Lake CX330 Carbon Fiber Road Shoe

Category: Reviews
Published on Friday, 30 December 2011 19:28
Written by Administrator
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Over the past five years, I have ridden somewhere in excess of 20K miles. During that time, I acquired two pairs of entry level Lake CX-165 cycling shoes. They’ve held up reasonably well, although I cracked two pairs of the plastic soles near the cleat bolts. The first time, several years ago, Lake honored their LIFETIME warranty without hesitation. Recently however, Veltecsports, the owner of Lake Shoes seems to have cheaped out and now states the warranty is only good for one year.

BEWARE OF LAKE SHOES!


Anyways, warranty aside, this Christmas I was lucky enough to be gifted a pair of Lake’s flagship cycling shoe: the Lake CX-330c. Within seconds of opening the box, I noticed two things: a unique lacing system and the very thin, beautiful manufactured carbon fiber soles. Overall, the workmanship is good. Seams are held securely with no excess threads. The Kangaroo leather tongue is exceptionally thin with only a small pad in the center, but as I would later find out, entirely adequate for the task. Soles are glued to the upper and the interface is clean, without excess glue. They have mesh panels for ventilation and polished leather accents.

Lake CX330c Road Shoe - overall
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Fit is spectacular, likely due to a combination of the BOA lacing system and the Kangaroo leather upper. The BOA lacing system replaces traditional shoe laces, ratcheting buckles, or Velcro straps. The system consists of an extremely thin, polymer coated braided steel cable, large U-shaped tracks (where eyelets would normally be placed), and a knob at the back of the shoe that spools in the laces. I was skeptical at first, but found that you can tighten more securely than you ever thought possible WITHOUT pressure points. It’s also FAST. A simple pull of the buckle releases the cable tension and you can slide the shoes on easily. Push the buckle in, and twist to tighten. That’s it. No fuss, no tying shoe laces. On the bike, adjustments are easy and quick: simply stop pedaling for a split second and adjust, either way, tightening or loosening. After riding, one click and you pull the shoe off. I know, it sounds stupid saving a few seconds getting ready or packing up after a ride, but it is very noticeable. If you do triathlons, BOA is the system hands down. Reliability of the laces? BOA seems to think they will last and provides a LIFETIME warranty.

Lake CX330c Road Shoe - BOA rachet
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Having ridden with the Lake CX-330c’s for about five months (about 3000 miles) and I can state that I true enjoy the shoes. The carbon fiber soles are noticeably stiffer than plastic soles and offer about a 5mm reduction in platform height, adding stability and better power transfer. The change in height is enough to require a saddle height adjustment. Be careful of cleat bolt insertion, as I have had to use longer cleat bolts as they only partially insert into the retainer behind the sole and may strip or be damaged. A quick repair and a longer bolt fixed the problem, but for $300+ shoes, you'd think this would have not been an issue.

Lake CX330c Road Shoe - bottom
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Comfort? Padding is sufficient but thin overall. The BOA closure system distributes pressure evenly, so the thin padding doesn’t seem to be an issue. The heel cup is firm but well padded. Fabric covering the heel cup is one piece and attached without stitching, so there is not the typical thick ridge of material near the top. The heel cup fabric is stitched at the forward edge, but resides behind the tongue so chaffing is not a problem. While untested, it appears that the shoes could be worn sockless, again for the triathlon folks. Ventilation is good, with lots of wire-mesh looking panels above the foot and along the sides.

Summary: Lake’s CX-330c is a well made, well designed shoe that fully utilizes the benefit of the BOA lacing system. Cost is on the higher side, but BOA warranties the laces and ratchet system for life. I'm not so sure about the warranty from Lake, given difficulties I have had replacing other shoes under warranty. I really enjoy the shoes, but knowing what I know now, I'd likely have gone for a high-end Pearl Izumi (no BOA) or pair of Specialized shoes with the BOA system. In all, I LIKE the BOA system. I'm less thrilled about Lake's new owner, Veltecsports.com.

(Written by Tom Krawietz, Endurance-Cycling and Nutrition)