Lake has been making shoes for a long time, they are one of those brands synonymous with one product, and that is cycling shoes. Furthermore, they are intensely focused on fit and having developed their craft over the years, Lake is keen to make sure riders have the best fitting shoes possible.Buy Shoes on
Choosing shoes by the 'Last' shape is the start, a last being essentially the mould on which a shoe is shaped around. With Comfort, Sport, Competition and Race lasts, each with their own defining shape, riders can choose a shoe that best fits them and their intentions. Variations in the toe box, width and heel shape all change how the shoe will fit a certain foot.
Lakes range extended over road, cyclocross and mountain biking, but many of their shoes share technology across the models. The MX241 Endurance shoe uses all of Lakes technology to create the ultimate shoe for performance riding, or anything where putting down the power is crucial over a long period of time.
The shoe is based on the competition last which features a bigger toe box and tighter heel than the sport and comfort last. This allows a secure fit but also more comfort during times off the bike, if a bit of hike a bike is on the cards or even running up muddy slopes if you fancy it.
The construction is leather on the uppers including a mix of Helcor Abrasion resistant leather and full grain leather which is then lined with Nufoam. Helcor leather is extremely resistant to wear and make the shoe very robust. The upper allows a flexible fit and the double Boa lacing system allows for a perfect fit which is easily adjustable. The improved Boa IP1-S offers greater durability where dials can pop out from the shoe in the event of a snag or crash, and then refitted, or replace without the need to re-stitch. The outsole is carbon fibre and a heavily lugged rubber sole provides grip to finish the shoe off. To add to the precise fit the heel can also be heat moulded by popping the shoes in the oven and then sliding them on your feet for the final precise fit.
My go-to set up for mountain biking is riding a big travel bike with flat pedals, however, the resurgence of fast but fun XC bikes and the boom in drop bar off-roaders has got me back on the clips and these bikes provide a perfect base for testing some precision pedalling pumps.
First up is the fit, and a quick measure of my foot allowed the perfect size to be chosen, which for me was the rather uncommon 45.5. Usually, I have to guess 45 or 46, but drawing round my foot and measuring the longest axis, I was able to get a perfect fit first time. Sliding the shoes on was a pleasure, despite the carbon sole and stiffness, the uppers are soft and flexible enough to really hug my foot. The Boa closures tightened firmly all over the foot to create even tension and a snug finish. The velcro strap up the front keeps tongue and laces in place and the whole process is very straight forward. Over time I found the shoe stretched and bedded in, but there is so much adjustment, this wasn't an issue and they never felt baggy.
Cleat set up is a little more complex and it's safe to say Lake haven't designed these shoes around a Crank Bros system. SPD style is the way to go with these due to the deep tread, and if you do want to use egg-beater style pedals, then shims and spacers need to be used. The adjustment on the base of the shoe is good with plenty of fore and aft adjustment allowing me to slam the cleat back which I find more comfortable.
Out on the bike, it's the stiffness of the sole that is most noticeable, and then how relaxed my foot was within the shoe. I haven't been running a power meter to tell if there is much different from other shoes, but the feeling of a rigid sole feels great when laying down power. If you find yourself needing to adjust the shoes on the bike, the Boa system makes fine tuning on the fly a simple process.
The stiff sole does mean they feel different to a more casual mountain bike clip shoe, and with no flex, you cannot feel any of the pedal body around the shoe. Also if you need to unclip, getting back on the pedals needs to be done precisely as the lack of sensitivity means you can't really get much grip on the pedal unless you are locked in. If you need more or an enduro shoe, the fear not, because Lake has that covered with there Enduro range.
The MX241 is ideal for long days in the saddle but can cut it in many different areas. I've also had them on my 'cross bike, Gravel bike and raced a cross country race in them and they've been flawless. If you're going deep into the mountains for some 'all mountain' fun then perhaps a more flexible sole with more grip would aid comfort for hiking with the bike.
Warm, these shoes are not, and although the leather cuts the wind, it's socks and overshoes that are going to keep your feet warm rather than the shoe itself. Being more of a summer shoe (depending on how you define summer) they dry very quick and a night near a radiator sorts them out easily.
Pricing is pretty high, with these coming in at $350 but for a performance pair of shoes that can span the genres, this could be the one set of shoes for a multitude of off-road options.
A superbly comfortable and well fitting shoe for long days in the saddle and proper adventures that can perform equally well on the race track. Lake proves that a stiff sole does not have to come at a cost to comfort and created a superb, versatile if slightly expensive shoe.
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This review was in Issue 58 of IMB.For more information visit Lake Cycling
By Ewen TurnerEwen Turner is a self-confessed bike geek from Kendal in the Lake District of England. He runs a coaching and guiding business up there and has a plethora of knowledge about bikes with an analytical approach to testing. His passion for bicycles is infectious, and he’s a ripper on the trails who prefers to fit his working life around his time on the bike.