Look, I’m going to be honest. Rapha gave me these shoes and sure, doing a write up was part of the “deal”. I’m a journalist in many ways and part of that is promoting products. But I’ll never pump up the hype on something I’m not into. Like nice cycling shoes, a nice bottle of bourbon needs no hype. While, going for a cheap bottle can result in a great night, you’re better off going for the good stuff if you’re into enjoying the evening. That doesn’t mean you can’t buy cheap bourbon and not have fun.
Hell, Fighting Cock is a great $15 bottle and Bookers or Basil Hayden’s is a good mid-range, coming in at $30-$40. Jim Beam is out of the picture, leave that shit to the sports bars. Makers is perfect for a bourbon and ginger, as is Buffalo Trace but Van Winkle Special Reserve, like the Rapha Grand Tour Shoes are just a step up from the rest. Giro‘s line of cycling shoes are like bourbon: there’s something for everyone. It just so happens that the Grand Tour shoes are the Van Winkle of the line. The bourbon’s good to go but how have the shoes been holding up?
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I’ve been riding these shoes, almost every day, for over a month. When I go out to the hills, I like to get off my bike a lot and take photos. Sometimes, this means walking through mud, over rocks and other places that a road shoe might not take a liking to. I have cleaned them once, when I stepped in limestone mud and after that cleaning, I treated the leather.
As you can see, they still look great.
There is minor wear and very little tear, aside from some tire marks from overlap. Again, I walk places many wouldn’t in their road shoes and it shows but like a good bottle of bourbon, it’s for drinking, not looking.
The Yak leather only wears where the buckle rubs, but it’s covered when the strap is engaged.
Finally, the heel cups are breaking in.
After hundreds of miles, the Grand Tour Shoes have kept their shape and given me zero problems. They’re what you would expect from a high-end cycling shoe, much like a high-end bottle of bourbon. Get that scotch shit outta here! No one needs spices and rubs on their oak barrels.
Minimally-branded and packing a punch, you don’t need gaudy labels or excessive branding to sell a great product.
Take one for the road. That’s what I’ll be doing this weekend as we embark on a 120 mile, 8,000′ ride out to C.B.S.P.
The Rapha Grand Tour Shoes are now available. At $450 they might require some budgeting but again, they aren’t a $20 bottle of bourbon.