I have been running around in a set of these shoes since late summer, and unless I was in a pair of insulated winter shoes, these have been all I have worn since then. I rode in them this morning as a matter of fact. So that has been enough time and miles and pedal strokes and foot falls to sort them out I think.
For all-round use, not something niche like bikepacking, I want a shoe with a good blend of trail-worthiness and pedaling efficiency. That is not an easy target to hit. The sole needs to be stiff enough to get the power out the other end and not bother my foot yet be decent when I need to get off the bike and hoof it. So something with some flex and a sole not too slippery is a godsend.
I do have two sets of what I would call full on race level MTB shoes, one from Specialized and one from Shimano. I do wear them on occasion, but they are a bit less than great off the bike and over stream bed crossings, etc. Both of those shoes are nudging the $400.00 mark.
The Lake MX228 is at the $250.00 mark, so while it is in the upper level budget wise, it is hardly nosebleed pricing. And while that $250.00 cost does seem like a lot for a shoe just to ride a bike, it is not so much these days and should be getting you a very durable, well fitting shoe with Boa, etc. A great pair of shoes is something well worth reaching for. It matters. Poorly fitting or poorly designed shoes suck the life out of your feet over long miles.
Lake is a shoe company that makes cycling shoes, not a bike company that also has shoes made for them. This point was made for me when I was talking to the Lake marketing folks. From the Lake website:
We match the fit to the function of every shoe we make. The footwear comfort & performance needs of cyclists are not only dependent upon the type of riding they will do, but also their gender & how hard they ride. This theory goes beyond materials & construction methods to the actual foot form (the “last”) around which a shoe is built to determine whether a shoe meets a particular need. Instead of trying to make one or two foot shapes fit every rider, we have created a variety lasts to meet most riders needs. The following descriptions will help you choose the model which best meets your needs.
Visit our Shoe Lasts page for help in choosing the Lake shoe model that best meets your needs.
Since 1982 Lake has innovated new categories in the cycling shoe market. Mountain Bike Shoes were inexistent until Lake produced the first shoe designed specifically to handle the rough terrain and stiff enough to not cause foot fatigue and the same could be said for the fat bike boot that was designed a decade before the competition ever conceived that this was a category for cycling. Not many companies are focused primarily on the foot and neither are they making only footwear; however, Lake remains resolute in our focus, to make the most comfortable, best performing cycling shoe in the market.
We hope you will join the family of Lake Shoe Supporters who will wear your cycling shoes long past their expiration date.
Looking at the MX228, this is what we see:
MX Competition Last – Featuring a larger toebox & tighter heel than the Comfort last but with less overall volume than the Sport last. Exceptionally secure for hard riding/racing with enough room in the toebox to prevent binding when running up inclines or negotiating a hike-a-bike section. Designed for performance riding & racing.
I am wearing a size 11/45 in the standard width. Many Lake shoes come in Wide lasts as well, so you flatfooted duck walkers can spread out in comfort. I typically wear a 10.5/11 so they are right in there. Nothing weird sizing wise. I wore them often with a set of wool socks in a mid to heavy weight and still had toe room. I like the roomier toe box these have as compared to something like the S Works shoes I have.
The fastening is part Boa and part velcro and that has served well. The Boa dial pulls up with a loud *click* and then you can unspool it quickly with a tug. Pop it back down and ratchet it to the desired tension. All Boa dials/systems are replaceable and the shoe comes with the tiny tool to do that.
Looking at the Lake MX228, it looks rugged enough. The sewn-on toe cap is rubber-ish and there is a side section of it on the outsole at the heel too. There is not a lot of meshy-ness or venting in this shoe, something that actually has been great for Fall/Winter riding. I am not sure I will feel this way about it in July, however.
The outsole is decently lugged and you can run toe spikes if you like. It is not too hard a rubber material, so it really feels great walking on hard surfaces. From coffee shop floors to stream bed rocks, I always felt secure in them. As well there is a section of this rubber in the arch area between the heel and the ball of the foot. Nice. No man’s land is well covered. I noted that they seem to be wearing very well. The sole looks used but really not worn at all. No chunks or heavy abrasions. I had a pair of chi-chi Shimano shoes that looked like tiny woodchucks came at the sole after a hike-a-bike.
I weighed them at 813g a pair with SPD cleats and some mud in there. Light enough I think for any real MTB rider to be happy.
There are no trick insoles with magic buttons or wedgies in them but I never seemed to need that either.
So how have they been to live with over these months? Quite good. I have only noticed two issues to the negative. One is that I seem to be very sensitive to getting the straps/Boa too tight. Now that is true with any shoe, but I seem to notice it more with these. So that is just a matter of getting the tension right.
The other thing is a lot of heel movement when walking. Like heel lift. Lots of that. Even if I really snugged them down to the point of discomfort and numbness I never got rid of that heel lift. Compared to some other high end shoes, like a set of Shimanos with that Cats Tongue fabric in there, these let you move a lot. Now then I never felt that riding, only walking/hiking. If I were to be doing a LOT of hiking in them, it would be a bother, but I am not sure if I care for the occasional run-up. In fact those Shimano shoes with the ultra-secure heel deal…I had to do a forced march out a couple of miles in them with a broken buddy and I could barely walk for days afterwards as my calves were so sore….really like crippled sore, right at the lower section of the muscle. I wondered if the lack of heel slip in the shoe and the stiff as all get out sole actually stressed my body to make up the difference as I walked up and out of the hills. Dunno, so maybe some give is OK.
I like them very much and they seem to be wearing very well, which is nice for $250.00. I have had them completely muddy and wet and they dried with no drama. I do notice there is a mesh open port on the forefoot of the sole, so if you step in a puddle, you will get a wet ball of the foot like right now. I have to assume this is a drain and Lake figures you are going to be getting really soaked anyway, drain or not, so there might as well be a place for the fish to swim back out.
With the fine construction and variety of lasts they offer, including Wide sizes, Lake has a shoe-centric approach to cycling that is worth experiencing for yourself.
Note: The products shown here were provided at no cost to Twenty Nine Inches for test and review. We are not being paid, nor bribed for these reviews and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.