It's a paradox: Urban cyclers who desire the performance-heightening advantage of clipping into their pedals must deal with walking around in awkward, metal-soled shoes loud enough to make them seem like Michael Flatley's bike short-wearing cousin. The DZR Dice Black, however, is a pedal-ready shoe disguised as an everyday sneaker. And, we're glad to say, it has enough casual style and technical ability to appease even the most fervent bike snobs.
On-bike, the DZR is comfortable and capable. Sprinting though a yellow light? The metal-reinforced plate under the cleat transfers power from your legs to your pedals like a champ. Grinding up a monster hill? The SPD clips keep you locked in and engaged throughout the pedal motion. And don't worry about getting your laces caught in the chain while you zip through traffic – the upper sports a low-profile Velcro strap that keeps them from untying and jamming up your bike.
Off-bike, the Dice's full-length midsole shank is stiff through the heel and arch, but becomes flexible from the ball of the foot forward, making the shoe comfortable enough for hours of walking. A black polyurethane synthetic leather upper and gold detailing camouflage the shoe's cycling guts, while its deeply recessed cleats prevented the shoes from making any noise. In short, the shoes make the transition from cycling to walking seamless. [$105; dzrshoes.com]