From our tech editor, Richard Gearing: Sometimes a product hits the market which has a “why has nobody done that before?” solution that makes you sit up and take notice. The eVers Primo ID shoes are one such product — their cross-over straps that tighten via a boa-type dial makes the shoes look comfortable before you have even got a foot in the same vicinity.
The fact that the wires tightening the shoe pass beneath the heel counter, and therefore almost literally pulls the heel of the shoe towards the top of the foot, makes them look secure without putting them through your most rigorous sprint. I had to get in touch with eVers to find out more, and they very kindly sent a pair of shoes my way to review.
Before I proceed, I must be absolutely clear on one thing: These Primo IDs are intended to be produced for you (hence the ‘ID’ moniker) based on a scan of your foot and a fitting process. Due to there currently being no Australian representative who is able to take you through the foot scanning and fitting, the shoes sent to me are a standard, off-the-shelf size, and therefore don’t necessarily present all of the benefits that these shoes will offer anyone who is able to take advantage of the full service.
Caveat cleared up, here’s what I found…
First impressions count. Opening a slick box to find a pair of shoes that look incredibly well made, accompanied by a business card-shaped USB thumb drive containing all the information you need to understand the shoes, is a nice touch. Taking the shoes out for a closer look presents you with supple leather, technical materials, solid construction and a finish that is verging on beautiful. I couldn’t get them on my feet fast enough.
Having decided on a size via back-and-forth emails about the other shoe brands and sizes I wear, and being someone who rides with the wide version of most cycling shoes (Bont, Shimano, Lake), the sizing was risky and I was particularly concerned about the shoes being too narrow. Thankfully they were actually pretty roomy, being of decent width and without being too cramped or too loose in the toe box.
I would readily compare the fit of these size 44 eVers to my wide 43.5 Lake 402s, albeit perhaps a hair narrower. For me, the only real disappointment of the shoes before I got riding in them was how shapeless the insoles were. As someone who uses aftermarket insoles anyway (the ones I use are from G8 Performance), this was not an issue; and if you don’t run an aftermarket insole or moulded orthotic then you may not find this to be a problem either.
On the bike, the stiffness of the carbon sole is immediately evident and easily matches the likes of Shimano’s top line R320 and R321, as well as the Lake 402s (although Bonts would probably edge them out in feeling stiffer). The toe strap across the front of the shoe is much more effective than I have felt in similar shoe designs before. This is possibly helped by the leather of the shoes being so supple, therefore allowing for more movement and adjustment at this part of the shoe.
Comfort is absolutely superb, with those crossed straps making your foot feel hugged into the shoe. This is a setup which actually allows you to run the shoe on the loose side whilst still feeling secure in all but the very hardest of efforts. I’ll be honest in that I did suffer from some numbness, which meant I was prone to running them on the loose side. This is where the ‘non-custom’ caveat comes in, and such feelings should be avoided by the full fitting process.
There are a few things to note with these shoes – for example, I found I needed to be in the shoes for a minute or two and then readjust to make the most of the great fit. Again, this may not be necessary with a custom pair. I also found it necessary to tap the back of the shoe with my hand or to knock the shoe against the ground to get my heel right into the heel cup to ensure the crossed straps across the front of the foot were tightening the shoes in the most effective manner.
Initially I was concerned that the shoes looked warm too, although this didn’t seem to become an issue (there are vents in the soles externally, but there are very few corresponding holes on the inside of the shoe to allow much air into the footbed). For some, getting cleats back far enough may be an issue compared to other shoes – that said, I tend to run my cleats as far back as I can, and I was able to able to set mine in the right position. Finally, I found the footbed seemed very slightly thicker than some of my other shoes (equally, they may be thinner than some), so you mean need to make subtle saddle height adjustments.
Nice touches worth calling out include the ability to back off the boa-style dial without overly loosening the shoe (which is a frustration of my Lakes, and is often tricky with ratchet-style straps); a solid band of reflective material across the heel of the shoe for visibility in car headlights; a finish that wipes clean with ease; parts which look to be replaceable when they wear; and a rubberised finish to the cleat area which makes for easy installation as the cleat is less likely to move during tightening (this will also help prevent your cleats slipping if they’re not cranked up tight).
In case you think of eVers as being total ‘New Kids On The Block’, it is probably worth noting that Johannes – founder of eVers – was, as he puts it, “born in a shoe box” and has worked with shoes his whole working life. Given the quality of the shoes, this comes as no surprise and should serve them well with regard to future developments, of which a number are already underway. eVers intend to offer a white version of the shoe alongside the black from spring 2016 (northern hemisphere) and they plan to be able to offer more colour customisation in future. They are working on a semi–custom option, and will eventually move to customising the outsole too.
In closing, and to put it simply, these are mightily impressive shoes. If you are based anywhere that has a supplier who can do the scanning and fitting for you to make the most of the custom fit, you will be presented with a stunning pair of shoes at a fraction of the price of other custom options. The leather is some of the softest I have seen on cycling shoes, and the construction is absolutely top-notch. Coupling all of this with the innovative closure and incredible comfort means the eVers Primo ID really are solid, comfortable and high quality shoes that are up there with the best on the market – but with the added benefit of being fitted to your feet.
Head to the eVers Website for more information.