dhb Dorica Mtb Shoes
In my search for a gravel race shoe I missed out the dhb Dorica Mtb shoe, so it’s time to rectify that.
The dhb Dorica Mtb shoe is a classic looking lace-up shoe. With its black laces and minimalist white finish, dhb have produced a great looking shoe. The upper is a lightweight micro-fibre with a nylon sole and laces. As is standard for off-road shoes the nylon sole is drilled for a two-bolt cleat and toe-spikes. Weight for a single, size 42 shoe with a SPD cleat is 344g.
Yes, laces! I haven’t ridden a laced up cycling shoe since I first started riding as a junior, a long time ago. I really wasn’t keen on going back to laces; surely they couldn’t compete with modern closures? Well, it seems they can. I was worried that I miss the ability to adjust the fit of my shoe mid-ride. With a ratchet or velcro closure, it’s simple to tighten or loosen your shoe during the ride. Laces however, are a one-time closure; you tighten them at the start and loosen them at the end.
Over a summer of gravel riding however, I’ve never felt the need to re-adjust their fit. I tightened them at the beginning and they always seemed to be just right. I guess this is the combination of some slight stretch in the micro-fibre and a bit of give in the laces? Or maybe it’s the other way? Whatever the reason they were super comfortable on rides up to four hours. I didn’t have any issues with tight spots or hot-foot at all. In fact the only negative I had with the laces, was making sure they stayed flat, but that’s just me being fussy!
Normally I would look at a shoe with a nylon sole and think “oh that’s going to be a bit flexible”. Not with the dhb Dorica though. I was surprised how stiff they felt. While I didn’t manage to race in them, they were plenty good enough for training. If the weather stays dry, I’d be tempted to try them out at a ‘cross race. Also if you do need to do some walking, they are more practical than a road-specific shoe. I wouldn’t recommend them as walking shoes for a tourist, but they’re comfortable enough for a café stop.
White for off-road?
In the past I’ve always chosen dark shoes when it comes to off-road. It just made sense for a shoe that would be getting muddy on UK trails and cyclo-cross races. Over time however, I started to add some colour; sign of a mid-life crisis? When it came time to choose colours with the dhb Dorica the white just stood out. Pair its contrasting black tongue, laces and logos, with some nice white socks and tanned legs for that pro look!
After a summer of Portuguese and Sussex gravel the uppers are still looking good. There’s a few scuffs here and there, but a quick wipe after each ride has kept them looking fresh. They are also available in black.
So the dhb Dorica Mtb shoes have managed to dispel my initial misgivings. The first, that laces were too old school for modern riding, far from it. I was also worried that without some kind of lace-keeper, I would be catching the laces in my chain-ring; nope. They are just the right length and double knotting them keeps them well away from the drive-train. Another worry was that the nylon sole would be too flexible. As I said, while I didn’t get a chance to race in them, they felt really good when pressing hard on the pedals. So in conclusion, these are a great pair of shoes for gravel racing. Take a look at them on the dhb website, it also doesn’t hurt that they are very reasonably priced.