Ah, there’s nothing quite like a new pair of shoes. Especially when they include custom moldable carbon fiber, Kangaroo leather, and a Boa retention system. Lake Shoes are making a comeback in the US with Stage Race distribution leading the charge and more dealers slowly coming on line. Around the same time that Tyler picked up a pair of the Lake MX331 mountain shoes, I had a chance to pick up a pair of their road going counterparts and mold them to my feet.
Even after quite a few miles, I’m still reaching for the Lakes before my ride.
Not to beat around the bush, I’m aware that $369 is a lot for a pair of shoes. Yes, there are even more expensive shoes but there are certainly a lot of less expensive shoes on the market. However, thanks to the incredible fit of the CX331s, you’ll forget about that chunk of change as you tick away the miles in supreme comfort.
Starting with the fit process, custom molding of the CX331s is done at home with the aid of your standard oven. The shoes are placed inside one at a time at a low temperature, removed and placed on your feet where you use your hands to squeeze in the arches and heel. More detailed instructions are included with the shoes, but the bottom line is that it is a fairly simple process that you can do yourself in less than 20 minutes. The custom fit of more involved methods will likely be slightly better, but for something you can do at home the Lake system is pretty good.
More importantly, before any custom fitting was done at all, the shoe itself had an incredible fit. Of all of the shoes I’ve ridden, the Lake CX331s have the best initial fit for me right out of the box. They ended up being a half size smaller than I normally wear, but had the perfect amount of room in the toe box. The custom fit only made them better.
Of course, the Boa closure system doesn’t hurt either – as if offers an even tightening of the upper every time. It’s certainly easier to micro-fit your shoes with the Boa dial, with the only downside the potential need for maintenance on the system. We’ve heard of issues with the cable coatings, ratchets, etc, but there is always the Boa Guarantee where they will send out replacement parts free of charge for the lifetime of the shoe. If I have a choice between a shoe with a Boa and a shoe with velcro and a buckle, I’ll go with the Boa every time based on my experiences to this point.
Built with a Kangaroo KLite leather and mesh upper, the CX331 proves to breathe quite well while remaining durable for the most part. The small tear in the leather shown above was thanks to an encounter with the chainring after hitting an oil slick and sliding off the road (I rode it out). Otherwise you’ll find the typical scratches, scuffs, and marks that can be seen on any of my other shoes.
The Silver mesh used throughout the shoe is abrasion resistant and anti-microbial, which is also found on the inside of the shoe to keep the stink down. The thermaformable carbon heel counter is visible at the back of the shoe.
The 100% carbon fiber sole certainly doesn’t look new anymore, but I tend to walk around on my shoes a lot to get pictures of review parts and such so they usually take a beating. CX331s are available in the traditional 3 hole or Speedplay specific drillings, each sole built with a carbon fiber sole bed that suspends the foot over the outer sole. The result is supposed to be a more comfortable ride with less road vibration transferred to your feet, and if my feet not going to sleep like some other shoes is any indication, it seems to work.
The replaceable heel pads seem to be wearing quickly, but again, I walk around a lot. Fortunately, they are easily replaceable.
On the scale, a single, cleat-less CX331 weights 261g, for a 522g pair.
There’s not much to say about the CX331s that hasn’t already been said, they’re not the lightest, but certainly not heavy. The fit is fantastic, power transfer will leave your cheaper shoes feeling like wet noodles, and after a lot of riding they’re still my go to shoe. There is little to complain about with the shoes other than maybe the price, until you consider the fit and the features. The CX331s are offered in standard, Speedplay, Wides, and women’s sizes – M 39-48:50, 39.5-46.5 ; W 36-43, 37.5-42.5.