Lake LX140 Shoe: First Impressions
So, yes, these aren’t the newest bike shoes on the market.
However, they’re the newest bike shoes that I, personally, happen to own, and there don’t seem to be many reviews out there, so I figured I’d help fill the gap.
Read the whole review below, or you can jump right to the Short Order synopsis.
I bought these shoes for one purpose, more or less: to keep my feet warm and dry in nasty weather or during soggy sessions on the ‘cross course.
Unfortunately, I’ve yet to secure an opportunity to try them out in that capacity. I’ll toss out an update once I can get out in the wet stuff with these shoes. Update: I wore these guys out in wet, chilly conditions on Wednesday this week. My feet not only stayed warm (even with only one pair of socks on), but dry! Admittedly, I wasn’t exactly slogging in the mud or dancing in ankle-deep puddles. When I get a chance, I’ll update on those features as well.
When I pulled them out of the box, I was delighted to discover that they’re strewn with handy little reflective dots. I’m not sure the dots are all that useful — but it’s nice to know they’re there. Heel reflectors complete the package.
The closure system on this particular model consists of three hook-and-loop straps in front (one over the ball of the foot, one at arch-level, and one at the ankle), one in the back, and a rear zipper. I’ve inherited my Mom’s ridonculous arches (thanks, Mom!) and was concerned that the arch strap might cause me trouble, but I’ve found it adjusts quite well and feels great on the bike. I was also worried that the rear strap or heel cup might dig into my achilles tendon, but that concern also proved unfounded.
Today, my new LX140s got their first official ‘dry run.’ When I left home this morning, temperatures in the 30s (Fahrenheit) would’ve made for frozen feet in my ancient Answer shoes even with double socks. They’re great summer shoes; they don’t block wind, they invite it in. The LX140s, on the other hand, keep my toes nice and toasty throughout my thirty-three minute seven-mile trek to the bus stop with only one pair of socks inside.
Given this morning’s conditions, I can vouch both for the breathability of the ‘eVent’ fabric and for the windproof outer skin: my feet neither felt like they were hanging in the breeze nor like they were steaming in the swamps. Even during long hours in warm classrooms, my feet never felt sweaty or damp (even when my arms did, before my long-sleeved black base-layer shirt had time to dry completely).
You may be wondering why it took me thirty-three minutes to bang out a mere seven miles (I did the full 35-mile round trip yesterday; today I only planned on 14 miles, and that’s what I did). Good question! That brings me to point two: when you install your cleats on these guys, you really need to crank ’em down. The cleat plates seem to be a bit harder than the ones in my Answers or my old Shimano shoes, so make sure to torque those cleats in hard so they can bite into the plates.
After I clipped out once and clipped back in, my left cleat got stuck. Not to say I couldn’t move my foot at all — quite the opposite. I had like 320 degrees of float (OMG!). The cleat was shifting around on its screws, remaining engaged in the pedal instead of clipping out as its maker intended.
Needless to say, being semi-permanently affixed to my bike made me a touch nervous. I also didn’t want to get stuck on the right side as well. I didn’t have time to roll back home and fix things, so I stayed in the little ring, spinning like a madman with my toes on the right pedal. It was, in a word, awkward.
Nonetheless, taking it slow and easy gave me plenty of time to discover the best quality inherent in the LX140s: specifically, they’re roughly as comfortable as your favorite house slippers. Much stiffer, of course — but the fit is close and cozy. Once you’ve adjusted the hook-and-loop closures suitably, they’re really a delight to wear.
When I arrived at the bus stop, I had to remove my shoe to free it from the pedal. Lesson learned: torque ’em down, boys and girls! (I have a history of being too ginger with mechanical things. I’m afraid I’ll break them; in fact, it’s quite hard to break bike things, unless they’re delicate carbon bike things — and even those are hardier than they might appear.) Crisis averted. For the remainder of the day, I made a point of keeping my cleats out of the clips — but I did engage the left one by mistake, and the cleat — which had further loosened over the course of the day — let go somewhere between my final turn and the garage. Who knows, I may find it tomorrow. If not, I suppose I’ll need to buy a replacement pair (I still can’t find my spare cleats).
A word to the wise: these shoes are built for a narrow foot. Riders with wider feet probably won’t find them ideal.
Likewise, true weight-weenies may be initially shocked by the sheer mass of these nimble clodhoppers. In fact, I (who am only a quasi-weight weenie) was really a bit surprised at how darned heavy the things are. That said, once they were on my feet, I ceased to really notice. It’s possible you might really feel that weight after 60 miles on the bike or 45 minutes going flat-out on the ‘cross course, but thus far I can’t say that riding in them felt much, if at all, different from riding my lightweight Answers. Of course, I don’t own carbon-footed SIDIs (yet), so YMMV.
Off the bike, deeply-recessed cleats make walking comfortable and surprisingly quiet. The LX140s proved themselves perfectly able for wandering around campus. Grippy soles feel secure on pavement, grass, and even on the notoriously-slippery stairs in the Ogle Center (home of the art and music departments).
I’m not anywhere near as quiet in these as I am in my favorite Merrels , of course, but they’re a thousand times quieter than my
tap shoes Answer shoes. The stiffness of the soles lends a distinct ‘ker-clunk’ rhythm to your step, but at least you don’t sound like a herd of beginning tap dancers. If you, like I, carry organ shoes in your backpack and really don’t want to also lug a spare pair of kicks, or if you’re on and off the bike enough throughout the day to warrant keeping your bike kit on, you’ll probably find that the LX140s are up to the task. That makes them a solid option for commuting students, couriers, and similar bike-and-foot ‘multimodal’ types.
I wouldn’t choose these as hiking shoes, of course — and neither would I choose them for sitting-around-in-class shoes, as the hook side of the hook-and-loop closures faces out and as such sticks to your pants and prickles your legs if you don’t yank it all the way tight. That said, the LX140s are a solid value for a warm, comfortable on-the-bike shoe.
- Breathable, windproof uppers
- Dexterous rubber outsole
- Highly adjustable closure system
- Heel reflectors
- Comfortable footbed
- Keeps your feet dry on wet roads or in the rain
- Narrow width (not a problem for me, but could be for many guys)
- Snaggy hook-side-on-the-bottom closures
- Potentially heavy on long or intense rides
Not Tested Yet
WaterproofnessTested! Sub-freezing temperature suitabilityTested!
- Suitability for
- Suitability for temps above 65F
Overall, I’d rate these shoes four out of five stars. True perfection is a rarity — but four out of five is pretty darned good.