Haven’t heard of Suplest? We forgive you, neither had we until Suplest Australia launched supplying the range of shoes via their website, and began work on establishing a network or retail stores around the country. Hailing from Bern, Switzerland, Suplest are a young company solely focussed on one thing, high end cycling shoes.
On test we have the $495 Edge/3 Performance and the $395 Edge/3 Pro, but it was the Pro that we spent most time wearing them on our cross country racing bikes, trail bikes and cyclocross bikes.
Weighing only 330g in size 42, the Edge/3 keeps mass down with the use of a double BOA Closure System and fancy Japanese microfibre material. Used on many of their shoes is what they call Carbon Shield, a thin layer of carbon fibre across the top of the foot to distribute tension from the BOA laces and also provides great protection from sharp and dangerous trail debris.
The shoe wraps around your foot when you fasten it up, the outside edge folds right across and over the tongue with plenty of room for overlap to accommodate for varying shapes individual feet.
The sole is seriously stiff, with very little amount of flex noticeable in the shoe on and off the bike, it’s all about 100% power transfer to the pedal with these guys. Both mountain bike models of Suplest shoes use Solestar insoles, a cycling specific inner sole company from Germany who have some of the biggest names in cycling using them. They feel stiff and supportive under the feet with a fairly neutral arch height.
Toe studs are included if you’re after a little extra bite when off the bike and running, handy for sloppy cyclocross racing. The heel cup is lined with grippy material and dotted with rubberised grippers, but with such a stiff sole there’s no bending and flexing as you walk so you’ll always notice a degree of heel lifting out of the shoe when walking up steep gradients.
At first the feeling of slipping your feet into these shoes is like stepping a wooden box with so many hard edges and stiff materials, but once you do up the BOA dials the shoe wraps around your foot tightly and securely. Because of the wrap-around style of the shoe you really need to crank up the BOA dials a long way for the tension to settle in the sweet spot.
The fit is on the narrow side, with a fairly roomy toe box. We never felt our feet move around inside the shoes at all, and were able to relax our feet during long descents.
We wouldn’t exactly refer to these shoes as ‘snug’ rather they feel stiff and very solid on. The upper material and heel cup feel very rigid, and combined with the carbon sole these are seriously sturdy shoes.
We’re big users of Shimano SPD pedals here at Flow, so we fitted a pair of Shimano cleats and used them with both the XTR Race and Trail pedals.
The cleat position is very cross country style, with the cleat slots a long way forward in the sole, we ended up running our cleats as far back as they could go, but there’s no doubt some riders with a preference of a rearward cleat position will find the range of adjustability not long enough.
The deep sole needed a few millimetres trimmed off around the cleat area, the hard rubberised tread protrudes just a fraction too far proud of the cleat, so we ground it down a little for a crisper cleat engagement and free float in the pedal.
After a few rides in all sorts of conditions these shoes felt as robust as the first ride, they only seemed to ‘bed in’ and soften a fraction, a sign that the materials are super-high quality and should last a good amount of time. Swapping between the Bontrager XXX MTB shoes, Specialized 2FO ClipLites, and Giro Privateers the Suplest Edge/3 Pro shoes stood out from the crowd for being ultra-stiff in both the sole and upper. Laying down the power to the pedals in these shoes is rewarding, nothing goes to waste.
Cross country racers will benefit from the maximum power transfer and efficiency that these shoes offer, as will the cyclocross crew with stiffness that rivals the best road shoes, just with loads of grip. The open sole will help you gain traction with the dirt during hike-a-bike sections of a CX race, but their rigid and unforgiving feel won’t suit casual all-day rides or all-mountain missions.
There’s a cheaper version for $395 with just one BOA dial, but they still are premium shoes with a premium price tag, but the cost is backed by excellent performance and durability.
These shoes are certainly worth a look if you like a bit of carbon in your diet.