Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Long Overdue Chrome Kursk Review

As frequent readers might remember, last year, to kick off Chrome's entry into the shoe market, they gave away a free pair of their shoes to anyone that sent in their old shoes. Sweet deal. Well, after a year and change of wearing 'em on and off, I think I can finally make some kind of judgement on 'em.

Da shoes. And a mallet. For context?

As you can see, they've held together pretty well. I've definitely never had any shoes that didn't rip or lose their tread after around six months of abuse, much less a year and a half. I do have my gripes, however.

One of the laces broke pretty quickly - not a huge deal, but still, not fun. Laces, of course, are easily replaced, but these have little metal dealios on the ends so they don't fray. Eh, one step forward, one step back.

Also, right out of the box, the right insole felt like it had a crack running through it. A little weird, but not uncomfortable. Just a factory defect that got by somewhere. Pretty sure I could have gotten them switched out, but seeing as they were free to begin with, I didn't wanna bother.

Last kvetch: The shoes themselves are made of cordura, not canvas, which means they're pretty tough - hence the no tearing part. However, my tender-footed self finds the heel especially to be a bit TOO stiff. I haven't suffered any blisters, but it feels like the heel of the shoe is digging into my heels and ankles. I can't say this for sure, but I feel like they were partly to blame for a strained ankle - with my regular shoes, I feel like I can sorta roll my foot with a fall (which may cause its own problems, but still). With the Kursks, my foot plants, causing the ankle to bend along a very defined line. At one point, after wiping due to a pedal strike, it felt like the shoe almost SLICED into my tendons - it felt like something in my foot was popped outta place by the shoe itself. If the shoe had just a touch more give, I feel like I coulda avoided the injury. Orrrrrr, I probably should have just worked on NOT FALLING and stop blaming a shoe for my own ineptitude.

Now for the good stuff. Like I said, the shoe is VERY sturdy and tough. Some of the rubber on the sides has kinda peeled away, but the shoe itself is standin' up to whatever I throw at it, which is one reason it's become my shoe of choice for mountain biking. Another reason is the little elastic strap to hold your laces in so they don't get caught up in your drive-train. And of course they look pretty cool, although, as with Converses, when I look down I sometimes feel like I'm wearing clown shoes.

Finally, the sole of these shoes is pretty great:


It's nice and thick enough to dampen vibrations from hitting a billion roots at Stanky without feeling like there's a million miles between your foot and the pedal. Plus it's red, which looks especially cool on a bike.

Cut to the chase: These shoes are pretty dang nice. I would definitely consider paying the full 70 bucks for 'em once my first pair wears out, but only if I happened to have a bit more moola than I usually have. Great splurge, but far from an essential.

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