Bike riders have used clipless pedals for some time now on the trail for mountain biking, cyclocross tracks and road racing. The use of clipless pedals and cleats has even made its way to the commuting group. They provide an extra level of control and comfort, while facilitating a more efficient pedal stroke, since you get power from both the downward and upward pedal movements.
Most bike polo players have used platform pedals so they can easily bail from their bikes in the event of a collision. But clipless pedals have become popular as of late, with good reason. Some players are quite talented when it comes to making quick 180-degree turns and hopping their bikes to avoid putting their foot down during a match. This provides a significant advantage to the team that can remain on their bikes. They're never a player down, and they enhance their ability to maneuver and get to the ball as quickly as possible.
Polo players have experimented with shoes ranging from mountain bike style to fancy road cleats. Some have even taken old shoes and outfitted them with a cleat platform—all with mixed results. Mainly they're not designed specifically for the demands of bike polo, which requires a rigid bottom and a tough exterior to withstand the beating they inevitably take on the court.
The DZR Marco steps up to the plate to fill this void. Made from full grain leather, the upper can both take abuse and provide protection from the elements in times of foul weather. You'd think leather might get hot and make your feet clammy, but the Marco is ventilated. I have yet to test them in the middle of summer, but so far the shoes have felt neither too hot nor too cold. Another nice touch is the large "power strap" (reminiscent of Olympic lifting shoes) across the top, which delivers extra support, especially for when you pull up on the shoe (which tends to happen a lot in polo). The sole is grippy and holds up to the rigors of the sport. The sole is a common failure point on this type of shoe, but I feel confident that the Marco has addressed this issue.
Beyond all the technical specs, the shoes look awesome. Jordan Zirm, STACK's resident sneakerhead, labeled them "rugged fresh." The bottom plate is comfortable, flexible enough for strolling around at a tournament or grabbing some food with your friends after a long day of polo. Another small detail I really dig is the polo mallet on the top strap. Nice touch, DZR.
I've only been wearing these for a few months; however, based on where I've seen bike polo shoes fail before, I think the Marco is up to the challenge. Check them out now at www.dzrshoes.com.
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