Super-sturdy, understated and stylish mountain biking shoes that tighten with the twist of a dial.
The Specialized Women’s Motodiva MTB shoes are a satisfying combination of sturdy and tough-as-hell whilst looking sleek and understated -- so understated, in fact, that it’s very difficult to spot the Specialized logo lightly embossed on the side. They’re great to stomp around in when off the bike, equally reassuring if you have to put your foot down amongst rocks and roots and sufficiently rubbery to repel water over most of their surface. That said, there is enough mesh and some strategically placed vents, that your feet don’t get too clammy. The “injection-moulded nylon composite outsole with rubber tread" is flexible yet comfortable, but thick and rigid enough to offer decent pedalling efficiency.
Boa-system fastening -- which has proved popular on road shoes -- takes a bit of getting used to and I’m not sure I’d choose it over a more conventional laces/Velcro combo. I found that the shoes felt comfy and snug, but that there was always a slight wrinkle in the side of the shoe, where to refused to sit flat against the side of my foot. A different-shaped foot, and it might have been fine, but surely a shoe should be flexible enough to fit a variety of foot shapes?
It would also be handy if you could ready the + and - symbols on the dial, as it’s too easy to wind it the wrong way when in a hurry. Lastly, as you slide your foot in, and the tongue rucks up, it can be a struggle reaching under the Boa fastening, to pull the tongue into place.
The advantage over laces is that the dial never loosened of its own accord, and stayed where I set it. How the dials perform over time, in filthy conditions, is yet to be decided but the dials are easily replaced if necessary -- according to Specialized. As well as the Boa dial-fastening, there are two Velcro straps -- which are a tried-and-tested -- solution. Overall, the shoes feel like they are built to last -- which you would hope for, given the price. I like the shaped footbed which is both comfortable and supportive.
The shoes look good, not flash, and the tab of reflective material on the heal is a nice touch which will help keep you safe on late-night finishes.
Feet feel really protected
Rigid = decent pedalling efficiency
Boa fastening makes “tongue" difficult to get at and pull flat
Symbols on dial too small to read
Branding too subtle to read (if you are a labels kind of lady!)
Verdict: A great do-it-all shoe for women who like to cycle hard, who care about pedalling efficiency and like an understated look.
Price: £129.99, available from Specialized.
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