Shoes, so often forgotten yet they can make or break a long bikepacking ride. On most tours we opt for comfy lightweight trekking focused SPD shoes but occasionally we’ve gone with flats if there is likely to be a lot of time hiking off the bike.
Lightweight bike travel shoes need to strike a careful balance between weight, off bike comfort, stiffness, longevity and breathability. It is hard to get it right and compromises must be in the right area but certainly not comfort, I’ve been known to take a knife to shoes mid trip to ease pressure points and dubious designs before. To give context – I have pretty average width feet and shoes generally fit me well but in the search for the perfect shoes I’ve previously used options from Shimano, Specialized, Giro and Bontrager too with mixed success.
I saw the new range of Vaude shoes at Eurobike in 2018 year and have been testing out the Vaude TVL Pavei shoe in the rather fantastic bright blue colour called glacial stream (also available in black for dull people!) ever since.I’ve used them purely with SPD’s but they can be used with the cover on for flat pedals and they have decent tread traction to ensure a good off bike shoe too.
Firstly the shoe is very comfy from the box, the mid shoe feels secure with good arch support with the supplied Ortholite inner sole. The toe box is roomy and there’s no pressure points for me. There’s certainly no need to take a knife to these to make room for odd shaped toes, but nor do they slip around.
The construction is lightweight (780gm a pair) and really breathable too, there is also a windproof waterproof option if that’s what you’re into. However being mesh/breathable these dry impressively quick if they get wet and they don’t soak up lots of water, something that can add huge weight and mean wet feet for days with some shoes.
For remote trips my shoes have to have laces and a velcro strap like these for reliability and ease of repair. Maybe obvious to most of you already but the strap is vital to keep laces from straying into the chain or around the crank. Laces are easy to replace and simple to find anywhere; ratchets, boas or even ripped off velcro straps are harder to fix.
Something we are keen to support more and more on this blog are companys making an effort to source sustainable materials and Vaude are doing that. The rubber sole contains 20% recycled rubber, it doesn’t sound much but it’s 20% better than any other shoe I am aware of.
How did they fair long term?
I’ll be honest I did wonder how well these shoes would hold up after a bit of the fabric over the toe started to come unglued quite soon. However after a year this has remained about the same which was a pleasant surprise. The laces frayed and needed replacing after a year but otherwise they are still much the same. The inner sole has compacted and the stiffness has reduced in the outer too. The rubber sole has worn but not too much for the amount of off bike usage they have had. Overall I have been very impressed by these shoes from Vaude.
Altogether a good looking and practical option for warmer weather bikepacking and they are the comfiest trekking shoes I’ve tried before. In Scotland I would opt for the waterproof version but these are perfect our summer or overseas trips. The RRP is £110 but looking online there a few places selling them for less than that.