Sea Otter Report: Lake Shoes

By Mike Cushionbury

With a change in owners and investors last year, Lake is considering 2013 a bit of a relaunch in the U.S. The Illinois-based cycling shoe company, which was founded in 1982, has a new North American distributer and it just signed a three-year sponsorship deal with the Sea Otter Classic. With 10 new models scheduled to come down the pike in 2014 Lake previewed two of those over the weekend.

Before we dive in to the shoes, a little bit on BOA, a large partner with Lake. BOA closures formed in 2001 and its heritage is in snowboard boots. Ten years ago it jumped into the cycling business, designing shoe closures and currently it has six cycling brand partners that utilize the system.

According to BOA, consumers will soon see its dial and lace system (this is the only product the company makes) on helmets and various downhill safety equipment. BOA has also been expanding into golf, triathlon running shoes and its closure system is used on various medical bracing systems. When it comes to cycling shoes, this dial and reel system weighs a mere 17 grams, compared to an average of 57 grams for standard straps and ratchet closures. BOA also has a Dialed In For Life program, which gives consumers access to a lifetime of free replacement parts for the BOA closure. This program also includes free shipping for a true no-cost replacement policy.

MX 331 Cyclocross

In 2014 Lake will become the first company to market a dedicated cyclocross shoe. The upper is off the top-of-the-line MX331 mountain bike shoe with Outlast-lined, full-grain leather upper, moldable carbon heel and arch, and BOA closure system.

The carbon sole will feature an entirely new lug pattern as well as most of the rubber grip coating on the sole, making it a hybrid road/mountain tread. The pattern, which features two aggressive metal toes spikes and six rubber lugs, is designed for running as well as quick pedal engagement. The widely spaced spikes and lugs are removable for customization depending on course conditions. At the extremes, use them all and you’ll have great grip in snowy or muddy condition, remove them all and it nearly becomes a road shoe. Lake says the $370 MX 331 Cyclocross was tested by its ‘cross athletes last season and is 95-percent compete. It’s currently scheduled for a fall 2013 release.

MX 145

A new winter shoe for 2014 will also be introduced. Following in the footsteps of the very successful MXZ303 will be a lighter weight version called the MX145. Lake considers this a shoe for slighter warmer winter climates and/or a high-mileage winter training (or even racing) shoe. It has a synthetic as well as waxed canvas upper as well as a waterproof membrane for full sealing against the elements and dual BOA closures. Price is set at $249 and the shoe will be available this September.