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Form meets function with the Lake CX1 road shoe

Lake cycling shoes came on to the scene in ’82 as the sport grew in North America. Back then, cycling shoes were limited and the need for shoes for emerging disciplines was just beginning. The company has since moved from Illinois to The Netherlands, but their devotion to performance and craftsmanship has remained. 

Design and details

Lake has been known for their attention to detail, and the CX1 shoes are no exception. The construction is exceptional. A leather last is bonded to an extremely stiff carbon 3-hole sole with clean lines and perforated leather to help with ventilation. The carbon base also has rubber traction pads to make walking a little easier. But make no mistake; these are road shoes for a pure rider, and are not meant to be walked around in.

Lake uses what they call the Competition Last – a design that uses a steeper heel-to-toe drop, a narrower heel cup, and a wider to box area. This holds the foot in an ideal position to push the pedals while keeping the heel locked in place and letting the ball of the foot spread under pressure. 

The obvious feature are the laces, which have made their way back to cycling shoes over the last decade. While most high end shoes feature a BOA closure, laces offer an affordable and highly customized fit. Keep them loose in the toes, tighten them up top – laces give you the ability to fine tune. The downside: it’s harder (impossible) to adjust the fit while on the bike. 

Other details include a strap to hold the laces in place and a reflective stripe on the back of the heel. 

Performance

First up, these shoes are stiff. Despite having a price point similar to entry level shoes, the CX1’s carbon sole is on par with the best of the best. 

The toe of the shoe is noticeably wider. If you’re a rider that struggles with hotspots in the ball of your foot, you may find some relief. Lake’s wider design addresses the spread that our feet go through when pushing the pedals or swelling during long rides in the summer heat. It definitely helps, especially coming from a stiffer, more narrow shoe where hotspots and tingling started after about 90 minutes. 

The shoes aren’t the lightest (each size 42 shoe weighed in at 362g with a Time cleat), but the price point, fit, function, and style of these shoes can not be beat. They make an excellent shoe for those into endurance training, fondo’s, and the essential mid-ride espresso stop.