Updated Project 24.2 Review: Vittoria’s made-to-order Supra MTB shoes
See all of our Project 24.2 reviews here!
Made in Italy. That little phrase- though increasingly hard to find- is almost magical in the cycling world. Not only does it signify a high-end product, but those three words evoke a land where food is enjoyed, style is effortless, and cycling is a part of culture. Founded by an accomplished racer and in business for over 35 years, Vittoria make each and every pair of their shoes- from under $100 to over $400- at their factory 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. Even different-sized pairs are available for a nominal fee. 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. Vittoria USA can make any of this happen in 2-3 weeks from your order to when they land in your local bike shop.
With their $300 sticker coming well under high end Asian-made (not that there’s anything wrong with that) shoes from bigger brands, how have Vittoria’s Supra MTBs treated my feet? Pretty darn well. Click through for the details…
As noted in my Initial Impressions, I chose Vittoria’s “low volume” fit for my first ever pair of made-for-me shoes. The racy white uppers seemed fittingly Italian (black is also available), and the MTB Carbon Heart sole is intended to blend pedaling stiffness with off-bike walkability. Order-to-delivery time was, as promised, just under three weeks.
Despite being low-volume shoes, I did bottom out the ratchet in its central position (of three) and so went to move it to its lowest spot. It turns out that Michael and I were talking about different kinds of low-volume feet. While my feet are very low across the top of their arches, I didn’t make that clear to Vittoria- who built my samples with low volume toe boxes. If you’re in any way hard to fit, it pays to double-check before materials are cut. 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 aftermarket insoles in place , I was looking good and ready to ride.
Though they’re noticeably heavier than the Specialized S-Works Evo shoes with which they’ve been sharing a shelf, it’s more in a ‘these are built to last’ rather than a ‘these are heavy‘ kind of way. And the construction does seem sturdy in ways other than weight. The Microfibra Tech uppers seem more than able to handle encounters with rough Albuquerque granite and the old school plastic heel cup sure isn’t going anywhere. The aluminum CRS ratchet has been solid and is much easier to enter or exit than trendy cable closures- though the red release button doesn’t want to let go unless tension is relieved.
The MTB Carbon Heart sole has been perfect for my riding- stiff enough for single speeding on Eggbeaters but still comfortable when off the bike. The aren’t as soft as some in my current collection- but they’re far from slippery on rocks. The sole (get it?) disappointment has been the undersized toe tread, which is showing some premature wear. Optional toe studs should keep ‘crossers and muddy mountain bikers happy.
The perforated uppers and tongue are lightly padded and do a great job at keeping hot spots away. The provided insoles aren’t terribly supportive- Specialized’s BG++ insoles and cants work for me here as well as with all of my other shoes. The positionable ratchet strap pad is a bit funky looking- but as comfy as they come.
As winter turns to summer and lightweight socks make their way to the top of the drawer, I’m realizing that my miscommunication with Vittoria about my “low volume” feet meant a shoe that is just a bit on the loose side: In summer socks, I’m always looking for one or two more last ratchet clicks. It kills me, to have to put them away, but it’s looking like the Supras are destined to be a fall-winter-spring shoe.
Despite being somewhat overshadowed in terms of technology, stiffness, and weight by other shoes in my closet, from October until March I kept turning to the Supras for their all-day comfort. In fact, despite the running out of ratchet strap, with thicker socks the Vittorias are the most comfortable shoes I’ve ridden. If we’d communicated a bit better when I placed my order, the Supras could honestly be my only shoes.