These took a little getting used to. They are a bit heavier and have a bit of an open box feel with their immovable cavernous upper. It took a lot of tightening, made easier with their Boa dials. Generally, a wider foot or a foot clad in thick socks would be much happier in them than a narrow foot in a summer sock. However, their rigidity does a great job of transferring power down into the pedals and pays off. They occupy an exciting spot on the spectrum, straddling the line between utilitarian mid-level shoes and fine premium shoes.
The Lake CX237s had a very respectable showing, outperforming about half of the field.
The greatest asset here is the well-padded heel collar, lined with smooth leather. So far as road shoes go, they certainly feel good out on the road, but they could use a nicer inner lining down to the toebox. They do, however, have a nice, wide toe box that allows the feet to splay when applying force, which is a welcome feature, especially compared to narrower models.
The Lake CX237s are made for the abuses of training.
Credit: Andrew Ellis
We found them to be a bit stiff out on the road, but they'll do well in the winter when it's time to pull out the heavy socks.
These workhorses are closer to a Clydesdale than a Quarter Horse, coming with a thick carbon platform for its outsole and a sturdy full grain leather upper. In size 44, they weigh 22.4 ounces, nearly the heaviest in the group.
Heavy, but hardy. Did we mention stylish?
If it's a Quarter Horse you're after, take a look at the Giro Empire ACC, which is only 18.8 ounces in men's 44 and also comes with a solid carbon sole, but has a less sturdy upper. You might also like the Shimano S-Phyre RC9, which picked up our Top Pick Award and comes in at 19 ounces in a men's 45.
This measure is slightly tricky for these. Their upper is fairly rigid and transfers well, and of course, their carbon sole doesn't flex. However, their wide topline opening and heel allow the heel to slip out and dissipate energy. This isn't too noticeable if you're at a lower cadence and aren't trying to kick it up the side of a mountain. The ultimate shoe in this category is the Fi'zi:k Infinito R1, our Editors' Choice Award winner, which locks the heel in and keeps the foot stable. The Shimano S-Phyres also do a great job of transferring power with a snug fit and tight heel, though it also experiences a small degree of slip.
We compared the CX237s side-by-side with the rest of the field.
The two Boa L5 dials do a solid job of micro-adjusting down and getting a uniform tightness; however, they are one-way tighten and then pop to quick release, so you can't micro-loosen. That was a little frustrating while riding as the foot swells a little after a while and you don't always get a light or chance to stop when you want to loosen them, especially in a group. The Sidis, Fi'zi:ks, and Shimanos all did better in this category with two-way micro adjustment and on-the-fly adjustment.
The Lakes use two L5 Boas with a lace guide to bring ease of use and uniform fastening.
This is where the Lake shines. They're one of the tougher shoes and meant to take a beating, ideally suited to training. Their full grain leather upper will take a lot of abuse and hold up better than many of the cheaper synthetic materials over time. Their thick carbon sole with its small vents will also do a better job of protecting it than for example, the Mavic Cosmic Ultimate IIs, which feature a large vent in the sole, opening it up to puncture risks. The Lakes are pretty dependable, but if you have the budget and want something even sturdier, take a look at the Sidi Wire Vent Carbons.
Premium full grain leather and solid carbon fiber armor these kicks like a tank.
These are great training shoes, especially for winter when the wider base and toe box better accommodate layering and thick socks. These are best suited to long slogs out on the road.
These come with a bit of a premium, but you're paying for premium materials in the sole, upper, and closure system and you'll get superior performance. The Fi'zi:Ks might provide comparable performance, but to get much more you're looking at shelling out a few more clams.
No, they didn't take home any awards, but these are still fantastic shoes that will serve a lot of riders well. These mid-level beasts are affordable and deliver real quality with serious longevity. Certainly, there are higher performers out there, but they will require digging much deeper into your pockets, whereas these economically offer up the stiffness and weight that only full carbon soles can deliver, and the tough durability of a fine leather upper. Ultimately, these will be most suited to riders with wide feet or winter riders wearing thick socks or layers.
The Lakes are great for a long, flat slog to get in the base miles, but do less well on rollers and climbs as we discovered out in the San Diego wilderness.