Shoes, so often forgotten but 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 off the bike. 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.
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 design before.
I saw the new range of Vaude shoes at Eurobike and since July I 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!).I’ve used them purely with SPD’s but they can be used with the cover on for flat pedals and have decent tread traction to ensure a good off bike shoe too.
After 2 months of almost daily use from mountain biking in Scotland (not strictly what they are design for!) to riding the Tour of Utah road Queen stage and then some all day gravel rides too, I am happy to say I like these shoes a lot.
Firstly the shoe is very comfy from the box, the mid shoe is secure with good arch support with the 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 it has to be laces and a velcro strap like these have. 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.
The only slight negative is a concern over longevity, the outer fabric over the mesh on the toe has started to peel a tiny bit not enough to show in a picture. However will this get worse or will it stay the same? I’ll update this review after the winter though.
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.