Monday, February 21, 2011

Review: Mission Workshop Rondel Sneaker

If someone asked me to describe the perfect shoe for my day to day lifestyle I might have described something almost exactly like the Rondel Sneaker. My wish list would be something like this:

A casual and good looking full leather sneaker with full leather upper and a stiff sole (i.e. it must have a shank), it would fit into toe clips should I want to use them for that, and perhaps be SPD compatible.

I wouldn’t have made comfort specifications but it should be comfortable and durable.
This new sneaker from Mission Workshop, based in San Francisco meets my basic description. Indeed it has a full leather upper, it looks good, it has a shank and it can take SPD cleats. I love the concept. This is a new product and as such your expectations should not be set to high. This shoe is as much casual as it is functional. Unfortunately, they do not come in half sizes and I had to choose between too tight and too loose. I had to go with too tight as the bigger size was unwearable. There is a ton of heal slop which is due, in part, to the stretchy laces; replace immediately (Black looks better anyway). Next I noticed the left shoe was tighter, which was odd since most commonly the right foot is bigger. I checked and I fit the norm, so I checked the shoes. The sole of the let shoe is an eighth of an inch shorter in my pair, size 45(11US). I contacted the company and received no reply. The shoes are made in China and perhaps quality control isn’t the best for this first run. I also noticed that the cleat tracks were in grossly different places on each shoe. Thankfully, the adjustment in the cleat could compensate for that. Depending on your size you may also find that you have to move the cleat as far to the inside as possible for the shoe to clear the crank-arm, kind of annoying. I even had to put pedal washers on one set of shimano SPDs. The construction of the shoe could stand for some more attention to detail.

Thankfully the shoes have stretched to some extent and are bearable. The leather quality seams spotty and I treated them with neutral shoe polish immediately. It didn’t take much rain to still put a nice wear mark on the toe (one day on the polo courts). The sole is a rip-off of a classic vans slip-on and I am sceptical about how it will hold up, but seems okay so far.

Overall, I am happy with the shoe because I can finally ride to the bar or restaurant and walk inside wearing exactly what I road there in and not look like I road there. The shoes mesh with my sense of style and I am pleased with the product. However, there isn’t much competition out there. You can pick up a hiking style shoe from almost any cycling shoe manufacturer for under one hundred dollar and the quality of the sole and the construction quality will likely be superior to the Rondel, but it won’t look half as cool. And lets face it fashion is just as important as function in the urban jungle.


No comments:

Post a Comment