In November 2020, Adidas took its first tentative steps back into cycling footwear after a 15 year absence. The brand’s long association with the sport had begun in the 1970s, peaked with Eddy Merckx, and continued until 2005, when it walked away from both cycling shoes and Jan Ullrich. Apart from a brief dalliance as clothing sponsor to a nascent Team Sky, Adidas seemed content to leave the sport to the specialists.
But then came 2020, and a steady drip-feed of enthusiastically received, matter-of-factly named products. There was a road cycling shoe called The Road Cycling Shoe. There was an indoor cycling shoe called The Indoor Cycling Shoe. There was a gravel cycling shoe that you can probably guess the name of. There was even a pair of Strapless Bib Shorts, which was even more of a headscratcher than it sounds.
And now comes Adidas’s first BOA-dial equipped cycling shoe – which uses Parley Ocean Plastic, a BOA dial, and the same sole as the Road Cycling Shoe. Mash that all together in the Adidas Product Name Generator and you have the Parley Road Cycling BOA Shoes.
The sole uses a three bolt pattern, with a “stiff nylon and glass fibre composite plate” that “pairs innovation with performance” and “transfers power from every pedal stroke into distance”. Parley Ocean Plastic is an environmentally-friendly reclaimed material, which constitutes “at least” 50% of the yarn in the upper with the remainder coming from recycled polyester.
The upper is allegedly breathable and socklike, cinched in by a single BOA dial at the top. Adidas doesn’t say whether the bumpers on the sole are replaceable, which suggests they probably aren’t, but there’s an abrasion-resistant layer at the toe which should help guard against tyre rub when you’re stylishly track-standing your way around the city. The triple stripe is reflective, and the shoes come in a rather fetching “Hazy Emerald / Cloud White / Utility Green” (pictured) or “Core Black / Carbon / Core Black” (which you can probably picture yourself, if you can picture an all-black pair of cycling shoes).
All in all, they look quite nice, if not the most technically advanced, off-charts-stiffness offering out there. They’re available in unisex sizes from EU 36 to 48, and retail for £170 / €180.
Find out more at Adidas.