The shoelace-based mountain bike shoe has not only made a resurgence, it looks like it is here to stay. Last September, we got a first look of Giro's Empire VR90 off-road shoes that were turning a lot of heads. Recently, Sommerville Sports has also released their laces model, called the Shredder, which seeks to provide a shoe for commuters and trail riders alike.
David Sommerville, founder of the business, started the company in 2001 to focus on fitting and race promotion. When he retired from racing and started working on athletic apparel, he continued using the name as it was already known in the NYC region. The company is no stranger to cyclocross. You may remember Sommerville as the company who made Jonathan Page's National Championship jersey, which was also worn by plenty of adoring fans as well as Captain America. Sommerville is still working with Page in what they call a great relationship.
Our first impression of the Shredder is that early the laces and vintage look is in - without the need to nail your cleats in position like your dad’s old Detto Pietros. Unlike the loud orange of the Giros, Sommerville Sports opted for a more formal approach. Even the waxed laces feel like they belong on dress shoes.
The full grain leather is black all around, but this is where the shoe's quietness ends. Sommerville lined their Shredder with a reflective Scotchlite liner, which will keep riders visible especially after we switch back from daylight savings come cyclocross season.
For a shoe without carbon, its sole feels surprisingly stiff. One major note about the sole platform, as you can see in the photos of the slider below, they don't accept toe spikes, which could be a deal breaker for those who want to maximize traction on their local course's run-ups.
The Shredders run a bit large - ½ to full size larger than its Giro/Sidi counterparts from our initial impressions. They only come in whole sizes, and unlike the Dettos, they are not built around narrow Italian feet. Upon initial inspection, our guess is that they accommodate typical medium to wider American feet. Of course, the beauty of laces is that it’s easy to get a custom fit.
Our test size 46 model weighs 424g each, which is 50-60g more than the Empire VR90, although the latter is $120 above the $180 price tag of the Shredders, which is just about at the $1/gram benchmark for weight weenies.
Sommerville also has a road version, the all white Tiorati, which retails for $40 more at $220. You can find more information at sommervillesports.com and use the slider below for some of the first look photos of the Shredder.