Nike YVR Shoes
We opened our cardboard box to appropriate cries of “New Shooz” about two weeks ago and we’ve been wearing the shoes* on most rides since. Long enough to see most weather conditions, scuff them on rocks and experience that comforting initial “give” anyway.
*Actually we’ve only ridden one shoe as the other foot gets to wear an old favourite (normally Carnac) to see how the new shu compares. Yes, it does look stupid. No, we don’t care.
Nike, the mega brand of sports goods had some decent mountain bike product a while back but after the first Olympics didn’t see the massive rise of the sport some expected it all went a bit quiet and tailed off.
They’ve been sponsoring all-American hero Lance Armstrong for a while now, so it makes sense for them to capitalise with a new range of clobber. We’re starting at the bottom and working up with shorts and shirt reviews coming soon.
The YVR sits at the affordable end of Nike’s race / recreation shoe range, below two carbon soled shoes (Carnerso and Ligure).
The nylon sole is glass fibre reinforced, with enough stiffness for responsive pedalling but some give for walking rather than waddling. Ideal for most trail riders as the slight flex causes less ache on longer rides, but those used to super stiff shoes may detect a pressure point over the cleat.
The tread is soft enough to grip on rock and roots with good grip for off camber scrambling and optional toe studs for front pointing up climbs. Mud clearance is good around the cleat and heel centre where it really matters, but it can linger on around the outer tread.
Twin broad straps hold the shoe in place very effectively without pressure points or need for underlacing and the high heel stops lift when tramping up climbs on foot. The synthetic leather upper gives veggie cred, it’s easy to wipe clean and seems plenty scuff proof. Best of all the mesh panels aren’t the usual sieves that let water straight in (there’s a few seconds delay that will let you splash through most puddles) and the big tongue isn’t a heavy drinker either.
Fit is improved by half size (and women’s specific) availability and despite the threat of an Italian last (normally long and narrow) there’s enough room in the toe box and forefoot for wider Anglo Saxon hooves. A clear rubber bumper helps keep toes from suffering if you stub rocks and overall feel is a good balance between the skimpy, slightly vulnerable feel of SIDI’s and the ‘foot set in stone’ bombproofing of Carnacs.Does it work?
It fitted our feet well, it stayed put whether we ran or pedalled and it’s light without feeling skimpy. There’s a slight pressure point over the cleat when you’re cranking really hard but otherwise they handled all weathers and trail conditions really well.
Should I buy one?
Shoes are a personal thing but we reckon Nike have balanced things very well to suit most people. The sole won’t cripple you when walking but provides a decent kick, and the upper is tough without feeling restrictive. Roomy toes and half sizes also make a tailor-made fit easy to achieve off the shelf.They haven’t got all the ratchets bells and whistles of more expensive shoes, but in many ways they’re better for it as they’re often the bits that break first. If you don’t happen to like the lifeboat colours then there’s a silver and black version too.
Overall a well priced quality all rounder that’s well worth considering whether you’re a label hunter or not.