I have been using SPD shoes and pedals on my bikes since 2012, and it was a good decision as there are many advantages. For more details, just check out this link. My favourite shoes are the Shimano RT82 road touring SPD shoes, which are comfortable and look good. I am not a fan of road shoes as the exposed cleats make it difficult and sometimes dangerous to walk around.
However, I recently discovered that the RT82 SPD road touring shoes have been discontinued, and the replacement shoe is the RT500. I did buy the RT500 shoe to try out, but I did not really like it as it features 3 velcro straps instead of the ratcheting mechanism to tighten the shoe. This makes it rather cumbersome to wear and remove the shoe. Also, it was too boring, being all black in colour.
At the same time, I also tried out the Boa Dial Lacing system on a friend's cycling shoes, and I loved the convenience and adjustability that it brings! It makes it so easy to put on or remove the shoe with one hand, and also allows micro adjustment of the tightness (for higher end Boa Dial models).
Therefore, I looked around for a new cycling shoe that fits the following criteria:
1) Uses SPD cleats (MTB type, not road SPD-SL)
2) Has the Boa IP-1 dial for micro adjustability
3) Sleek looking shape that does not have a too rugged MTB look
4) Some bright colours to make the shoe look less boring
Not many shoes actually fit into these criteria. With the requirement to be a SPD compatible shoe, all the nice looking road shoes are out. This leaves the off-road shoes which are mostly MTB shoes, which look rugged with aggressive treads on the sole.
Adding the requirement for a Boa IP-1 dial narrows down the list even further, to a very limited number of higher end shoes, as the IP-1 dial is the highest level of Boa dial used for cycling shoes.
Finally, I came across this Scott MTB Elite Boa shoe online. This shoe seems to match all of my selection criteria, with an acceptable price (around $150 inclusive of shipping).
Scott MTB Elite Boa shoe, with eye-popping touches of bright orange and green colour.
I like the graphic design on this shoe, with the bright colours added tastefully to the black shoe without overdoing it.
The treads are not too tall, giving this shoe a lower height and also sleeker look compared to most MTB shoes.
The highlight is the Boa IP-1 dial, with the plastic-coated steel wire and the low friction cable guides.
The additional feature of the IP-1 dial compared to the cheaper L6 or L5 dials is the ability for micro-release (turn to loosen). On the other dials, if you want to loosen it slightly, you will need to pull up the dial to release it completely and tighten again.
The arch and metatarsal area is adjustable to fit different sole profiles (high arch or flat foot)
It is adjustable through the use of different inserts at the bottom of the sole insert. However, the shoe did not come with the other inserts (sold separately) and so I could not change them to try out.
Cleat nut on the inside of the shoe, for the cleat bolts to tighten into from the outside.
Shimano SH56 multi-release cleats, and the sticker to cover up the cleat nut on the inside to prevent water getting in. The cleats and the stickers are not included with this Scott shoe.
Just for future reference, this Scott shoe weighs 388 grams (inclusive of cleat nut but no cleats). Not lightweight, but does not really matter.
Comparing the length of the shoes (both are Size 42), they are almost the same.
Similar ground clearance and curved shape at the front bottom of the shoe
The Scott shoe has a more divided sole pattern, while the RT82 sole is very simple with no fancy colours or design.
The sizing is spot on for me, as it fits perfectly to my foot. What I really like about this new Scott shoe is how well and comfortable it fits. Normally a new shoe will need a break in period to make it feel comfortable, but this shoe is comfortable from the moment I put it on. The shape and fitting is fantastic!
As for the Boa IP-1 dial, I really like the ease of putting on the shoes. Just slip your foot in (no need to loosen any straps), press down the dial and turn the dial to reel in the wire. Adjust the tightness as necessary by spinning the reel. There are no pressure spots as the pressure is distributed evenly across the foot by the wire and the wide tongue. At the same time it also feels very secure and snug with no loose areas.
Adjusting the tightness on the fly is also possible, just with a small turn of the dial. The micro adjustment comes is super handy here as you can really fine tune the tension to get the perfect balance between security and comfort.
Removing the shoe is even easier. Just pull up on the dial to release the ratcheting mechanism, and pull out your foot. The wire will automatically loosen and allow your foot to be removed, as the ratcheting mechanism in the dial has been disengaged.
The velcro strap at the front does not need to be adjusted or used during normal usage, as it does not affect the wearing or removal of the foot from the shoe. You just need to adjust it one time during initial setup, and then you can leave it alone.
This shoe feels and looks great, and I really like it a lot, even more than the previous RT82 road touring shoes. The colours are exciting but not too flashy, while the fitting and comfort is perfect. Of course, this shoe might not suit everybody, but it works really well for me.