Shoes and Boots

Public Bikes

I got a note from the folks at PUBLIC bikes about a new line of bikes coming this fall. Unlike their previous internally-geared bikes, these will feature derailleur gear systems, and a remarkably low price (under $500). Best of all, to promote the new line, they’re giving one away. See the contest page on their web site for more info.

I haven’t tried any of their bikes, so I can’t speak to their quality or ride, but I hope to put one to the test soon. In the meantime, they certainly look good, and the people I know who’ve tried them say they are fine bikes indeed. (UPDATE: I found out that Public does not lend out bicycles for review. So, a brief test ride from a local shop will have to do.)

I don’t need these boots, but I sure want them.

Rugged outdoor style from traditional British outfitters Barbour, combined with Rockport’s practical comfort? Love it.

Oh—and they’d look great on a bike. If you are lucky enough to become an owner of a pair of these, be sure and send pictures.

I asked a few of my favorite Vélocouture contributors to show me their “cycling shoes” and this is what I got . . . a real treat! Just in time for summer.

leavin mi house
Photo by Flickr user meligrosa in San Francisco

2010-05-12 red tights panda
Photo by Flickr user Kasmeneo in Offenbach, Germany

Charlotte Russe Wedges
Photo by Flickr user juleskills in New York City

Tony Lama Cycle Shoes
Photo by Flickr user Adrienne Johnson SF in San Francisco

Photo by Flickr user poetas in Portland, Oregon

Photo by Flickr user mamichan in Minneapolis

Photo by Flickr user trafficbikes in Southampton, New York

my snazzy B Spoke Tailor knickers
Photo by Flickr user *Honeychild* in San Francisco

asymetrical skirt my mom made
Photo by Flickr user Kristin Tieche in San Francisco

There are even more photos in two Flickr galleries, here and here, in case this selection merely whets your appetite.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this little photo shoot; it was fun to direct and a thrill to see the results.

Do you have a favorite pair of cycling shoes? Or maybe just a favorite pair of shoes, that you like to wear and/or pedal with? You get the idea. Submit your photos to the Vélocouture group on Flickr.


In a wildly misdirected attempt at selling stuff to people who use bicycles, Timberland has created a shoe equipped with a “bike plate” for “applying pressure to the pedals.” That’s a funny way to put it. I’m surprised that Timberland, being a shoe company and all, weren’t aware that all shoes are already equipped with such a plate. It’s called a “sole.”

It gets better. Along with the handy pressure-resistant sole, this shoe features “flip-up reflectors for extra visibility in nighttime traffic.” I guess that’s for two kinds of people: 1) people who are stupid enough to bicycle at night without lights and 2) people whose clothing, bags, and bikes are not already covered in little reflective bits. Can nothing be free of Scotchlite’s ubiquitous twinkle? It’s getting to the point where there’s so much reflective crap on the roadway that having reflective stuff on your bike and clothing is more like a form of night camouflage.

This is silliness, folks. This is Timberland wondering how to cash in on the bike craze. Here’s a reality check from your friends at Vélocouture: ALL of Timberland’s shoes can be used for cycling. There’s something lacking in that particular marketing angle, though . . . what are they going to do? Add a line of copy to each item in their catalog? Something along the lines of “Also, looks great on a bike!” “And best of all, you can wear it while pedaling to work!”? Well, it’d be true, if clunky and repetitive.

Silly, unnecessary gee-gaws aside, this is a pretty nice-looking shoe. Heck, you could even wear it to work, or something. However you get there.

Thanks to Bike Snob NYC to pointing this out to me. I’ve left out any ranting about why Timberland chose to call this shoe the “Fixie,” because Mr Snob did such fine job discussing that point already.

There are many reasons that a particular Vélocouture photo might resonate with me. Sometimes it’s the fabulous outfit. Sometimes it’s the beautiful bike, or the sense of a fashionable moment being captured as it whizzes by. Sometimes, though, it’s the photo itself, as it is here, with Meligrosa’s seemingly impulsive shot of her bike, yellow tights, and black boots on a San Francisco street.

un panda
Photo by Flickr user meligrosa

Of course, this photo hits it on all targets: a sweet, shiny bike, a fleeting urban moment, and you better believe there’s a great outfit in there. But it’s composition that grabs me—that huge white “brushstroke” at the left, and then the grey parallel beneath it leading to the repeated diagonal lines at right… the red paint on the curb echoed by the pile of rust-colored leaves in the gutter… and that cobalt blue bike frame splitting the image, with all its shiny steel symmetry in the shifters and chromed fork crown and those mysterious little plates on the twin toptubes.

Meligrosa does the fabulous blog Bikes and the City, where she chronicles the comings and goings of stylishly dressed cyclists (including herself) on the streets of San Francisco. If you’re interested in seeing more of her gorgeous blue bike, there’s a recent post with lots of juicy details.