DZR S240 Shoes: Quick Review – by Guitar Ted
The thing about gravel riding that is getting glossed over by most of the cycling industry is that it isn’t all about racing. So, when I was contacted to check out the DZR Shoes S240’s, I was happy to see a product that was very much not about racing. Not that you couldn’t use these for racing, and I have seen many riders that would gravitate toward this sort of shoe for racing while I was at various races over the years, but, well…….you know what I mean. It’s in the name, really. “S240”, which as you may know, stands for “sub 24 overnight”, an activity where you ride out to camp on your bike and ride back the next morning. Sort of ‘bikepacking-lite’, if you will. Our own Grannygear is a big fan of the S240 outings, so we’re familiar with the concept here at Riding Gravel.
What It Is: The DZR S240 shoe is a sneaker/biking shoe. The shoes are a “lifestyle” shoe and are meant to be multi-purpose. Yes, you can use these for everyday wear an you can hit the commute to and from work, or do the gravel loop, maybe throw in some single track. The S240 doesn’t fit into a nice slot, really. Here’s what DZR has to say about this shoe on their website:
“Cruise into the office on Friday, ride up the hills on Saturday. Our signature recessed cleats make it easy to hop off the bike and run into the store for supplies or roll into your campsite for dinner under the stars. A lightweight leather is used for the construction of this shoe. The material is tough, breathable, and breaks in like a good pair of work gloves.”
There is a nice rubbery sole made up of a grippy chain link pattern on the sole in a light brick red color. There is also a removable ‘plate’ which reveals a hard mount and back plate to screw on a set of clipless pedal cleats in a two bolt pattern. The ‘plate’ that you remove is basically a chunk of the rubbery sole material, so if you choose to not use this shoe as a clipless shoe, you don’t have a hard plate which would maybe not be grippy. The uppers are a soft leather and look like a high top skate shoe. The collar around the ankle is padded. The sole wraps into a creamy colored rim with dark pinstripes, again in a skate shoe style. The laces on our Mustard colored samples are a lot like work boot laces. There are four hooks for quick lacing and those laces can be ‘parked’ under an elasticized reflective band on the tongue about mid-instep. The insoles are partially lined with a plaid looking fabric. DZR S240 shoes come in seven sizes from Euro 42 through to a 47. The sample shoes we got are in size 46. MSRP on the DZR S240 shoes is USD $149.00. There is an alternative color choice in Navy.
First Impressions: When I pulled these from the box I was impressed with the feel and look of the shoe. The leather is super soft and flexible. The soles are definitely grippy. Slipping them on revealed a very large toe box for a cycling shoe. Wide footed people should be fine here. Lacing these up was not a problem , but be prepared for these to break in a bit. I felt like the uppers formed to my feet after about four days of wearing these and the laces seemed to be easier to get under their ‘garages’ on the tongue.
The shoes are really comfortable just as shoes. Forget about the cycling part. You wouldn’t know these were cycling shoes if you didn’t look at the bottoms. These flex and feel just like a skate shoe. The soles are grippy, but not too grippy, on any floor surface or outside. As a flat pedal shoe I was impressed. DZR says there is a full-length nylon mid-sole/shank in these shoes which is “designed with strategically mapped stiffness”. I’m not sure what that actually means, but on flat pedals I had no foot distress or fatigue. The S240’s would be perfect for anyone that lives on a bike with flat pedals. Pins should grip the soles perfectly and with wide platforms you won’t need to worry about foot fatigue.
I wore these shoes all day for several days, spending hours on my feet at the bike shop and wearing them casually. They are very comfortable and stylish. For what it is worth, I got a lot of compliments from non-cycling folks who thought these shoes were cool. So, that was a nice side benefit to these. Actually, as shoes for cycling these are pretty easy shoes to understand for the non-cycling public. Pair these up with a casual looking shirt/jersey and a baggy pair of shorts for cycling and you could slip into any crowd without giving away your ‘cycling’ identity. Which may be a good thing in certain situations. I find it interesting how the more I dress as a ‘normal’ person the more I get treated like a regular guy, even if I am riding my bike. Your mileage may vary there, but I liked the fact that the DZR S240’s worked into my ‘undercover garb’ wardrobe.
Ride Performance: I’ve already given away the fact that these shoes were fantastic on flat pedals, but what about as a pair of clipless shoes? To tell the truth, I was reluctant to try them that way because I was having so much fun wearing them for commutes and just as regular shoes. I didn’t want to detract from that by bolting on a set of metal cleats and end up click-clacking around. But those fears were largely unfounded. The cleat pocket is deep enough that, for the most part, the cleats don’t cause much of a nuisance when walking versus when the shoes were worn with the rubber plate in place.
The clipping in on a set of pedestrian Shimano SPD pedals revealed that I needed to reposition the cleat to allow the inner part of the sole to clear the crank arm as I pedaled. These shoes are a bit wider in stance than your usual cycling footwear. The recently reviewed Giant Line shoes were also a bit problematic in the same way. A bit of a lateral movement toward the inside of the foot with the cleat made enough clearance to get me by. Otherwise I thought there was a lot of options for cleat placement.
Making contact and clipping in with these shoes was no problem. Unclipping, despite the softness of the uppers and the rubbery soles, was easy. I was a bit worried about the way I could get in and out of my SPD’s, but it was really not a big deal in the end. So, riding was a bit revealing in that the cleat was not supported well by the mid-sole/shank as one would hope. I didn’t have any issues with it on short rides, but you can feel the cleat push into the bottom of your foot a bit when standing and pushing on the pedals hard. An entire day of riding, or heading out to camp for your sub-24 overnighter, might fatigue your foot more than you’d want. In case you would be touring, or doing multiple long hour rides, I think checking out a pedal with a clipless mechanism and a surrounding ‘cage’ would lend more support and probably would be the way I’d go in those instances. Beyond that, I could not think of a more comfortable shoe for just cycling for fun or for some off-pavement touring.
At The Finish: There are a ton of shoes for cycling that look like shoes for cycling. But try to find a shoe that doesn’t look ‘race inspired’ and the choices suddenly shrink. Now out of what is left, try finding a pair that is sharp looking in a ‘normal shoe’ kind of way but still work for cycling. Short list there. The DZR S240 shoes are really great with flat pedals and if you were to get the right clipless pedals, they would work great there as well. The real feather in DZR’s cap here is that these shoes are super comfortable and walkable. Cleat or no cleat, the soles flex as you would want from a walking shoe and making the rounds foraging for grub at that convenience store will be a mission unhindered by footwear. In fact, I think these make a sharp pair of everyday shoes. Judging from the compliments I got on them, I think many other folks agree. Don’t feel comfortable wearing mustard? The DZR S240 comes in a much more subtle navy blue as well.
Riders looking for power transfer and big wattage numbers should pass on these. However; if you are a rider that is more apt to stop and take in the view than take a pull up front, these shoes might work for you. They look sharp, are super comfy, and seem to be a quality shoe. I may wear them out just using them as every day shoes.
Note: DZR sent over the S240 shoes for test and review to Riding Gravel at no charge. We were not paid nor bribed for this review and we always strive to give our honest thoughts and views throughout.