Spiuk's latest Z16RC road shoes offer high-end performance from a stiff carbon fibre sole, with a heat-mouldable upper ensuring a comfortable fit. They come in a choice of colours you're unlikely to find offered by many other shoe companies, and are only mildly let down by the lack of micro-adjustment from the twin rotary dials.
The high-end road shoe market is awash with choice, and Spiuk's latest have a lot going for them. Many top-end shoes have some form of heat-mouldable upper, so you can customise the fit of the shoe exactly to your feet. And the Spiuk Z16RCs are no different. Simply stick them in the oven at 60°C for 15 minutes, then pop them on your feet and wear them for about 15 minutes until they cool, and the upper will mould to your feet. Easy.
I'll admit to finding the fit of the shoes pretty good out of the box, but after a short bake, the fit around the front of the shoe (which was a smidgen tight to start with) was improved quite noticeably. It's good to see the cost of shoes with heat-mouldable uppers coming down as they really allow you to get the fit precisely as you want it with little compromise.
The sole is carbon fibre and there are a couple of reinforcing ribs to ensure there's absolutely no flex. The rubber bumpers at the heel are replaceable and there are ventilation ports at the front. You get the usual three cleat drillings, with a useful range of markings on the sole for cleat position, but I'd like to see a few more markings to make cleat setup even easier. The upper has very few seams, and there are two mesh panels at the front and loads of perforations along the side of the shoe for ventilation. The tongue is perforated too.
The combination of the stiff carbon sole and heat-mouldable upper produces a shoe that is comfortable with very good support. They are great for racing and hard riding, as they're stiff as you like, and do a top job of transferring all your energy through the pedals and cranks with no wastage.
The closure system is a pair of A-Top dials. They work a lot like the more common Boa dials – twist to tighten the shoe up – but they aren't nearly as good as the Boa dials on the Fizik shoes I recently tested, principally because you can't micro-adjust in both directions. If you tighten the shoes a bit too much and want to back off the tension, well, you can't, because turning the dial in the opposite direction slackens the Kevlar cable completely. So you have to start all over again. In reality, you get used to it and soon work around this limitation, but it's a little frustrating, especially for on-the-fly adjustments.
One nice detail is the inclusion of two insoles, one for hot weather and another for cooler temperatures. I whipped them out after the first couple of rides, though; it's just personal preference, but I found them a little thin and lacking in arch support, so put a Specialized BG insole in instead – something I often do with shoes.
These are really smart shoes, with a good fit that benefits from easy heat moulding, and plentiful stiffness for racing. The lack of micro-adjust in the dials is my only gripe, otherwise they're a worthy alternative to shoes from better known manufacturers at this price.
They're available in sizes 38 to 47.
Stiff and comfortable shoes with heat-mouldable uppers, let down slightly by the tensioning dials
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Make and model: Spiuk Z16RC road shoes
Size tested: 10.5 - Black
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Spike say: "Surely, we've taken a step further with the 16RC. As the successor to the 15RC, they have everything a cyclist might expect from high-performance racing shoes. The new model incorporates features for improved performance as compared to its predecessor.
Their light weight, stability, perfect fit and comfort, together with their great design, will most probably turn the 16RC into your favourite cycling shoe."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Dynamic, ergonomic design.
- Extremely lightweight upper, strong and easy to keep clean.
- Vents to allow moisture to drain out (Drilling Shell System).
- Precise closure system consisting of Kevlar cables and two wheels.
- Reinforced heelpiece and toe cap.
- Super stiff, ultralight SLX2 carbon fibre sole. Venting system takes up air.
- Replaceable heel pads adding durability to the shoes.
- Two pairs of insoles. One of them, perforated.
Unisex. ROAD. High level. Competition. Professional use
WEIGHT (size 43): 470 g. SIZES: (38-47)
The heat mouldable upper allows you to customise the fit.
A lot of performance, plus the heat mouldable technology, for a good price.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
An impressive offering from a less well known shoe brand that, based on the performance of these shoes, deserves more widespread recognition. They come in a wide range of colours as well which is a nice thing.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Top notch fit, super-stiff carbon sole.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Lack of micro-adjust in the rotary dials.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
These are really smart shoes, with a good fit that benefits from easy heat moulding, and plentiful stiffness for racing. The lack of micro-adjust in the dials is my only gripe, otherwise they're a worthy alternative to better known shoe choices at this price.
Age: 31 Height: 180 Weight: 67
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.