Billed as the first shoe designed using computational fluid dynamics, the VeloVetta Monarch backs up that screentime with wind tunnel testing to become the most aerodynamic shoe for road and triathlon.
The shoe features a streamlined cover, which is to be expected, but how they achieve that while still having a solid retention system is the real trick to their design, which also allows the upper to have mesh sections for breathability, which you won’t get pulling an aero cover over your shoe.
On the back is a heel lever that opens to release, but as it closes, cables running through the sole, then upward to a flap covering the upper foot, pulls tight to secure your foot. The desired tension is pre-set by the rider, and the whole thing takes just a second to open or close, making them a fast option for triathletes trying to speed through transitions.
That lever also doubles as an aerodynamic feature, smoothing airflow off the back of the shoe, too. And the outsole is smoothed and sculpted to further reduce overall drag.
Tested at the A2 Wind Tunnel against the Bontrager Ballista, Shimano TR9, and Specialized S-Works 7, the chart above shows the results with a 30mph wind ranging from +/-12.5º. Compared to the others, the Monarch averaged a power savings of 8.6 to 14.2 watts.
They say that’s good for 32 seconds in a 40k time trial versus the S-Works 7, which was actually the closest in performance to the Monarch. Against the TR9 shoe, they estimate a 4m 20s savings over an Ironman bike leg.
“We designed the shoe to be fast,” says CEO Ed O’Malley, “but equally important it is designed to be comfortable all day, with a unique heel closure mechanism that makes transitions fast and easy, (with) power transfer to rival any other shoe.”
The upper and tongue are padded, and they say it pulls downward to hold your foot without squeezing it from the sides.
O’Malley, who is an engineer with experience working on the International space station and hydrogen fueled engines, says he noticed people taking whatever shoes they had to the wind tunnel just to see which were the most aero, and decided he could make something that was intentionally, rather than accidentally, aerodynamic.
“Athletes spend a lot of time trying to figure out which shoe is aerodynamically the fastest,” O’Malley said, “but no one had made a serious analytical effort at designing one. The Monarch is the first shoe designed using the same technology and techniques as bike frames, helmets, and yes, aircraft.”
While based in Boulder, CO, VeloVetta’s shoes are made in Treviso, Italy, at a well-known shoe manufacturer. They’re available in sizes 38 thru 47 with limited half sizes. MSRP is $405, available in black or white/gray.