Apparel Featured Reviews

Quoc Pham Hardcourt Mid

Quoc Pham Hardcourt MidCyclo have long been fans of Quoc Pham, purveyors of ‘classically-inspired, hand-lasted cycling shoes’, but despite trying a few varieties, we’ve never tested a pair of the Bike Polo inspired ‘Hardcourt’. We decided to put that right…


Known for SPD compatible classic leather shoes the Hardcourt is the company’s only departure into Nylon. The Hardcourt comes in ‘Low’ and ‘Mid’ models, with the Mid offering a higher, desert boot-like, shape and the Low more easily passing for a rather smart pair of minimalist trainers. We road tested the Quoc Pham Hardcourt Mid for a week using various SPD equipped bikes.


Quoc Pham Hardcourt MidThe company claims that it provides ‘style, comfort and functionality in ways that allow cyclists to seamlessly transition from cycle to sidewalk to office.’ In the case of the Hardcourt that holds true; the black on black styling will go with pretty much anything you’re wearing. Off the bike the heavily recessed soles mean you soon forget you are wearing anything but a normal, very comfortable, pair of boots.


Fitting the SPD clips on the sole was effortless with everything you need supplied in nice orange cloth ‘after care’ bag. The reflective strips on the heel are a nice touch, although they came a little scuffed out of the box.


However, it’s on the bike that they really shine. That’s down to two factors – the fit and the sole. The Mid offers seven lace eyelets so that you can pull the body of the shoe as tight as you like and it stays that way; the padding on the upper panels add to the comfort levels. The hardened mid-sole showed zero flex, and gave a secure and effortless pedal action.


Quoc Pham Hardcourt MidThe shoe softened and ‘broke in’ after just a few days constant wear, stayed snug, was wind resistant but stayed cool even with prolonged use. However, bear in mind that this boot is water ‘resistant’ not waterproof. In heavy rain water will seep through the tight weave and soak your feet.


The price of £159 is a little higher than competitors such as Chrome and DZR although neither produces an SPD shoe that directly compares.


So, if you are looking for a casual, low maintenance, boot for sports or urban hops the Quoc Pham Hardcourt Mid does the job in a comfortable, functional way. Rumour has it that each pair takes a day to make. Judging by the quality of materials and attention to detail that wouldn’t surprise us.


Further detail and online purchase of the Hardcourt and the full range of Quoc Pham shoes can be had at

Apparel Featured Reviews

Quoc Pham Urbanite Shoes

Quoc PhamQuoc Pham, purveyors of ‘classically-inspired, hand-lasted cycling shoes’, first came to our attention when they launched with the ‘fixed’ touring shoe around five years ago. Although a beautiful piece of kit the need for retro toe-clips made for limited appeal.


Since then the company has expanded the range to include SPD compatible shoes including the Urbanite. A classic and clean looking shoe with leather uppers and a stiff rubber sole, the Urbanite comes in ‘Low’ and ‘Mid’ models, with the Mid offering a higher, desert boot-like, shape and the Low more easily passing for a rather smart pair of sneakers.


We road tested the Quoc Pham Urbanite Low for a week using various SPD equipped bikes.


The company claims that by using leather the shoe softens, and moulds to fit with use. Even after just a week it was clear that this was no exaggeration. The hardened mid-sole gave a secure and effortless pedal action and was perfect for the average commuter ride. Encountering wet, cold, warm and windy weather it was clear that the Urbanite was snug and wind resistant but stayed cool in the heat and once off the bike we quickly forgot they were anything but a normal, high-quality, pair of shoes.


Quoc PhamApart from the clean styling the attention to detail also impresses. Fitting the SPD clips on the sole was effortless and the reflective strip on the heel is a nice touch. The addition of an elastic strip on the tongue makes sure laces stay away from moving parts.


We tested the Quoc Pham Urbanite Low in tan but black and brown are also available if you’re looking to colour coordinate your classic, retro look. The upper is Leather with a leather lining and the shoes also feature a reinforcement mess inner layer, lace closures and 3M reflective heel stripes. The sole is moulded rubber with a full-length hardened mid sole, and a wide base for extra comfort, whilst the sockliner is made from natural cork. They weigh in at 450g (size 43.)


Quoc PhamIf you are looking for an all-day shoe for commuting the Quoc Pham Urbanite does the job in a comfortable, understated way that undeniably adds a dash of style to the ride.


The price of £169 compares favourably with competitors such as the Giro Republic LX and the Dromarti Sportivo.


Further detail and online purchase of the Urbanite and the full range of Quoc Pham shoes at


You can follow Quoc Pham on Facebook and Twitter too.


Riva Sport Release First Road Cycling Shoe

Riva Sport Road Cycling ShoeRSI (Cycles & Motors), with over 60 years of experience working in the cycling industry as a key UK distributor of brands including Ambrosio, Exustar and Microshift, certainly know a thing or two about the industry. Now, for the first time, they have launched their own road cycling shoe under their own brand, Riva Sport. Based on customer research that showed consumers were looking for a combination of simple design, good quality and reasonable price, the result says Sales Manager Simon Hewins, ‘offers a very high level of comfort and are very competitively priced at the entry level position of the market… The symmetrical and understated appearance, give a high appeal to those who wish to enter into road cycling for the first time, without emptying the bank balance.’


The Riva Sport shoe, constructed from PU leather, features an anti-slip toe and heel, padded heel protection, double stitching for longevity, sole vents with metal mesh and are SPD and 3 point Look compatible. Available in sizes 41-46 (weighing in at 314g for the 41), the shoes retail at £47.35 (exc. VAT).


Extras Recovery Reviews

Kenkoh Classic Health Sandal

With much sunnier weather in prospect it’s high time to start looking at something beyond the comfy fire-side slipper for that all-important post-cycle recovery and pamper session and with that in mind Cyclo took a (slightly cynical) look at the Kenkoh Classic Health Sandal. Why cynical? Well beyond the aesthetic – the Kenkoh’s are odd to say the least – the big selling point for these Japanese imports is that they claim to stimulate the many reflexology points on the sole of the foot and, as something of a pseudo-science, reflexology is something we rather reserve judgement on.


The sandals ‘work’ (depending on your definition/belief-system) through stimulation provided along the length of the under-foot by 1000-plus tiny rubbery nodules that gently massage the foot with each step taken. Putting aside any particular adherence to the benefits of reflexology, what the Kenkohs do undeniably delivery is an exceptionally pleasant and wholly unexpected massaging of tired feet that stimulates blood-flow to speed recovery. The sensation – which at first feels a little like walking on a tiny bed of nails – is oddly relaxing and after a few hours strapped into race shoes brought quick relief to achy soles and toes.


We can certainly see some benefits here to riders suffering a range of minor foot ailments from plantar fasciitis and heel bruising to poor circulation and, although we would argue that the Kenkohs are far from the stylish ‘must-haves’ that the makers claim, they work exceptionally well in revitalising pedal-worn feet. Cyclo loves a spot of pampering and combining these with a little after-cycle foot cream massage is the closest we’re likely to commit to a day at a spa.


Expect to pay around the £50 mark for the Kenkoh Classics or £35 for the all-new flip-flop version that hides away the ‘magic’ nodules within far more conventional looking summer wear. More information and online purchase at


Apparel Reviews

Shimano WR41

The Shimano WR41 Women’s SPD SL Road Shoes are part of Shimano’s road sport range that the makers (undeniably one of the longest established and most prolific) claim address the three most important properties: stability, rigidity and lack of weight. In testing Cyclo would also probably add, in order of importance, comfort and aesthetics. How do they measure up?


In terms of weight an EU 40 (that’s a UK 5.5) come in at around 550g, a mid-range reckoning that feels light enough on the peddle with the general weight-saving coming from the fibreglass reinforced nylon outer sole (well cushioned from the foot’s actual sole by an adequately padded insert) and a degree of meshing on the upper, which of course adds breathability to the ride. Rigidity and stability are also both well dealt with here, providing excellent power transfer and a true feeling of control. The ‘micro-adjustable buckle’ takes a go or two to get used to, but ultimately allows for a great deal of precision closure for a comfortable fit that feels snug but not restrictive. We didn’t feel any hot-spots developing on long rides (or climbs) but as anatomical design varies far wider that shoe design these, like all cycle shoes, are best tested before committing whenever possible. Also worth noting that, although these softened with time, the inner, rear of the shoe is quite dramatically v-shaped and inflexible, which gave initial concern over ankle and Achilles comfort.


As these are designed as women’s specific shoes they feature a lower and narrower heel section and a ‘lower volume’ front end– equally significant is the fact that the range runs all the way down to a UK size 2 (EU 36), so even the smallest of feet can benefit from the Shimano way of doing things. And aesthetics? Well, it’s a cycling shoe – it looks just fine; stylish in its own way with a degree of reflective thrown in for good measure/safety…


Not the cheapest shoe on the market (RRP of £79.99, naturally excluding cleats), but Shimano are a broadly reliable brand and the WR41 looks like it should deliver plenty of miles for the money.