First Impressions: A month with Vittoria’s Supra MTB shoes

At Interbike this fall, we had the chance to sit down with Michael from Vittoria USA to learn more about the company- and their shoes.  A separate company from the other Vittoria (which makes tires), Vittoria was founded in 1976 by a Tour de France, Vuelta a Espana, and Giro d’Italia veteran.  35 years later, their shoes have been worn to victory by Sean Kelly, Maurizio Fondriest, Marco Pantani, Paola Pezzo, and Thor Hushovd.

With all of their shoes (starting under $100) still made in Italy, Vittoria’s manufacturing flexibility is a big part of their current story.  While the company produces 81 stock model/color combinations in 27 sizes, three non-standard widths are available in addition to their standard width at no charge- and different-sized pairs are available for a nominal upcharge.  Want mountain uppers on road soles?  No problem.  Want carbon-soled, mountain-treaded shoes with uppers from the company’s stylish 1976 line?  You bet.  All this in 2-3 weeks from order to your local bike shop.

Given my low-volume feet, I was excited to exercise Vittoria’s system and order my first-ever ‘made for me’ cycling shoes.  I placed an order for a pair of the company’s range-topping Supra mountain shoe in the “low volume” fit with a stiff-but-walkable CNS Carbon Heart sole.  In white.  Just under three weeks later, the Vittorias arrived.  Hit the jump to see how things are going…

Though Vittoria do use a steel-cabled Rotor system on their higher-end road shoes, for the Supra MTBs they prefer the simplicity of two Velcro straps and a single Micro Closure ratchet.  Also available in black/red, the Supra MTB typically is built with the super-stiff MTB Dual Carbon sole ($350) or the MTB Carbon Heart sole ($300), which has a bit of forefoot flex for the walks that are an inevitable part of big days in the mountains or for cyclocross use.  The solidly-built ratchet (covered as part of the shoes’ lifetime warranty) has an aluminum lever that shields the red release button from accidental adjustment.  The assembly can be mounted to any one of three mounting points and a dense pad can be adjusted side-to-side on the ratchet strap to sit comfortably.

Despite being low-volume shoes, I bottomed out the ratchet in its central position and so went to move it to its lowest spot.  Unfortunately, Vittoria has had a handful of un-threaded anchors slip past final inspection- and two of them in to our sample shoes.  Happily, they were easy to rearrange and Vittoria has replacements to send out, along with their apologies.  With Micro Closure in the lowest position and some custom Footbalance insoles in place (look for a review soon), I was looking good and ready to ride.

The shoes’ toe is reinforced with nubbly Pebax polyurethane to help fend off rock damage.  Despite a shiny appearance when new, the CNS Carbon Heart soles’ silver tread is fairly grippy on rocks and the sole itself is as good a balance as I’ve found between all-day riding stiffness and off-bike walkability.  Though the molded plastic heel cup is almost a throwback, the shiny embossed Microfiber Tech fabric gives the Supras a futuristic, undeniably Italian look.  In fact, the Vittorias have attracted more compliments than anything else I’ve ridden lately.  It must be the molded rubber tricolor at the heel.

After a couple of weeks’ riding, the Supras have broken in to become some of my most comfortable riding shoes- and completely displacing my old favorites.  The white finish is suffering most where my duck feet rub the cranks, where it has taken on an aluminum sheen and there’s a small rock gouge just beyond the Pebax reinforcement on one foot.  At least people will know that I actually ride.  My only real complaint so far (choosing white mountain shoes was my own fault- and I still love the look) is the Micro Closure’s release:  well protected from rocks and sticks, it’s also difficult to release when taking the shoes off (let alone while riding).  At 460g apiece (920g actual for the pair, size 43.5), the Vittorias won’t break any weight records but do seem built for the long haul.  I’ll be back this spring with a final verdict…

marc

www.vittoria-shoes.com

Comments

Brian - 11/10/11 - 9:51am

Does it not make sense to anyone else that MTB shoes are white? I don’t get this!?

Jamal - 11/10/11 - 10:11am

Everybody knows white shoes are faster, it’s science. How about a picture of the sole?

Mark W. - 11/10/11 - 11:04am

a roadie like me buys a white mountain shoe
the funny thing is my white mavic shoes are still white after a season of cross

Marc - 11/10/11 - 10:09pm

Brian,

The shoes are also available in black (with red where the blue is on mine). Though it’s not for everyone, I’m digging the white for sure (with 7in black socks this time of year)… Whatever floats your boat!

marc

Tom - 11/13/11 - 2:31pm

Would love to know how the fit compares to Sidi, especially with regard to volume. My feet are so low volume that I’m almost on the limit of Sidi adjustability!

Mr Bojangles - 11/14/11 - 9:39am

White is really only the icing on the cake. $350 mountain bike shoes that you have to wait 3 weeks to get? I think someone needs more cowbell.

Michael-Vittoria Shoes - 11/14/11 - 9:54am

To Tom:

Thanks for the question. We can make any of our shoes in a low volume version and if you have an unusually low volume or high volume foot for that matter, we absolutely can make a shoe for you. Hopefully Marc will comment on how they fit a bit more since his are a low volume version. Please email or call us if you have any othe questions.

Marc - 11/14/11 - 10:08pm

Bo!

Why the hate- Is anyone else doing shoes to order faster than that? Maybe I should have been clearer: off-the-shelf combinations are available more or less immediately…

Tom,

I have actually never worn Sidi shoes, so can’t make a direct comparison. The ‘standard’ low volume isn’t freakishly small- I still wound up using the lowest ratchet position. It sounds as though Vittoria are able to work with you, though. Being able to spec a less-expensive model in a super-low volume might be the way to check the fit- then you could step up if they work out. Good luck and let us know if you pull the trigger,

marc

Michael-Vittoria Shoes - 11/15/11 - 7:11am

Mr. Bojangles,

To your comment about delivery time-As Marc stated, this pair of shoes were customed made for him by our factory in Biella, Italy. 100% of our product is produced by us in Northwest Italy. Once we have a “special” like Marc’s, it is ordered from the factory and we traditionally quote a 10 to 14 day delivery time to the United States. The shipment arrives in our MidWest office where they are checked to make sure they are made to spec. They are then shipped to the end user. From the MidWest, we are usually around 4 days anywhere in the US. So total time is usually around 14 to 21 days depending on holidays and weekends thrown in there.

We have many of our “standard” width and style shoes in our US warehouse. And we usually turn shoes around within 1 day from the date the order comes into us.

Again as Marc stated, these are a custom made shoe. I would challenge any other company out there to offer the sizes, style, sole options, color options and of course custom shoe option and to do it in that amount of time. And of course with no up charge for a custom made pair of shoes.

Sorry for the rant. I know this is not the place for it. Just wanted to clarify how our custom shoes work.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.

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