18 June 2013

New shoe review... (I'm so damn clever...)

So, I've had these "new" Diadora ProRacer 3 kicks for nearly a year.  They've been languishing in the box mainly because...

A) I'm a bit Lazy  (capital "L" there...)
B) With a seatmast bike, such as my now-retired Ridley Helium, it can be a bit more involved to set up new shoes. 
C) I'm a creature of habit.  I liked my old Diadoras, they still worked, and they felt like old, beat up slippers.  Sort of adopted that look as well...

When ManCation '13 hit a few weeks ago, I decided it was time to break out the new hotness...

Saddle height was figured, and I was forced to go LOWER by about 5mm.  The very thin, full carbon sole was the reason behind this change.  I also lowered the stem 5mm to keep my saddle/bar drop the same.  Everything felt good.
After some initial fiddling with insoles, wedges, and cleat positioning, the shoes were ready to be pressed into full time service.
One problem.  The left shoe was EATING the tops of my toes.  I thought it may be an issue of the shoe being low volume, which it really isn't, even considering it's Made in Italy.
I even went so far as to by a shoe stretcher from a Diabetic Supply Company in New Jersey.
Even after stretching, my little piggies were still unhappy, and one even threatened to go to the market.
I dug deeper, literally.  Once I nearly turned the shoe inside out, I found that the tongue, as minimalistic as it is, was sewn over on itself, creating a rough lump.  A scalpel, and some VERY careful cutting fixed the issue.
No more roughed up piggies.

The VERY first thing I noticed about the Proracer 3s was the stiffness.  Not only are the soles WAY stiffer than my aged/ancient Diadora Carbon Pro shoes, mainly due to the full carbon soles, but the uppers didn't exactly have the give I was used to.  Probably because I was used to the old, worn out shoes...
After a the aforementioned stretching, and a few good soakings deliver by Mother Nature, they have, thankfully, become damn comfy.
This stiffness, even though it might be problematic at the beginning of the shoe's life with the rider, is an advantage, in that, the stiffer materials wear better over time.
A perfect comparison is to Mavic Zxellium shoes.  They feel like slippers right out of the box, but after a season, they look older than they really should, which leads me to believe that they FEEL older as well.

The two velcro straps on the toe and midfoot do just what velcro is supposed to do...offer infinite adjustability.  The MicroCL buckle does the same.
The buckle itself can be moved to two different positions, and the strap anchor on the inside (arch) of the shoe offers three locations.  If one cannot find a comfy set up, one isn't trying hard enough.  The buckle and strap are also available as replacement pieces, and aren't horribly expensive, or hard to find.

The PR3s are also considerably lighter than my old shoes.  How much?  About 100g per shoe.  Big deal you say?  Well, that's nearly a half-pound, and it's rotational weight. 

Another wonderful feature is the FLAT, full carbon sole.

I know that some other companies espouse the virtues of their canted soles in order to achieve proper knee alignment, but what they don't tell you is that this "corrective feature" doesn't work for everyone.
I have back and hip issues, and I am forced to ride all sorts of wedges, inserts, and insoles to get my foot/leg/hip position correct.  (Pssst...thanks to Retul for figuring this out...)
The FLAT sole offers the opportunity to tune the shoe however one needs it.  And I needed it. 
The sole is also well vented, and as I said before, STIFF.
One thing that I am a bit irritated by is this....
I've worn these not-inexpensive beasts for MAYBE 20 rides, and the damn heel pad fell off somewhere along the way.  Again, it's an easily found, inexpensive, and replaceable piece, but it really should have fallen off so quickly...or at all.  And of course, red pads are the Loch Ness Monster of Diadora heel pads.  You can see pictures of them, but finding them...not so much.  I have a pair of garish, non-matching neon yellow pads inbound from Europe as I type this sentence.  They may get plasti-dipped BLACK.

Overall, I'm very pleased with the ProRacer 3 shoes.  I've gone away from wearing Diadora a few times, but have always come back.  I've been wearing Diadora cycling shoes, for road, CX, and mountain since 1995.  They just fit, and they perform the function for which they were designed, without a whole lot of drama.
Are they expensive?  The higher end shoes can be, but what higher end cycling shoes aren't?  Good quality costs less in the long run...
The PR3s have worn well thus far...just a little dirty, but that's easily remedied.

Action shot...

I should probably buy another pair, to leave in the closet, for when these finally need to be replaced.  Hopefully, that won't happen for a long while...

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