. For this reason a proper cleat set-up is even more important. I tried the Ekoi R4 a few times with just a cleat on but because the shoes fit snugly and they don’t move around, you need them to be at the right angle or you may end up pedalling inefficiently and even putting undue strain on your knees. Once I had the correct wedges and shims in, the difference was noticeable. Cheaper shoes will be more flexible, so you might not have realised you need wedges and/ or shims before buying more expensive shoes.
Going up hills is amazing. The R4’s light weight and thin, stiff sole means you can really feel the power pushing through the pedals. They’re a great climbing shoe with enough ventilation for even the warmer days we’ve had this Summer. The synthetic leather uppers are tough enough to stand the odd scrape without tearing, and I had to double check on the Ekoi website that it wasn’t actual leather. It’s very close to the real thing.
Compare prices and buy cycling shoes from: