EXUSTAR MTB Shoe; pre & post ride review

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This is a comfortable, intermediate level, affordable mountain shoe that shines pretty much all over. At first glance, it is an attractive shoe. Color spec is nice, pretty neutral combo that will go with just about anything. I like that they have avoided bright high contrasting tones. Your not going to attract a lot of attention with this shoe. It also doesn’t look cheap. And, it matches my bikes paint job perfectly lol. Here is a link to the Manufactures Specs:

http://www.exustar.com/2011/sm306.html#

When you pick this shoe up off the shelf there is a very pleasant surprise. It is incredibly light. Amazingly light really. There is a bit of a trade off though, it is not the most stiff shoe ever. The sole is made of a Nylon/Fiberglass composite. It is pretty good but not the best. My first concern was high risk for hot spots, for those of you not familiar with a hot spot this is a point of contact in the bed of the shoe that due to its clip position and other factors such as stiffness and rider technique will become “hot”. I guess the best way to explain it is kinda like the Princess and the Pea. If the sole is not premium you feel every inconsistency on the bed of the shoe and it makes your foot sore after much repetition. IE; I get hot spots on the outside of my feet almost always no matter the shoe, cause of poor technique. When I put power into my pedal instead of leaning my knee inward towards the top tube, I flex my leg outward causing my foot to ride the outside of the shoe. Doesn’t matter how much I spend, no shoe is going to fix my poor technique. If I am mindful and don’t flex my leg outward I get a much more even weight distribution on the shoe and reduction in hot spots on longer rides. 

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Now under the hood, pretty standard looking shoe on the bottom. At first glance the sole looks kinda cheap. The rubber looks like it is lower quality and I really thought at first it would be just garbage and slippery on say wet concrete. after putting the shoe on and taking a stroll around the store (which has concrete floors) I found the exact opposite. The soul feels durable and responsive. It also comes with a pair of stainless steal toe cleats, pretty aggressive too. Much more aggressive then my last brand name shoe. The rest is pretty standard, you get a bag of goodies tethered to one shoe that has a mix of fixing bolts/screws depending on what platform your sporting. I am using Shimano SPD. note; I did also get a chance to try these out under wet conditions. The bridge was washed out at one crossing on my ride and I had to wade through a knee deep stream/brook type thing. Lots of wet rocks. Not a single slip. Sure footing the whole way across and they dried really quickly.

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The straps on this shoe are decent. Really as of my first ride they are my only point of contention. They are designed pretty well, all the rivets are plenty strong enough to do the job and the first two Velcro straps are well designed with safety loops to prevent it from getting snagged and ripping the whole way out. Now the only issue I have here… The top ratcheting strap. The design is great with really smooth action and strong holding power. BUT… There is not enough strap to get the shoe as tight as I’d like. I run outta strap. Mind you the shoe is tight, my foot is not going to come outta it. I just wish I could get a click or two more outta it. And this is where a more expensive shoe would shine. Most higher level shoes allow you to move the opposing side of this strap. Simply unscrew the fixture, and u can get that extra little bit of custom tweaking. On this shoe the other side of the strap is stitched directly onto the body of the shoe. No wiggle room. But really, this is a two fold problem. I have really long and wide but slender feet. This is an issue I have with a lot of brands, not just the Exustar.

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Last but not least, bolting in. I just happened to have a new pair of clips laying around so I used them. The mounting platform has a very detailed grid that can be used to precisely match up cleat position on each shoe. I am really glad that the threads didn’t strip out on the first try lol. I figured on a shoe that comes in at just under $100.00 Canadian the mounting plates would be soft. But no, yet again I am impressed. Both cleats went in smooth as silk and took full torque without stripping out.

I put 30 Km in on these shoes first ride and if you ask me, great bargain for your buck. Comfortable to ride in, comfortable to walk in. Lightweight, Sturdy and higher than expected overall performance. I recommend this shoe to any beginner/intermediate rider that is looking for a shoe to meet their performance & budget needs.

 

 

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