Stiff enough for racing but comfortable enough for all-dayers, the Lake CX332 are available in a huge size range and custom colour scheme, meaning there's very little not to like about these mouldable and lightweight shoes.
Multiple size options
Mouldable carbon heel cup
Boa closure system
Stiff carbon sole
Custom colour option
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As a brand that once claimed the most expensive road shoe crown with the £369.99 Lake CX402 (FYI the £900 Mavic Comete Ultimate are now in the top spot), you can be sure Lake knows a thing or two when it comes to producing luxury cycling shoes, and I had high hopes for one of its newest models, the Lake CX332.
Lake was one of the first cycling shoe manufacturers to use kangaroo leather in the upper of its shoes, and the Lake CX332 is no exception. Made from K-Lite, Lake believes that this leather is the lightest, strongest and most durable available. The leather then undergoes multiple surface treatments that Lake says helps protect the shoe and improve the comfort of your feet. The Duratek treatment to said to strengthen the leather and protect it from abrasions, with the Microblok Antimicrobial treatment making the leather uninhabitable to microbes and germs.
The Lake CX332 heel and tongue liner is made from a fabric called Outlast. Lake says this is a smart fabric technology that helps maintain a constant skin temperature, helping your feet say warm or cool depending on the requirement. The internal heel counter is also heat-mouldable carbon that aims to give the shoe a custom heel hold and prevent it slipping.
Underneath, the Lake CX332 uses a 100 per cent carbon-fibre sole that is somewhat uniquely available with both three-bolt or Speedplay-specific options*. The CX332 also comes with Lake's patented double sole system. The inner sole is a semi-flexible fibreglass platform that, according to Lake, allows the foot to have some flexibility at the ball of the foot where it tends to swell and typically hotspots would occur. This inner sole is suspended over the outer rigid carbon sole – a system that Lake claims allows an extremely stiff carbon outsole without sacrificing riding comfort.
>>> Are carbon soles necessary?
Closure-wise the Lake CX332 uses a double side-mounted L6 Boa push/pull lacing system. Used on some of our most highly regarded shoes, such as the Giro Factor Tech Lace shoe, the L6 is what Boa says is its maximum impact protection, resistance to accidental opening and dirt contamination.
It's worth noting here that I tested a pair of size 40EU Lake CX332 shoes, and although there are male and female versions, as well as wide-fitting options, Lake is keen to stress that ultimately it's about getting a shoe that fits, and with an impressive size range from 36-to 48EU including wide fitting and half sizes* it has one of the biggest ranges to choose from.
*Some are special orders from Europe.
Lake CX332: ride
Slipping on the Lake CX332 it's clear these lightweight shoes at 466g sure have racing pedigree, and that's before the moulding had taken place. I worked directly with a Lake shoe specialist to ensure I got a perfect fit with the heat moulding, and I would recommend a shop visit to help you out with the fitting too, although I'm promised it really isn't too onerous to do this yourself at home.
Once the moulding was complete, the Lake CX332 really did feel snug and fitted the back of my heel really comfortably. The Boa L6 closure system was easy to use and allowed for tightening adjustability down to the millimetre, which is also easy to do on the move, although the only way to loosen is to pull up the dial for a quick release and then to retighten as required. It's a minor thing, but did mean the shoe becomes really loose before you have to tighten it up again – annoying if you accidentally overtighten again.
When pedalling, the Lake CX332 shoes felt really stiff, with any pressing downwards immediately transferred to forward propulsion, easily on a par with the Specialized S-Works 6 road shoe but with significantly more padding. As Lake had alluded to in the marketing of the double sole system, the shoe was noticeably more comfortable than other brands with similar sole stiffness.
Overall I was really impressed with the comfort the Lake CX332 delivered for weight and stiffness, a pair of shoes that could just as easily be at home in a crit race or an all-day audax.
With so many size options, heel moulding and custom colours available, along with the precision of the Boa L6 closure system, the Lake CX332 shoes are pretty bespoke. A shoe this comfortable can easily be worn for everyday excursions or just saving for the best one-off all-day epics – making the value aspect very much down to the rider.
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