Friday, December 4, 2009

These boots are made for cyclin'

Last week I received a packet from the US. It contained shoes -- a pair of Chrome Arnhem Black Suede, to be precise. Everybody wears shoes, so what's so special about them, you might wonder. Well, these shoes are made for cycling and that's why I got a pair to review them.

Chrome Arnhem Black Suede

Cycling shoes? But not clip-less? What the heck is that supposed to be? What's wrong with my usual shoes? That was basically my first confusion, but it also got me interested. I already own a Chrome messenger bag, and since I'm quite happy with that, I wanted to give their shoes a chance too. Chrome produced a series of shoes with the following intentions:
"We wanted tough shoes we could wear every day – not just on our bikes. Here they are: shoes built to work well in all kinds of situations, with quality materials, solid construction, and simple style."
So let's see what I found out and whether all of that proves true...

Yeah, the shoes simply look awesome. They are made of lovely black suede combined with a fine red line and a red sole. Very stylish and elegant at the same time. I like the design.
To be fair, they are not super-elegant and to be worn with a ball gown, but especially the Arnhem can definitely compete with other mid-height footwear.

At first the shoes felt a bit stiff, but they good soft pretty soon. I wore them now for one week and they are super comfy and fit perfectly. The Arnhem go up to the ankles which makes them a good companion for this ugly gray, cold and rainy weather we have in Vienna at this time of the year. Despite of that, although I wore them all day long, I never sweat in them. Thus they are quite breathable too.

Durability and Quality
Well, I can't tell much about that as I only have them since one week. However, the high quality of their bags seems to carry of over to their shoes. They are neat workmanship with great affection to details (just look at the sewed in dragon).

Weather resistance
As already mentioned, I think the shoes are very good for this kind of rainy weather we have these days. I don't think they are completely waterproof, but certainly very water-repellent (I did actually test them in rain :)), something that I cannot claim from all my usual shoes. Some of the latter got soaked a few times during cycling and I tinkered with the idea of buying waterproof mid-height shoes, but such pairs just never met my fashion standards. So I think that the Chrome shoes can be a good fashionable alternative in light/normal rain.
Regarding temperature I think they are good for fall, spring and mild winters. Yesterday has been a rather cold day and I got the impression that I can not cycle in the Arnhem throughout the winter. Well, some thicker socks might do the trick :).

Usability for cycling
The Chrome shoes do in fact have some features that one could consider bike related. Besides weather resistance, their shoes also have a skid-resistant rubber sole, a low profile design to fit in toe cages and most remarkably reflective safety hits at the heels.
Whether one needs all of the above (and more) probably also depends on how well-equipped the bike is. For example, I already have reflectors on my pedals and don't really want my shoes to reflect. But then it's not disturbing either. Chrome obviously put in some effort to create shoes that are comfy and safe in any condition.

I experimented with the shoes in different ways, and also tried to combine them with different clothes. I think the Arnhem, my cord skirt and especially my black&red leg warmers matched up nicely :).
Sometimes the shoes make a funny sound when I walk. It's not really disturbing or loud, but my office mates occasionally notice my shamble along the corridor prior my arrival. Haven't yet figured out why they do that, and why only sometimes (maybe it's just my funny way of walking).

Finally, I hope that was of some help in case you're looking for some shoes like that. I will continue to enjoy the Chrome Arnhem as well as all my other usual shoes -- namely during cycling :).

More details about all their designs (Arnhem, Midway, Saipan, Kursk): Chrome shoes


Miguel said...

This is the second review of these shoes I've seen so far. I like the look. It's too bad Chrome doesn't have distribution in Europe (especially Spain!) because having these shipped overseas would make them ridiculously expensive.

How's the shoe sizewise, larger, smaller than your normal sizing?

Steve A said...

No provisions for cleats at all? My shoes had a rubber piece that could be removed prior to screwing on SPD cleats.

Miguel said...

Steve, I'm seeing more and more bicycle shoes lately for people who ride straight pedals or toe clips or Powergrips or those velcro jobs. Bicycle shoes in the sense that the soles are firmer and possibly the overall construction is more appropriate for pedal action.

anna said...

@ Miguel: I just used that shoe size table in Wikipedia to convert the European to the American size, and it worked well for me. I got the size that I usally have.

@ Steve A: It might actually be possible to cut out that black rubber piece in middle (one can take out the inner sole), but I don't know if that has the right size and whether this is meant to happen. They don't mention anything like that on their homepage...

Velouria said...

Cool review! I received these shoes as well, but they are much too large on me. I misunderstood the sizing, and I do not think they actually make shoes in my size (women's 7US/ 37EU / 4.5UK). Too bad, because they are gorgeous and they look well-made. The only thing I'd change (other than asking them to produce my size!) would be to reduce the prominence of the branding logos.

Dottie said...

Great review! Your outfit with the striped legwarmers is awesome :) I find the shoe style too strong and bulky, but that's personal preference. After reading all about the shoes, though, I still don't see the reason for a cycling specific shoe like this. Most good quality shoes have all the benefits of these shoes, and rubber soles and a bit of reflective tape could always be added to shoes for a very low cost. Maybe if I used toe cages, it would make a difference.

l' homme au velo said...

They look great,a bit like Clarks Desert Boots but with better Soles. It is a Pity they do not sell them in Europe. I might be temped to buy them for Summer.

Bob Louis said...
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