Background: I bought these shoes because I have a history of foot injuries stretching back almost two decades, to my time in the army, and my last two seasons of cyclocross have both been curtailed by sprained feet. Historically, I’ve used the same shoe for ‘cross racing and commuting, an older Nike model, paired with Crank Brothers pedals. Prior to the Nikes, I had a pair of Pearl Izumis that I picked up for cheap during my days working in customer service at REI. With ‘cross season fast approaching, I opted to give Shimano’s heat-fitted shoe a try as I’ve loved my R300-series road shoes (not heat-fitted) for the past couple of years.
The shoes, like high-end ski or snowboard boots, are custom-fitted. You acquire the correct size, and then you work with a bike shop employee to have them fitted — a process involving a small oven, plastic bags, and a vacuum pump. This, actually, proved to be the only real snag in the ownership experience.