Urban style casual cycling shoes with SPD pedal compatible dual-bolt cleats are increasingly becoming available – with adidas being the first major trainer brand to jump in the trend.
Using the popular Samba shoe, adidas has added SPD compatibility and stiffened the sole to create a shoe that’s effective for riding, but also looks the part on the bike — so you can go about your daily work in shoes that look like your regular trainers.
These make them a great choice as one of the best commuter shoes, especially on those outings that involve more riding than walking, as the stiffness offered by these natural-looking trainers is a fantastically fun way to rush around town on the bike.
The downside is that they are more difficult and less comfortable to walk once you reach your destination…
adidas velosamba cycling shoes: construction
The fully-integrated rubber cup sole on the Velosambas features a two-bolt fastening for clipless SPD pedals. On top of that, a reinforced full-length insole is integrated, designed to provide a supportive base for more efficient pedaling.
The upper part is made of coated leather, which is gentle and easy to clean. A bit of fabric lining has been added to the front, which is a little tricky to care for.
The snap lacing keeps the bow ears under control while driving, ensuring they don’t get sucked into the propulsion system and wrap around the cranks. Reflective details on the heel and sides help enhance visibility from a wide range of angles, too.
Adidas Velosamba Cycling Shoes: Riding (and Walking)
With high heels, Velosambas are very easy to wear and provide comfort and support while riding.
With a durable full-length sole, this street style shoe has just enough rigidity to transmit solid power.
Obviously all of this is relative – I’m not saying Velosambas go toe-to-toe with any of the S-Works road shoes from Specaizlied! But in terms of road shoes around the lower mid-range, the Velosambas’ stiffness actually feels comparable — if more bulky and a bit more breathable.
With such a reasonably stiff sole, sprinting back to speed when the traffic lights change feels smooth and efficient — as it does more concerted efforts along long straights, trying to get to the lights while still green. My flight to Cardiff is about 20km but Velosambas felt efficient the whole time. On the bike, I was very impressed.
But it’s also meant to be built for a good off-bike experience as well…
Adidas thinks the Velosambas provides an “easy walking feel,” but that’s not the case in my experience—they don’t offer enough flexibility in the forefoot for comfortable walking, plus there is some serious heel slippage at the rear with every step.
If you’re mainly driving somewhere you’re going to be sitting, these shoes are good—indeed, great. But if you tend to walk into town moderately after the ride, Velosambas aren’t a good choice – they’re simply too stiff.
Well, it’s worth noting that the toe box is on the narrow side, but I didn’t find that to be a problem for me.
Adidas Velosamba cycling shoes: value and conclusion
At $120.00 / £100.00, these are definitely not the most expensive SPD-compliant shoes. The sturdy Southside Low Pros in Chrome cost $135.00 / £126 and the stylish Chelsea boots from Quoc are about $195.50 / £180.00.
This model is available in two shades (navy and cream white), while the slightly more expensive US$130.00 / £110.00 vegan alternative (which contains at least 25 per cent recycled content), is available in five colours.
When you take a look at urban unmarked shoes, there are models that are designed for off-road driving that enhance many of the qualities required for urban driving. Shimano’s AMR (AM503) SPD MTB boots are a great example of this, they are beautiful for walking and cost just $115.00 / £79.99.
In general, the Velosambas are very well made, are comfortable to ride in and look great. I’ve been wearing Velosambas for city bike rides that require much more cycling than walking. But I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone who has 5km to ride a bike and then is going to spend the day cruising around town with friends. In these circumstances, I would opt for the less rigid Chrome Southside Low Pros or even opt for the flat/pedal flat combo because they tend to be ‘more walkable’.
If you take a 5km or much longer trip into town and lock your bike next to the café where you meet your buddy, Hotel Velosambas is perfect.