Detailed first impressions of he Diadora Vortex Pro cycling shoe
In yesterday’s blog I posted some pictures and information on my newest bit of cycling gear, a beautiful pair of Diadora Vortex Pro cycling shoes. My full review of the Vortex Pros won’t be happening until I have put hundreds of miles on them (including at least a couple century rides), but this morning I’d like to give some initial impressions after my first ride with the shoes.
Before I set off on my ride, the first thing I did was experiment with the boa closure system until I had a snug, but not overly tight fit. Right off the bat it became obvious that the boa closure system blows the Velcro straps used on all of my previous cycling shoes straight out of the water. The Vortex Pro shoe has two independent tension dials, and each dial is micro-adjustable. Because the dials are independent, I was able to adjust the upper and lower part of the shoe precisely to my liking.
One potential negative aspect of the Vortex Pro boa closure system is that micro-adjustments for releasing tension while riding are not possible. In order to release tension, one must pop up the dial, press it back down, and then turn to tighten. In practice this was not a big deal (I performed the procedure a few times while riding), but it’s worth mentioning.
Micro-adjustments to increase tension while riding are easy.
Apart from the minor niggle mentioned above, I was extremely impressed with the boa closure system. With my old SIDI and Shimano shoes (both of which use Velcro Straps), I was never able to truly lock my feet in to the shoes. What I mean by that is that when I would pull up on the pedals, I could feel my feet moving vertically inside the shoe. That’s wasted power. With the boa closure system I was able to dial in a snug, but comfortable, fit that prevented virtually all vertical foot movement inside the shoe. That’s a huge win.
I only did about 25 miles yesterday, but I hit a few sections very hard. Also, as you can see in the below in-ride photo, it was pretty warm (click to enlarge):
The Vortex Pros are significantly more comfortable than my SIDIs, and definitely cooler. Ample ventilation holes combined with Diadora’s innovative Net Breathing System (picture) combine for a very cool riding shoe. The fact that the shoes are white (my SIDIs were black) is probably helping, too.
The Net Breathing System, by the way, is designed to allow air, sweat and moisture out of the shoe, but it prevents water, mud and so forth from traveling into the shoe. Well, that’s the idea, anyway–I have not personally tested this yet.
Another difference between the Vortex Pro and the SIDI Genius 5 is that the Vortex Pro has a full 3k carbon fiber sole, and is noticeably stiffer than the SIDI’s carbon composite sole. I could feel absolutely ZERO flex when I was putting some big watts into the pedals. After 25,000 miles on the SIDIs, this difference was stark and immediately noticeable. In other words, more of the power I’m putting out is being transferred to the pedals.
A snugger fit, a stiffer sole and less rotational weight (the Vortex Pro shoes are 122 grams lighter than the SIDI Genius Pro 5 shoes) should translate to a noticeable performance improvement. On yesterday’s ride, for example, I was not recovered from Sunday’s very tough solo training ride, and I still came within a few watts of a couple lifetime power bests.
Removing the shoes after a ride is effortless: pop up the two boa knobs, and the shoe comes right off. Minor, I know, but worth mentioning–especially because the ratcheting top buckle on my SIDIs would sometimes stick, making adjustments and removing the shoes a pain.
I’m doing a century this weekend, and I very hopeful that the painful hotspot issues I’ve been dealing with for the past couple of years are now a thing of the past. Now that I’ve finally found a saddle that I feel comfortable on, if my burning big toe issue is resolved with these shoes I’ll be able to ride until my legs give out!