Have you ever tried to do two things at once? Say, pat your head and rub your belly, or drive and text? Both pursuits end up suffering.
At DZR Shoes out of San Francisco, they have made a name out of doing two things at once and excelling mightily.
I got a hold of a pair of their Jetlag/Pigeon SPD shoe ($95 sizes 37-47), a product even they claim it is an anomaly, labeling it a “performance casual shoe.” The slip-on style is made for the “lazy cyclist,” they say. The construction is vegan and sports a cool seat-belt style Velcro closure, much like a pair of triathlon shoes. Easy on, easy off.
The shoe looks good. It looks like a pair of shoes I would buy even if it didn’t have a built-in SPD clip for my pedals. But they do, and that’s the secret. For those of you who have put off buying SPD-equipped shoes for your commute because riding in to work with flat pedals is much easier, you need to try these. A shoe clipped into a pedal gives you twice the power. It’s addictive. And with these shoes, you don’t need to tote your “good” work shoes in a bag to get that extra power.
Most shoes made to be sneakers with an SPD clip look like your grandmother’s orthopedic support shoes. They ride fine but walking in them is like wearing snowshoes. The DZR Pigeons were equipped with what they are calling a “VFS system,” or a Variable Flex Shank, for the correct stiffness levels for riding and walking. It’s supposed to be stiffer and thicker where the cleat is installed in the forefoot. This makes them more flexible in the middle through the back to flex while walking.
I put these claims to an extreme test during my week of biking to all my assignments. On paper, this would be my ideal shoe to wear if I did this every week. No one knew it was a cycling shoe until I showed off the bottom. They were even presentable enough to wear them for my ride to church on Sunday. I didn’t realize it wasn’t a cycling-only shoe while I was hammering away at the pedals. The stiff synthetic leather of the toe area was open for toe movement but stiff when pedaling on the upstroke. It was the best of both worlds.
I wore them one day to walk all over downtown for my assignments as well just to test the walking component. They were very easy to walk in — comfortable, even. I might recommend a post-market shoe insert because the footbed pad of the shoe is a little less than squishy for long strolls. The weight is probably my only beef (if I had to find one), but while lugging 30 extra pounds on my bike I didn’t really notice the extra ounces. And it was lighter than having to lug an extra pair of shoes to walk in.
Like jumbo shrimp, Army intelligence and lazy cyclists, the DZR Jetlag/Pigeon is a beautiful contradiction of casual performance that delivers both very well.