I got the chance to get my hands on a pair of DZR’s Minna shoes.  I’ve reviewed the H2O’s by DZR and really like them for commuting in wet climates.  The Minna’s are a completely different set of shoes and, yet, DZR has managed to build some familiarity into them.

Unboxing the shoes (check out the gallery above for the complete unboxing) your first look is of DZR’s shoe box.  A cool cyclist take on what a shoe box should be: chain link side cut out with a view of a sprocket leaning up against a building wall.  To each their own.  It’s cool, and I like it.

DZR wraps their shoes in a light fabric in the box avoid any scratching and to provide a bit more protection.  This gets discarded pretty quickly to find the real deal underneath.  And honestly, the shoes look better in person.  Looking at them on DZR’s website doesn’t do these shoes justice.  I can say that I felt the same way about the H2O’s.  There’s something better about holding them in your hand and looking at them.  The different textures of the shoes work really well together.  The suede, rubber and natural leather work well together and give the shoe a nice, urban look.  Adding to the urban look is the artwork.  Unfortunately, the only people that are going to really appreciate this while the shoe is in use is…you.  You can’t see any of the cool art detail while the shoe is in use, but I would prefer it this way than to have the art showcased on the exterior of the shoe.  The art is cool, but it’s nicer to have it on the bottom and the inside of the shoe.

Installing the cleats on the shoes were easy. This did not take any great feat to accomplish; just a 5/32 allen wrench.  Once I had the cleats on, I had to test the shoes on my bike, naturally.  Mounting into the pedals was as easy as it should be.  The cleat cavity is nice and large so there is no interference with the pedals.  Riding around for the first time felt good, too.  The shoes had a nice stiff feeling when pedaling, and there wasn’t as much give as there was with the all leather H2O’s.

So far the Minna’s feel like a comfortable, solid urban cycling shoe.  I’ll post an update in a couple of weeks and give a fuller description of how they work in real life.  For now, check out more of the Minna’s on DZR’s website.

UPDATE:

So, I’ve used the Minna’s for the last couple of weeks in both casual and riding situations. My first adventure in them was to the grocery store.  I slapped the shoes on my feet, attached the bike cart to my bike and off I went.  The clip in was smooth and easy, and once I got going on my bike, I pushed and pulled the shoes hard against the pedals to see how they reacted.  I was pleasantly surprised. The shoes felt solid pushing down against the pedals and responsively stiff in the upswing.  This was a welcome change from the rather loose feeling that the H2O’s give due to their leather construction.  The rest of the ride to the grocery store was rather fast paced after realizing the power transfer from my legs to the pedals was more efficient.

Walking around in the store with the shoes on went fine.  I was concerned with a potentially wet floor and the cleats creating an unsafe scenario, but this wasn’t the case.  The rubber tread kept my safe and upright the entire time.

I wanted to test the Minna’s out on a bit of a longer ride, too, so I took a13 miles ride to see how they fared.  Knowing that the shoes responded well when being pushed, I chose to start the ride out pushing both myself and the shoes.  Again, no hesitation here when pushing the shoes.  This was the only instance where I thought that the shoes could be better.  I don’t feel like they have been engineered/designed for long distance riding.  It may be due to the uppers material not being stiff enough and fatiguing my feet during the ride or it may be the fact that I’m riding a single speed a long distance.  Maybe neither the shoe nor the bike were setup for a longer ride.  It’s not a terrible pain, but it just gets uncomfortable by the end of the ride.

I wore the shoes around casually during the last couple of weeks and had zero complaints about them.  They were comfortable to wear around.  The only thing that you have to get used to is the stiff nylon sole that gives your step a spring.  Again, this is an energy transfer system, so energy in, energy out.  You have to get used to toeing off a bit harder to ‘feel’ like you’re walking normal.

I spoke with DZR about the care of the shoes.  They looked so nice coming out of the box, that I wanted to make sure that I knew how to take care of them.  As with most mixed material shoes, some soap and warm water will go a long way in keeping them clean.  If you want to go the extra mile and put something on them before you wear them, applying some leather conditioner on them will extend their life.  This obviously only applies to the leather areas of the shoe.

These shoes are definitely urban shoes.  They are meant to be worn in an urban setting, meant to be ridden in an urban setting and ultimately meant to be enjoyed in an urban setting.  I found the shoes to be their most comfortable on rides less than 10 miles long.  Their look allows them to be worn with many different styles, too.

Find out more about the artist, Jeremiah Bal:

 

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