The other day at the bike shop, the Vittoria rep came by. Vittoria shoes, not tyres. I’ve never owned Vittoria shoes before, but I might have to change that. What really caught my eyes were the “1976” series of shoes that Vittoria introduced with an eye for the fixie scene. The shoes are almost a straight re-issue of classic pre-1980s perforated leather cycling shoes, only with modern microfibre uppers, nylon sole and 2-bolt SPD mounts.
Though marketed at the fixed gear scene, I think these shoes aren’t quite right for the local Seattle crowd. The Seattle scene seems to be focused a bit more on the “CMX”/fixed-gear trick riding and a little less on the full-blown dandy fixed gear bikes. I see less of the keirin and Euro influences lately and more of the BMX and skateboard flavour. But what these Vittoria 1976 shoes really nail is the classic bike and maybe randonneur crowd. Realistically speaking, it’s an older crowd with more money anyways. At about $170 retail, they aren’t cheap per se, but the stitching and materials seem appropriate to the price point.
With its myriad of retention straps and wicked stiff sole, the modern competition-grade cycling shoe (eg Sidi Genius 5) is designed to receive and transfer all your power to the clipless pedals, not to coddle your footsies. One can’t expect a soft-top shoe like the 1976 to be the best conduit for high output riding, but for casual to moderately brisk riding I’d hope that these would be the bee’s knees for comfort and style. Congruent to this idea, the sole is a moderately stiff reinforced nylon with a fully walkable outsole.
I’m going to have to see about getting a pair of these in red. Though I actually prefer super stiff soles for my fixed gear (no tricks, always clipped in) and my bikes are hardly retro (downtube shifters=ok, but I despise friction shifting), these shoes just look so right. And the full gum sole looks like it should actually grip linoleum. I’m tired of nearly busting my ass in Sidi Dominators every time I stop at the grocery store on the way home.