Lake CX402 Review
Cons: Heavier, less adjustable, warm, pricey
Manufacturer: Lake Cycling
Our Analysis and Test Results
We felt like complete rubes trying these on for the first time and finding them to be astoundingly uncomfortable. A little more reading solved it: you have to remold the soles in the oven at 200°F for 5-10 minutes (or take them to a dealer) and then reshape them to your foot. That yielded excellent results and produced a much more comfortable shoe.
Take a look below as we break these shoes down across our measures to see how they compare to the rest of our lineup.
Finding comfort takes a bit of work with these. They come pre-molded with the expectation that you will remold them to fit your foot. Chances are, your foot will zero percent fit what they send you. Don't get upset that you dropped a ton of cash on something that doesn't fit. Go to their site and find directions on remolding or go find a dealer who can fit you. It can be done at home by removing the insole and throwing them in the oven pre-heated to 200° F for 5 minutes, but Lake suggests you find an authorized dealer as there are risks of overheating, material degradation, and other issues arising from an untrained user.
Once we remolded the sole, we found that these were super comfortable. A good deal of that comfort can be attributed to the supple K-lite kangaroo leather. Unlike the carbon fiber sole, the upper naturally reshapes to the foot after just a few weeks of riding, improving both energy transfer and comfort. We should also note this model's CX/TX RACE last runs narrow and is designed for high-intensity racing, so it might not suit the entire riding population.
Those looking for a smoother ride will get more from road shoes like the Best Bang for the Buck winning Louis Garneau Course Air Lite II or Shimano S-Phyre RC9 SPD-SL, which won the Top Pick for Lightweight Racing Float.
One of the only marks against these shoes is their weight. A pair of men's 44 come in at 21.9 ounces, or 311 grams. It doesn't alarm normal guys, but weight weenies might keep it in mind if they're versed in the art of drillium and counting grams.
Riders looking for something a little lighter without compromising performance should look to the Editor's Choice Fi'zi:k Infinito R1 or Top Pick for Lightweight Racing Flat Shimano S-Phyre RC9. Both come in about 3 ounces lower, or about 100 grams and 82 grams, respectively.
This is one of the strong points of these shoes. They use a super thick carbon outsole with zero give, even after we remolded it for a few different feet. The K-lite kangaroo leather is supple enough to be really comfortable and strong enough to keep the foot still and stable when laying down the power. Lake even suggests these be used for high cadence work for that reason. They respond really well and there's very little loss of energy whether it's cruising, climbing, or working on tempo.
It easily scores among the best road bike shoes out there, alongside top award winners like the Louis Garneau Course Air Lite II and Shimano S-Phyre RC9 SPD-SL, but it comes up just short of the super stiff Fi'zi:k Infinito R1, Scott Road RC SL, and Sidi Wire Vent Carbon. If you want power transfer, try the Scotts or Sidis. For something a little more comfortable, try the Louis Garneaus or Shimanos.
These are pretty standard when it comes to adjustability. They use Boa IP1-S dials along the side with three anchors across the top of the shoe and one on a strap covering the tongue to help it gently hug the foot when it closes. It's certainly a sufficient closure system, but it could use some work. It seems the hope is that by molding the shoe to fit your foot, you don't need as much adjustment, but the shoe could be quite improved by allowing tightening of the heel, an additional cleat over the toes, and bi-directional Boas
Again, these were just fine out on the road and the lack of bi-directionality was a minor inconvenience and really only because we knew that bi-directional Boas existed. Most riders will probably enjoy these just fine, especially if they're looking for a snug, sturdy shoe with a solid carbon sole. But, if you're fidgety or concerned with getting the adjustment just right throughout your ride, there are other options.
Both the Scott Road RC SL and Shimano S-Phyre RC9 SPD-SL do a bit better here because they have bi-directional Boa dials and use additional cleats over their toe anchors to improve control across the toes. However, the ultimate in adjustment is the Sidi Wire Vent Carbon. It uses its own ratchet and dial system as well as an adjustable heel counter to give you an almost unreasonable array of adjustment options. If adjustment is your focus, we suggest taking a look at each of these models before making a decision.
These puppies outperform a lot of other shoes in this measure. They use K-lite kangaroo leather, which is claimed to be the toughest natural leather out there. Top that off with limited ventilation and mesh in the upper and sturdy threading and you've got an excellent upper that will withstand all sorts of abuse. Add to that a super thick carbon outsole with limited ventilation and the entire enchilada is a tough puppy.
But we understand if you want top shelf and this tank of a shoe still isn't enough for you. If that's the case, you might try the Sidi Wire Vent Carbon or Scott Road RC SL. Both models use super tough materials and limit design vulnerabilities.
These shoes are ideal for laying down the watts and cadence. Their snug fit and moldable sole mean they're well-suited to climbing and crit rides, but we found they were just fine on long, slow, flat rides.
Their retail is a bit steep, especially when other shoes with better comfort, lower weight, and greater adjustability are out there. That said, they look sweet and the moldable sole is a cool feature.
No, the Lakes didn't win any awards, but they're still awesome shoes that came darn close. They're excellent for sprinting and spinning up hills with their super rigid carbon fiber sole and snug, tough upper that helps transfer as much power to the pedals as the solid sole. That's aided by the micro-adjustable BOA dials that allow you to really get the perfect close fit, maximizing both comfort and transfer. The biggest complaint with fastening is that the dial is only a one-way fastener, so to loosen the upper you need to pop the dial and it loosens all the way. The shoe is also a bit on the heavy side, so far as these things go. Weight weenies might be concerned here, but for the rest of us, this is a high-performing bike shoe well worth its premium.
— Ryan Baham