When it comes to contact points, shoes are one of the most integral parts of our kit. We all have different sized feet, different riding styles and generally will run different pedals. At Brakes Wide Open we love clipless pedals just as much as flat pedals and it’s not unusual to see a set of either on our bikes. We decided to take a closer look at Afton Shoes’ clipless offering ‘Vectal’ and threw a set on for three months of testing in harsh and dry conditions.
Product: Afton Vectal Clipless Shoes
RRP: AUD $171 (On sale at $79.95)
Available at: Mountain Bikes Direct
The Nitty Gritty
Afton popped onto the scene a few years ago and their first offerings were good but the new and improved versions of their shoes are much better. The Vectal is their clipless version and the Keegan is their flat pedal shoe, both of which are similarly designed with Afton’s own second generation Intact® rubber sole; designed to be more robust and less likely to tear than the first generation rubber. The upper is solid with a reinforced toe box for added protection, an oversized clip box allows 35mm of adjust-ability so you can get your cleat in the right spot. An antimicrobial inner sole takes care of odour and allows for a proper fit with arch support rounding out the features of the Vectal.
Straight out of the box the Afton Vectal is a good looking shoe with strong skate and urban influence. A shoe that will look good anywhere whether you are on the trail, on the street or at the pub drinking your favorite craft beer. The Californian shoe brand has kicked some goals when it comes to style, but will Afton’s clipless offering stand up to our testing in the dry and loose conditions of sunny Queensland?
The Vectal initially felt quite stiff and to be honest it was a bit off-putting, the solid construction with a stiff upper led to some hot spots, a prolonged period of ‘breaking in’ the shoe, a few blisters later and they started to feel good. The initial impressions weren’t great, on the bike the Vectal felt great but during the hike a bike up the hill for some push runs they felt overly stiff and uncomfortable. After a few weeks of riding in the Vectals we started to get that worn in feeling and our fondness of the shoe began to grow.
Despite our initial impressions, the Vectal began to become quite a comfortable shoe and provides more than ample protection. The solid construction means you have plenty of stiffness to leverage off when jamming down on the pedals to get some speed, it also means when you put your foot out there’s no concern about the shoe giving way and your foot getting all busted up. Cleat positioning was easily achieved due to the oversized cleat box and the grip on the sole when you were un-clipped was excellent.
Probably one of the best features of the Vectal is the choice of securing your laces with velcro, there is nothing worse than having laces loose and getting snagged in your chain. Overall we found the Vectal a good shoe after the initial few weeks, whilst they are comfortable initially the development of solid blisters despite a good fit was not ideal. That being said we would recommend Afton Vectals as a great shoe for downhill or trail riding and they are great bang for such a reasonable price. If you are looking at spinning out decent distances or are planning big days on the bike, Afton Vectals would not be our first choice.
If you are looking for a good quality, good looking shoe for hitting the trails and don’t want to fork out the bank, then the Afton Vectal is certainly worth considering.