I have been looking for a set of waterproof biking shoes for a while. After much deliberation I decided on the DZR H2O shoes. Some of you may know about DZR. For those that don’t, DZR makes bicycling shoes targeted at the urban audience and mountain bikers. DZR shoes were born in Switzerland and are based in the grand city of San Francisco, CA.
I’ve been commuting heavily for the past two years on my bike and doing this in the Pacific Northwest requires some decent protection against the rain. My old method of countering what the moister elements threw my way was to pack a set of socks in my waterproof bag and keep a set of dry shoes at work. For the most part, this method proved to be both easy to maintain and sufficient for my needs. The problems came when my riding shoes didn’t try out by the time I needed to head home. It also didn’t help when I forgot to restock my dry sock supply once.
When I received the shoes, I opened the box and was amazed at how soft the leather felt. DZR wasn’t kidding when they said supple leather. I have found myself rubbing them at work when I’m talking because they feel so soft! After I tried them on, my second impression was how stiff they were. They reminded me of wearing a thick soled work boot. This, of course, is intentionally designed into the shoe as part of DZR’s Task Collection which incorporates a co-molded nylon shank into the shoe.
The shoes that I wore before as a riding shoe are considered a running shoe. Much more pliable than these H2O’s. This was part of the shock in transitioning to this stiffer pair of shoes. I’ve been wearing them for the past two weeks and have gotten used to the stiffness of the shoe. After the first three days, I felt the shoes wearing in and they didn’t feel as stiff anymore. My first week and a half of riding was dry weather in the shoes, too. I thought I had somehow jinxed the weather I was used to by buying waterproof shoes. Mother Nature was surely laughing to herself. I didn’t have to wait too long for the rain to return and was ‘blessed’ with the chance to ride in some very heavy rains.
My decision to go with the DZR H2O was made easier because they were black leather and would work well with my work attire. I wanted to have something that I could wear on and off the bike and still fit into a business casual work environment. I feel that the aesthetics of these shoes accomplishes that with ease. The harder part that I didn’t anticipate was the comfort of the shoes. They fit my feet like a glove. I was initially concerned with the width of the shoes, but they have since stretched to fit my feet nicely. The insole/sole portion of the shoes do not make for a comfortable set of shoes. I believe that this is because of 1) the co-molded nylon shank and 2) the inclusion of the SPD cleat screws. I feel that both of these issues could be overcome with a better designed insole. Truth be told, the insole that is included with the shoes is near pointless. If you want a comfortable, waterproof shoe that looks great, buy these shoes and replace the insole with something that you find more comfortable.
The co-molded shank provides a lot of support during pedaling. I can really get on my pedals and push hard up hills. If this isn’t your style of riding, I would recommend against getting a shoe with this technology. Even out of the rain, these shoes are great on a bike. They feel good on your feet and stick to the pedals when needed (even better when you have cleats and pedals).
In researching these shoes, I realized that my feet would never be 100% dry by donning a pair of waterproof shoes. This is something that you should keep in mind, too. The top of the shoes remains wide open to the elements and the water running down your legs. The tops of my socks still get wet. This is still a better proposition for me than arriving to work with socks that are 75% wet and don’t dry out by the time you’re going home.
The point to take home about these shoes is that they are great. The co-molded shank provides a lot of stability during pedaling and the shoes look great while doing it. During the last couple of weeks, I got these shoes as wet as I possibly could and they shrugged it off like a bad day. If you’re looking for a sturdy pair of good looking waterproof shoes, give these a consideration.