Back in the middle of our long winter I received a pair of kicks from the folks at DZR. I actually did not get to wear them much until recently because an injury put me out of commission for a while. They are not bad looking shoes, pretty stylish as a matter of fact. They are quite different looking from the Shimano shoes I have been wearing for years.
I rode without putting cleats in them for a short time, but I must admit that I like being clipped into my pedals. It's not like I'm looking for a performance difference, I just like the feeling of being locked in. I have dual sided pedals which give me the option of clicking in or riding free.
When I put the cleats in the shoes however, I could not click in. The sole of the shoe and the design of the pedal just did not allow for the proper clearance. To be clear, there was absolutely nothing wrong with either the pedals or the shoes, each was just slightly off from making the process of clicking in possible.
I guess one could argue that something is wrong with my pedals, or rather with me, because I got them from Nashbar. Buying from the on-line Walmart of bike companies does nothing for my LBS, however since I park my bike outside a lot and someone could detach my pedals in a matter of seconds with a simple crescent wrench, I wanted the most affordable and least appealing clipless pedals out there. These pedals, and the cleats, cost as much as some other companies just charge for cleats! It does appear they have solved the problem I encountered with a redesign. Anyway, back to the shoes.
Here you can see the cleat, and I put the cleat over the pedal and used a marker to note where I thought the clearance was an issue.
I then performed minor surgery with a box cutter and a screwdriver.
I tried not to go all the way down to the under sole, but the rubber just wanted to pull all the way out. A Dremel or other such device would have been perfect, but I don't own a Dremel. I will likely slather some sort of glue or rubber substance on the under sole just to keep water at bay.
As far as comfort goes, the DZR shoes are very comfortable to walk around in and the cutting I did makes no difference in walking performance. The depth of where the cleats reside also means the cleats do not click on the ground when walking. The sole is stiff enough to feel good when pedaling, but the cushioning in generous enough to making walking very comfortable.
Overall I am very happy with the shoes and would recommend readers check them out if you are looking for more of an "urban" shoe that does not scream, "I am a bike shoe!"