by Justin Schroth
Already established in the motocross world and with a growing MTB presence, Fly Racing continues to expanded their cycling product line for 2015. One of their new products is the Fly Racing Transfer Shoe, a skate-style clipless shoe that offers some of the key features most look for in a shoe at an affordable price.
Fly Racing Transfer Shoe Features
- Skate-style SPD compatible shoe
- Stiff mid sole
- Velcro lace enclosure
- Ventilated side panels
- Colors: Black/Hi-Vis (pictured) & Black/White
- MSRP $99.95 US
The Transfer shoe has all the makings of a solid skate-style SPD shoe: an asymmetrical shape with higher inside coverage to protect the ankle bone, a Velcro shoelace cover to help keep mud, dust and dirt out of the shoe and a nice, stiff sole to help transfer power to the pedals efficiently. Perforated material covers a good portion of the shoe, but without much mesh material we were skeptical of airflow and ventilation. There are no aggressive lugs for off-the-bike hiking, but the tread depth still looks decent. The soles are a one-piece design with solid stitching throughout the shoe which we hoped would translate to durability and a long life for the shoe. The two color options both have subtle style to the design without being over-the-top, so you can bet that you’ll look good without looking like you stepped right out of a catalog.
On The Trail
Our tester's feet are shaped like cross country skis (long, super flat and narrow), so lacing up the Transfer shoes required a bit of extra cinching. He was still able to get them to fit snug without any noticeable side-to-side movement. Having flat feet, proper arch support makes a world of difference for comfort, and the Transfer shoes did just fine in this department. On the first day of riding, we found it a bit tough to engage/disengage the cleat due to the stickiness of the rubber. We saw this initially as a nuisance, but with any shoe, the stickier the rubber, the better. By the second ride, the rubber “broke in” and engagement/disengagement was a breeze and we never noticed it again. Our feet felt secured in place without ever noticing any heel-lift when pedaling hard out of the saddle and only minimal side-to-side shifting during the rough sections.
Stiffness in riding shoes can be quite a personal taste and often times a compromise of comfort over power transfer. While the Transfer shoe has nowhere near the stiffness of a full-on XC shoe, we were pleasantly surprised in the overall support of the shoe given how comfortable they were to walk in. If XC shoes are the ski-boots of the mountain bike world, we would consider these all-mountain snowboard boots: comfortable with support in all the right areas.
As mentioned, we were skeptical that the Transfer shoes wouldn't have great airflow and ventilation, and from testing this held true. Although the design does help keep mud and water out of the shoe, the downside of any lace covering is that airflow into the shoe is minimal.
Our first time hiking with the bike we were VERY surprised with the amount of traction this flat-sole shoe had. Even without toe lugs, we were able to navigate pretty much any surface confidently. Dirt, loam, rocks, roots…all tackled with no problems. We were even taken back on how much grip the rubber kept on wet rocks. You won’t be winning any rock climbing contests with these shoes, but they’ll get you up most features quickly and back into the saddle before your friends see that you weren’t man enough to make that tech climb.
Long Term Durability
After riding the Transfer shoes for over 3 months they have held up extremely well. No loose stitching, and the soles are in excellent condition without any separation or major wear to the rubber, which is a huge plus in our eyes. The Velcro for the lace cover still holds strong and the uppers are looking great. Being a ‘pleather’ material they clean up easily after a muddy day on the trails. No complaints!
Things That Could Be Improved
As mentioned, the ventilation was lacking with these shoes, so any improvement to airflow would be a big improvement. As a trail or BMX shoe, we think the shoes provide plenty of protection, but the flimsy toe box leaves something to be desired if you’re thinking of rocking these for DH. We’ve had a few small rocks kicked up at our toes and definitely felt the impact, so it's safe to assume any bigger crashes could do more damage to your precious piggies. We couldn’t find a specified weight for the shoe, but in-hand they felt noticeably heavier than our personal pair of riding shoes, so any weight reduction would be appreciated.
What’s The Bottom Line?
With an MSRP of $100, Fly Racing has come up with a solid option for those looking for a skate-style SPD shoe that offers key features, comfort, durability and style that won’t break the bank. Since testing the shoes we have not gone back to our personal pair of trail shoes, and probably won’t for a while. Kudos to Fly for making a well-rounded, solid shoe that both the BMX and trail rider will enjoy.
For more information, visit flyracing.com
About The Reviewer
Justin Schroth has been riding mountain bikes for over 15 years, experiencing first hand the evolution of the industry from thumb shifters and MCU cartridge forks to carbon fiber frames and single-ring all mountain bikes. As an East Coast rider, he loves trails with a combination of jumps, technical downhills, and the occasional loose corner for some foot out action. With a Mechanical Engineering degree, Justin's instinct is to always consider how it works over how it looks. After many years of racing the Northeast NORBA and Collegiate series, Justin hung up the race plate and his diploma to go behind the camera at Lucent Productions, creating mountain bike video content for several clients such as Highland Mountain Bike Park.