Arguably the most important connection between you and your bike is the interface between your shoes and your pedals. The DZR Sense Pro flat pedal shoes promise to provide this interface while providing an everyday look that is at home on or off the bike. This FiveTen Freerider diehard rider recently got a pair in for testing and I was pleasantly surprised by their performance.
Construction and Features
The Sense Pro shoes are constructed from DZR’s full grain leather. The padding around the shoe and tongue is substantial. Traditional laces provide the closure for the shoe and a highly visible reflective badge is sewn into the heel for rear visibility if these shoes are tasked with commuting duties.
All this is well and good, but flat pedal riders know that the real difference is made where the rubber meets the pedals. The Sense Pro shoes utilize SAP Rubber. This sticky rubber has been an ongoing development for years. DZR says that it is designed to balance the needs of pedal traction, durability and foot position adjust ability.
The rubber is laid out in a truly unique “link traction” design. This design lies somewhere in-between FiveTen’s dotted tread and Van’s waffle pattern.
The most unique portion though of the Sense Pro shoes is that they feature interchangeable mid-soles. These soles allow you to tune the stiffness of the shoes. Each sole is equipped with velcro that attaches the sole to the base of the shoe. A insert then goes on top that provides your arch support.
The first, flexible sole is well suited for dirt jumping or more casual use. It bends pretty easily and is comfortable for walking around and biking. The stiff sole is very stiff. It changes the whole feel of the shoe and makes it feel much more like a cycling shoe.
When I got the shoes they fit true to size so there were no surprises there. The heel of the shoe cups my heel well and holds it in place. There is a fair amount of padding in the shoe and I found that the material protected my feet well from rock strikes and sticks on the trail.
The link traction design rubber works well. I found that because of the deeper tread my foot tended to “lock” onto the pedal a bit more. This makes repositioning the foot a bit harder, but it gives a very positive connection to the pedal. I would say as far as pure grip the Sense Pro shoes are in the same league as FiveTen stealth rubber. However, the feel is different and some riders may like it while others may prefer something else.
Over the test period the tread did not wear down significantly. Because the tread pattern is deeper I think DZR is able to use a bit stiffer rubber than a smoother soled shoe and still get good grip characteristics. I did notice a bit of breakdown on the some of the stitching of the shoe over my test period. My demo pair did look like they had seen some past use and there were not any catastrophic failures so I am pretty confident they will hold up well in the long run.
Two Shoes In One
The DZR Sense Pro shoes are kind of like two shoes in one. With the swap-able soles you have the ability to create two very different feeling shoes.
The stiff soles provide a clipless shoe feel. When mashing on the pedals I could feel that my foot was much more supported through the entire shoe and not bending around the pedal. On downhill runs the stiff soles give the feeling of being on skis or rails. I really enjoyed the stiff soles for these reasons. While hiking and walking though, the stiff soles are not quite as pleasant. They seem to be a little too stiff to be an everyday, off the bike shoe in that configuration. These soles are the ones I ended up preferring for traditional trail rides.
The flexible soles transform the Sense Pro shoes into a more standard feeling flat shoe. With more flexibility the walking and hiking characteristics are improved. The sole also allowed my foot to bend around the pedal more. For times when I was focusing on jumping and moving my bike in the air this added flexibility allowed me to control the pedals a bit better. But, at the same time they felt like they didn’t transfer power quite as well as the stiff soles.
The really great thing is you get this flexibility. You can choose what feels better for you without having to buy another pair of shoes. Even with the Velcro attachment, getting the soles converted does take a bit of work. I found that I needed to walk around in the shoes for a bit to get the hook and loop attachment to fully engage. With that in mind I found that I picked a sole and stuck with it.
The Right Shoe For You?
Shoes are an extremely personal choice. They need to fit well, feel good and fit your riding style. The DZR Sense Pro shoes worked great for me. I found myself enjoying wearing the shoes and I did not feel like they held me back in any way while on the bike.
The DZR shoe is a legitimate flat pedal shoe that should be on many rider’s short lists when selecting a shoe. The swappable midsole provides even more options and allows you to customize the shoe further. At a $99 MSRP the Sense Pro shoes deliver great value.
DZR provided these shoes for our review.Buy Now
- Swappable midsoles
- Good fit
- Padded foot protection
- Positive grip on the pedals
- Good rubber wear
- May be harder to reposition your foot on the pedals
- Some stitching could be tougher