In the “The Lab” we present the latest products and put them through their paces for you. Some undergo long-term tests, while we check others out only briefly. This time we reveal how the O’Neal FLOW SPD shoes fared.
Mountain biking shoes often wear out too quickly… so why should you spend hundreds of euros for a pair of shoes that lasts only one season? With a retail price of € 90, O’Neal’s FLOW SPD shoes are at the cheaper end of the market and a first superficial inspection will confirm this. The design is a matter of taste, the black/black colour is the only discrete (and quite frankly inoffensive) option and the materials don’t quite reach the heights of brands like Specialized, ION or Bontrager. At 499 g per shoe, they’re also on the heavy side. But at least the construction seems solid. So let’s get those cleats on and hit the trails.
After a short time, our initial scepticism turned into growing enthusiasm. The FLOW SPD fits like a glove and feels extremely comfortable even after a long bike park session. Thanks to the laces and additional Velcro fastener, the shoes can be perfectly fitted to your feet. The sole is reasonably cushioned and softer than you would expect from a clipless shoe – and we don’t mean that in a bad way! The FLOW feel like a pair of flat pedal shoes and are kind to your feet even on long descents. In addition, they provide way more sensitivity than most clipless shoes with a stiff sole. And the padding feels just as pleasant: it’s soft, it’s well placed and offers a high degree of comfort while keeping your foot nicely anchored inside the shoe while being never too tight or too loose. The upper features lots of mesh and perforations which make for a well-ventilated foot, even on hot summer days. Throughout our 6-month testing period we couldn’t spot any defects or weaknesses.
For reference, here’s a quick comparison with other O’Neal mountain bike show models: the SESSION SPD with neoprene ankle gaiter and cable closure system costs only 10 € more but doesn’t provide the same fit or comfort. If you’re after a more weatherproof option, you should take a closer look at the PINNED SPD but even this doesn’t offer the same exceptional fit as the FLOW SPD. The LOAM WP SPD and the TRAVERSE SPD were not available at the time of our test.
Cheap and cheerful: O’Neal’s FLOW SPD is the perfect shoe if you’re looking for a clipless pedal shoe but aren’t too keen on a stiff sole. Thanks to the soft sole and thick padding, the FLOW is very comfortable but still very well ventilated. If you’re ok with the look, you’ll get an excellent clipless mtb shoe for the competitive price of € 90. Fully recommended!
- very comfortable
- sole stiffness is just perfect
- well ventilated
- outstanding value for money
- the look is a matter of taste and perhaps a little unexciting
Duration 6 months
Price € 90
More info oneal.eu
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