FIRST RIDE: CRONO CR1 GOLD ROAD CYCLING SHOES

With a forty-eight-year legacy of subcontracting production in Treviso for too big to name Italian brands, the Stocco family behind Crono’s cycling shoes has proven their knowledge in the footwear industry. Over the last decade, Crono’s owner Stefano Stocco along with his brother Diego decided to use the family’s experience in Italian footwear to design cycling shoes with exceptional aesthetics while maintaining performance.

THE TECH

Bespeckled in an eye-catching gold the rigid microfiber upper flaunts its Italian heritage. Closer examination reveals a Tricolore atop the tongue and a laser-cut Crono brand that acts as ventilation. Over 200 additional laser perforations help create airflow on either side of the shoe. Padding is added to the contact points around the ankle.  A hook-and-loop-like friction element is added to the heel cup to help prevent injuries from unnecessary ankle movement. The upper is bonded by hand in the Treviso factory to the stiffest carbon sole Crono offers.

Another Tricolore is brandished on the sole near the protective toe rubber tip. A replaceable rubber heel is a quality touch at this price point. The sole is cut in a three-bolt pattern with two additional mesh-covered vents. 

Two IP1 Boa dials secure the foot in unique patterns. The IP1s are a longtime favorite of ours due to the rubber grip and hexagonal easy to control shape. They can be micro-adjusted to fasten and loosen as well as pop up to fully release tension. Each dial uses three plastic mounts to secure the shoe. A criss-cross pattern cinches the front of the foot and a chevron pattern wraps the tongue cover over the side. 

Distinctively, each pair of CR1s include two pairs of insoles. One is a standard dual-density foam insert that is soft to the touch and easy to manipulate. The other is focused on improving pedaling efficiency with an emphasis on stiffness and increased arch support.

THE RIDE

From our first ride, we were pleased with how the wraparound Boa design creates an evenly tensioned feel from the toe box to the tongue. However, the CR1’s are shaped for feet on the narrower side. Each pair of the insoles respond uniquely to tension. The dual-density pad forms to the foot and is ideal for a universal fit, whereas the foot forms to the stiffer, supported sole and is ideal for improving the fit of the CR1s to narrower feet.

Our pair of 44.5 CR1s hit the scales at 564 grams, about 100 grams less than a pair of $500 Sidi Wire and just over 100 grams more than $425 Specialized S-Works 7s. Quality-wise the Crono CR1s are reminiscent of Sidi shoes. The rigid microfiber upper, replaceable Boa dials and heel protectors make a case that the CR1s will outlast most other top-tier performance shoes.

From our initial pedal strokes to our final one we were impressed with the stiffness of the Crono sole and even more so when we used the supportive insole. Our input to the cleat was clear and responsive. It’s a feature many shoes lack as the industry has trended towards favoring compliance rather than stiffness; as compliance gives more forgiving in size selection. Our CR1s fit properly and the stiffness was greatly appreciated.  

We had to reposition our cleats initially due to the lack of guides on the sole. Sidi, Shimano and Specialized have all adopted cleat guides on their soles and it just makes sense to us. But once the cleats are in position it’s easy enough to replace them.

STATS

Sizes: 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 42.5, 43, 43.5, 44, 44.5 (tested), 45, 45.5, 46

Weight: 564 grams 

Price: $500

www.gizmocycling.com

www.cronoteam.com

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