I like the DMT KR1 shoes, a performance-led knitted shoe. Although, I'm not entirely convinced they would be better than a more traditionally made cycling shoe when it comes to racing.
Boa dial can pinch at the top of the foot
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Knitted shoes are the latest trend in cycling with the likes of Fizik and Giro tripping over each other to be the first to launch at Eurobike a year or so ago. Italian brand DMT wasn't too far behind with its latest performance shoe offering, the DMT KR1.
You would think knitting wasn't an ideal method of construction for the best cycling shoes but knitted trainers have been around for a few years now – the cycling industry tends to be about four years behind the mainstream – and I haven't heard many complaining about them.
The DMT RK1 is essentially a shoe of two parts like any other shoe. A 3D-engineered 3mm thick upper is bonded to a unidirectional carbon sole. The best thing about the knitted upper, according to DMT, is the fact that the upper has no waste, no stitching or glueing of extra parts to the upper, so comfort should be top notch.
Let's start with the carbon sole. It's a immensely stiff and looks beautifully sculpted to support the upper of the shoe as well as your foot. The carbon starts to rise above the sole of the foot to offer more support around the arch and the heel of the foot. It is vented at the front for cooling and the replaceable rear anti-skid inserts is a nice touch as these can wear quite quickly.
Out on the road pushing down on the pedals you can't feel any performance loss that might be down to the knitted element of the shoe. This is where the sole's stiffness comes in and speaks volumes of its performance. However, when pulling up on the pedals, getting out of the saddle or in general foot movement, support of the upper isn't the best considering it's a racing shoe.
I felt that my feet move around a little more than I'd ideally want. I'm usually a size 42, which is what I tested here, and I would say the fit is spot on in terms of a close fit. But the movement the knit allows means your foot moves around, especially under effort, which I didn't like so much.
That lack of support could partly be due to the single Boa dial, which struggles to pull all of the upper together to give a good overall closure, although it is the rear that suffers the most here – your foot will always be secured at the front.
Weight wise the shoes weigh 257g each for a size 42, which isn't bad. Compared to a size bigger Shimano RC9 the DMT KR1 win out here, just.
However, I do like the look of the DMT KR1s and they are comfortable. Not dialled up too tightly and if you're not looking for outright performance I would say that the KR1s are a good option. They are a stiff shoe and of course are good enough for the likes of Viviani, but I didn't get on with movement the upper gives during efforts or in a race situation.
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