Seven road shoes, nine mountain shoes, two women’s shoes in each road and mountain and one flat pedal design complete their grand arsenal – a full closet ambitious for any company to launch.
Somewhere in the middle lies the Avenir. A road shoe touted as performance for the neo pro. If value is what you seek and you have about $130 to spare what can the Avenir do for your ride?
When I first put them on I noticed the low profile. The sole is very thin and reminded me of my Sidi’s bringing me very close to the pedals. The shoe’s interior was comfortable thanks to the Ergo Fit 2D, a special two-density insole cradled my heel and an anti-bacterial treatment resisted odors. Out of the box the fit was very satisfying for a shoe at this price.
The second thing I noticed was the snug fit. To me it felt like a very narrow toe box. I have a high arch and narrow foot and felt right at home in the Mavic’s but I wondered how other riders might feel. Those who complain about toe box issues might feel claustrophobic.
But if the fit is comfortable for you the bonded upper and thin, vented tongue are soft enough to keep your blood flowing right. This kind of bonded construction should help avoid hot spots on even the longest rides.
When Mavic first released shoes they got a lot of attention from boasting the lightest shoe in mainstream cycling with the Huez model at 195 grams. This was within a farmer blow away from other lightweights like Rocket7 who still hold the title.
The Avenir’s weight is heavier because it doesn’t have a carbon sole and it uses Velcro straps instead of Mavic’s Ergo Strap technology. But these less expensive materials help keep the price down allowing you to ride the same design principles as Mavic’s upper end.
And a really deep cut around the ankle helps keep some of that weight off – even in Mavic’s mountain bike shoes. I don’t expect to bang my ankles on my chainstays that much but I cringed at the thought of wearing off-road shoes that would expose me to rocks, roots and thorns with a cut like this. It’s not until you wear a low cut shoe and start getting pounded on the trail when you realize that maybe being a weight-weenie isn’t in your ankle’s best interest.
The first two Velcro straps bring the shoe around tight and the third locks down with a buckle. The Ergo Lite Ratchet tightening enclosure is a long smooth functioning piece of aluminum that looks durable enough to withstand a crash if you were unlucky enough to lay it down.
However, they didn’t tighten very easily while on the bike. It seemed that the system wouldn’t grab the next step in the plastic strap. This was a bummer because I couldn’t always be assured to get them as tight as I wanted.
And if I got them too tight, they weren’t easily loosened. Right beside the tightening ratchet is the release mechanism you also pull up to disengage. While the design would protect you from accidental release you can’t loosen them in increments. It’s all or nothing – dialing them in takes some getting used to.
The technology in this shoe would have qualified as Pro level not too long ago but if the toe box is too narrow or the ratchet strap won’t work properly I’d rather do without. It’s almost like comparing these to a $500 mountain bike that comes with front suspension. The rest of the components would be cheaper and the bike might not be trail-worthy overall. For me, I want to be able to get a shoe as tight as I want without any hang-ups or disappointment mid-ride.
Sizes: 36 to 50 (whole and half sizes)
Weight: 340 grams