While team's typically mandate riders remain sponsor correct at every turn, footwear is often the exception for reasons of fit and occasionally fashion. Here's a look at some of the fancy (and plain) footwear that's turning pedals at the 2014 Tour de France.
SHOES OF THE TOUR
These Shimano SH-R320s adorn the feet of sprint ace - and triple 2014 stage winner - Marcel Kittel. Look close and you'll spot his name and native German flag on the middle strap. Features include a heat moldable custom upper and a carbon fiber reinforced ergonomic heel cap that increases stability and heel hold, a factor that cant be overlooked when you crank out the kind of watts Kittel does.
This pair of non-descript loafers belong to reigning world champion Rui Costa (something the socks give away). Near as we can tell they're a pair of Bont Zero+ that feature memory foam padding and a fully heat moldable chassis utilizing epoxy thermoset resin. Claimed weight is a wispy 230 grams. We can only assume that these are not sponsor correct since all the Bont logos have been stripped away.
If Costa was wearing more standard issue Bont's, they'd look something like this pair adorning the feet of Ag2r's Ben Gastauer.
Italian Alessandro de Marchi and most of his Cannondale teammates get these color correct Sidi Wire Carbon Vernice models, which utilize a unique ratchet system and have an adjustable heel retention device.
Here's another pair of the Cannondale colored Sidi's, this time on the feet of Frenchman Jean Marc Marino.
Iam Cycling's Frenchman Jérôme Pineau uses Northwave's Extreme Tech Plus shoes. Clearly they don't yet have custom colors for the team.
Cycling giant Specialized makes just about everything this side of full drivetrains. They're the only company with bikes underneath three teams in this Tour de France (Astana, Tinkoff-Saxo, Omega Pharma-Quick Step), and their shoes are equally ubiquitous, seen daily on dozens of spinning feet. This pair of S-Work Road shoes belong to Astana rider Alessandro Vanotti. Features of the shoe include a pair of BOA snap dials for easy on-the-fly adjustment, replaceable heel tread, and a stiff and light carbon sole.
Stick these lightweight looking Mavic's in the yet-to-be-officially released department. The pair seen here are on the feet of Anthony Delaplace, member of the French wild card team Bretagne-Seche Environnement. Look closely and you'll see they utilize a single two-way BOA-style closure. We also notice lots of carbon fiber material to keep weight down but stiffness high. The SL (as in super light) designation on the two Ergo Straps is yet another indication of where these shoes will slot in the Mavic line. Also notice the Cosmic naming beneath the ankle bone, which is in line with Mavic's other super light, top shelf offerings.
Jens Keukeleire of the Aussie based Orica team is wearing a stock pair of the Shimano SH-R320s. Unlike Kittel, who's a major star, the Belgian doesn't get any special graphics or even his name.
Movistar's Jon Gadret is sporting this slick (and color correct) pair of Diadora Vortex Pros, which have a dual BOA closure, 3k composite sole and weigh a claimed 269 grams.
Dane Lars Bak wears the Gaerne G. Chrono Plus with coloring to match his Lotto-Belisol team. Venting in the composite sole, low stack height, and of course light weight and stiffness are the calling cards of these pedal pushers.
Mikae Cherel of Ag2R is wearing a pair of Specialized S-Works, but judging by the lack of branding (Mike Sinyard would not approve), we're guessing that these are not sponsor correct. Have to say we like the understated look, though. Perhaps the Big Red S will consider adding the "ghost" colorway to its existing line.
Here's another team sponsor-colored Sidi Wire Carbon Vernice, this time on the foot of Lampre-Merida's Nelson Oliveira.
We missed Tejay van Garderen this morning and didn't get to snap an in-person shot of his new Pearl Izumi kicks. But we'd be remiss not to include them in this gallery. Pearl made these special edition Pro Leader II's just for the BMC team leader complete with a custom colorway and graphics designed just for him. The shoes also spot a new BOA retention device that adjusts both ways and pops to fully release, making on-the-bike adjustments easier.
SHOES OF THE TOUR GALLERY