Cosmic SL Ultimate vs. Cosmic Ultimate II
Since our test period, Mavic released a new Cosmic shoe, the Cosmic SL Ultimate. There were changes to the closure and tongue, and the weight of the shoe was shaved by about 80g overall. Compare the two versions below, with the updated shoe pictured first.
The updated shoe features only one Boa closure, while the previous shoe had two Ergo Dials. The upper portion of the shoe overlaps asymmetrically and is closed by the Boa dial on the outer part of each shoe. The upper itself is comprised of lightweight mesh panels with TPU overlays, which are laser-welded to the mesh.
Though we've yet to test this updated shoe, we are linking to it above since it is now more readily available than its predecessor. Take note, however, that until we can get a pair out for testing, the review below is our account of the previous shoe.
Hands-On Review of the Cosmic Ultimate II
It was immediately clear when we put these on that they were serious about stiffness. The carbon frame keeps the upper dialed in and immovable, helping you push power into the pedals. Their stiffness also helps them stand up to wear and tear. These might not top our charts, but they're premium shoes that make it into the pro peloton. Take a gander to see how they do compare to the rest of our field to find out if they're pro enough for you.
Looking at the chart below, you can see that the Cosmic Ultimate II is a great shoe with strong attributes that put it up near the head of the pack.
The Mavics use a unique burrito design in their upper to fold the shoe over the foot instead of closing separate sides over the sensitive top of the foot. It does a good job of reducing hot spots and creates a snug, uniform close. They also use well-placed padding and a smooth liner down to the toes to reduce unpleasant rub.
Both the Shimanos (left) and Mavics (right) use a burrito tongue to create a uniform, snug fit, but the Shimanos have a much more flexible upper that delivers more comfort, while the Mavics offer a much tougher, durable upper.
Photo: Ryan Baham
Their toe box is a little cramped, made a little less pleasant by the crazy rigidity of carbon frame. If you want to pony up just a little more, go for the Shimano S-Phyre, which won our Top Pick Award and also delivers crazy comfort.
Their carbon-intense build, stripped-down sole, and thin upper came together to create one of the lightest kicks in our group. They come in at 20.9 ounces in men's 44.
At 20.9 ounces in men's 44, we barely even felt the Mavic Cosmics.
Photo: Andrew Ellis
Weight weenies will be interested in the Giro Empire ACC and Shimano S-Phyre, with the understanding that the latter are a premium racing shoe.
Mavic uses Energy Full Carbon SLR for its outsole, which it notes has energy transfer of 100, we assume out of 100. Certainly, the sole seems to transfer everything you put into it. The carbon Energy Frame along the Ergo bonded upper also does a heck of a job maintaining rigidity and not wasting energy. The one weak spot here is the wide opening and broad heel that allows slippage. One reason for that might be that the rigid carbon is already difficult to open up and get into, so a tighter opening might prevent entry altogether.
The rigid carbon-laden Cosmics transferred power really well, but did lose the heel.
The shoes that did notably better here had narrower openings for the foot that hugged and stabilized the heel, mitigating slippage. The Fi'zi:k Infinito R1, which won our Editor's Choice Award, did a great job of matching rigid materials to a tight design to prevent slippage. The S-Phyre not only use a tighter fit but also use a unique cat-tongue material inside the heel lining to cling to the foot.
Mavic uses its dials called Mavic Ergo Dials, which function much like bi-directional Boa dials, except they don't have a quick release. The stiff carbon frame makes the shoe difficult to open and close, which means that fasteners are almost decorations - certainly for the lower dial and its toe anchors. That said, the dials are super easy to micro-adjust and adjust on the fly.
Mavic uses its own bi-directional Ergo Dials, which work much like Boa dials, but the Cosmics really don't like being tightened given their stiff carbon framing.
The Shimano and Fi'zi:k models both offer superior adjustability just by being more flexible, malleable shoes. But the Sidis top the measure by providing not only micro-adjustment with multiple fasteners in the usual spots along the top of the foot, but also with a Heel Retention System that helps reduce that lame heel slippage that characterized so many other models.
This one is tricky for the Mavics. They use tough carbon throughout the shoe, but in their upper, they use their ErgoFit 3D mesh that could be vulnerable to tearing sooner than tougher materials like the Sidis' Techpro Microfiber upper. They also don't have a replaceable toe pad, which leaves the outsole and upper open to serious wear after a few years of hard riding. Finally, their large vents in the sole could allow rocks and stones to pierce through (we all end up in rocky driveways or gravel-strewn corners from time to time).
The large vents really pay off in hot and wet weather, but they leave the sole open to punctures and breaches. It's also regrettable that the toe pad is not replaceable.
We suggest looking at the Lake CX237 for a tough midlevel shoe that uses more uniform materials. But the top durable shoe is the Sidi Wire Vent Carbon, which uses replaceable parts, reinforced upper segments, and better-guarded vents.
One of the best features of these is their open ventilation and drainage, making them ideal for hot and wet weather. They are ideal for climbing and staying in the saddle out on the road for hours. They aren't too friendly to walking.
The Mavics go for about what you would expect to pay for a stiff carbon sole and a stiff carbon-framed upper. We think this is a fair price for those looking for an ultra stiff shoe, though we think it's worth it to just pony up and get the Shimano S-Phyres at this point.
All in all, these shoes have earned their place in the pro peloton for good reason. Their exceptional stiffness and light, tough build deliver everything a gearhead or stats rider could want and they do it at a more sensible asking price than many of the premium pro shoes. We think these are the best choice for mid-level racing shoes.
The Cosmic Ultimate II helped bring us to the top of Point Loma while comparing climbing performance in Cabrillo State Park in San Diego.