With a few exceptions, bikes within any given team all look the same. The riders wear the same kits. Homogeneity is the goal. There is no “I” in team.
Granted, there’s a lot of variation in rider shapes and sizes. It’s one thing to tweak jerseys and shorts to fit every rider, however when it all comes down to it, both of those bits are stretchy, and there’s a lot of leeway. Ultimately, one could argue that it’s all just fancy shrink wrap.
But shoes. SHOES.
It’s much harder to match shoes to feet, and so there’s inherently more flexibility in what riders get to wear. Comfort is king, after all. And if riders get to have some choice in what shoes they wear, they may as well get to have some say in what they look like, no?
Custom shoes were in plentiful supply at this year’s Tour Down Under, from mild to wild, but also on tap were a few previously unseen new models, including new knit shoes from Rapha and a redesign of Shimano’s flagship S-Phyre.
Also wondering what riders were using for helmets? Well, turns out we may have taken pictures of a few of those, too.
If you’re looking for style in pro cycling, just look down. And maybe up.
We don’t have any details from Shimano on these just yet, but these sure look like new S-Phyre shoes.
The closure design and overall wraparound upper layout seems carried over from the current S-Phyre, but the treatment around the toe box is new.
The shaping around the heel seems somewhat more aggressive than in previous Shimano S-Phyre iterations, too.
Rapha’s new road shoes feature a knit upper, a big external heel counter, and a dual-Boa closure system.
The heel tread on Rapha’s new shoes is generously sized, too. No more slipping in the coffee shop?
Rapha has yet to announce any details on the new shoes, but a full carbon fiber plate is certainly a given.
Romain Bardet’s shoe of choice is Mavic’s new Comete Ultimate II shoe – custom painted, of course.
The Mavic Comete Ultimate II shoes are one of the most unusual of the pro peloton, made with a rigid carbon fiber exoskeleton that encases a soft fabric liner.
Needless to say, these shoes either fit, or they don’t. Like many Look Keo users, Romain Bardet runs a strip of tape between the pedal body and cleat.
Lotto-Soudal strongman Adam Hansen has been making his own shoes for several seasons now. They’re insanely light – less than 70 grams each – but then again, they should be given that they’re basically little more than carbon fiber shells that are molded around his feet. Also note how he’s using Leomo’s location sensors even during race stages to collect data on his fit. You can hear more about how he’s using this information on our Nerd Alert podcast.
The closure design is decidedly unusual, comprising a single filament per shoe and a dial situated under the arch.
For the ultimate in customization, there’s nothing like shoes that are painted by hand. These Shimano S-Phyres belong to George Bennett, and they’re decorated by his partner, Caitlyn Fielder, who also now happens to have an impressively long list of clients whose feet now showcase her work.
The design on George Bennett’s shoes seems to have just the right amount of flair.
Trek-Segafredo rider Mads Pedersen is sporting a new pair of custom painted Bontrager Ballista shoes. Wear those rainbows with pride, Mads!
Pedersen’s Bontrager Ballista shoes are unusual in that they use a single closure located at the back of the heel. Check out the trick custom Boa dials, too.
Feet come in all shapes and sizes, and some have various anomalies that don’t always work well with standard shoes. Tailor’s bunions are fairly common, and one solution often seen in the peloton is a small ‘X’ cut into the upper to help relieve pressure.
When you’re spending as many hours in the saddle as these riders are on a regular basis, foot comfort is paramount.
Movistar riders are using a diverse range of Fizik shoes. This rider is on the standard Infinito R1…
…while this one is using the newer knit version.
Some riders have also opted for the latest model from Fizik, the ridiculously airy Vento Powerstrap R2 Aeroweave.
Lightweight or aero? It’s rider’s choice for the Sunweb team.
NTT is all-in on blue with these matching Giro Aether MIPS helmets.
Met’s Trenta 3K – as worn here by UAE-Emirates – is one of the best all-around aero models we’ve tested in terms of weight and ventilation.
Socks are a big deal in the pro ranks, and we saw more than a few riders donning ones made with a sleek, ribbed fabric up top, but a more breathable mesh down below. It sounds crazy, but there’s likely some aero benefit here.
It’s unclear if these logos are worn off on purpose, or just over time after so much cleaning.
Yowza, these are bright!
Jumbo-Visma’s new Lazer Genesis helmet is impressively lightweight at barely 200 grams.
Bont shoes are superb in terms of performance, but they also offer plenty of easy customization, too.
Sidi is still a fixture amongst pro riders. Also noteworthy is how most riders don’t seem to tighten up their shoes until the last minute.
EF’s custom street shoes are arguably the flashiest ones in the peloton.
Elia Viviani’s DMT KR1 knit shoes are looking pretty fly.
EF’s riders are certainly hard to miss in the crowd.
Teams are using standard vans for support vehicles during the Tour Down Under, so some creativity is required to adapt to new conditions. This is a neat way to store helmets.
These Specialized S-Works shoes are part of a limited-edition collection designed to raise money to combat the brutal Australian bushfires.
Just a touch of color on the custom Bont Vaypor S shoes for Cofidis rider Simone Consonni.
Suplest is a brand that seems to be steadily gaining favor among pro riders.
Matching Rudy Project helmets for team Bahrain-McLaren.
FLR is a relatively new brand, with surprisingly affordable price points considering the promised levels of performance.
Bora-Hansgrohe riders are split between the Specialized S-Works Prevail II (right) for lower weight and more ventilation, and the Evade aero model (left) for more speed.
Riders clearly like to keep their shoes shiny and clean, judging by how many of them were busy with baby wipes before the start of stage 3.
You think these shoes stay this white by themselves?
Shoe cleaning is serious business.
The Northwave shoes of team Astana match the rest of the kit nicely.
Bont shoes are one of the more popular brands in pro cycling, owing to their ultra-secure fit and unique construction methods. The Boa wires on this latest Helix model actually wrap underneath the rider’s foot.
Ag2R’s helmets are supplied by French brand Ekoi. As is the case with seemingly every team at the Tour Down Under, Ag2R riders have their choice of aero and traditional models, depending on the day.
Limar is the official helmet supplier for Astana, and the Air Pro shown here is the company’s flagship model, built with a generous helping of carbon fiber reinforcement.
CCC team supplier Giant has new Rev helmets for the riders at TDU.
The distinctive tail end of the Giant Pursuit aero road helmet, as worn by CCC.
No MIPS for team Cofidis.
Gaerne doesn’t hold a prominent place amongst the pro peloton these days, but the brand still makes an appearance on occasion, as seen here on the feet of Thomas De Gendt (who’s also wearing some special socks).
Aero and traditional HJC helmets for the Lotto-Soudal team.
Mitchelton-Scott riders have their pick between aero and traditional helmets, too.
Although the availability varies a bit depending on region, Mitchelton-Scott team sponsor Scott is similar to Specialized in that it offers a broad range of high-end shoes and helmets, too.
The Abus helmets worn by Movistar are arguably the lowest-profile in the peloton.