Upstart brand Udog brings a new idea to cycling shoes


For the most part, cycling shoes – regardless of brand or model – are subtle variations on similar themes. And so, while there can be some dramatic differences in things like fit and feel, the basic concepts are usually not too different.

This is exactly why upstart brand Udog’s Tensione – short for underdog – seems so intriguing.

At first glance, the Tensione is pretty straightforward. From the imagination of former brand director Fizik Alberto Fonte (who was also director of sales and marketing for Kask, and director of sales at Pinarello) and Antonio Geromiletto (former business director at Fizik and Crankbrothers), Udog aims to provide high performance cycling shoes with simple, understated style and great prices through the direct-to-consumer business model of the company.

The toe box is rather boxy and looks quite spacious.

For 150 € (price for other regions is yet to be determined), the Tensione gives you a classic-looking lace-up mesh and TPU upper glued to a vented and carbon-reinforced nylon three-bolt plate. Udog says the shape was designed with a deep heel for a secure fit and a “generous” toe box so your piggies have room to wiggle.

Choice of colors? Black or white – simple. Minimal graphics. They are also quite light with a claimed weight of 490g per pair (size 42) aided by the removal of any metal or plastic material which also presumably reduces the risk of pressure points or hot spots.

Nothing crazy.

Well… except for those unusual straps on the sides of the shoe.

These straps wrap under your foot and tighten as you tighten the laces.

Dubbed the Tension Wrap System, this concept is reminiscent of similar ideas that use straps separate from the upper for zonal support (like Fizik’s Vento Stabilita Carbon). But the main difference with Udog’s Tension Wrap system is that the straps wrap directly around the sides and bottom of your foot – and not through the stiff sole, like on the Bont Helix – which should theoretically adjust things. through the midsection. Udog says it improves power transfer during the upstroke (which honestly sounds rather questionable), but what I’m most interested in is how it affects the fit and feel of the shoe.

Will this Tension Wrap System make the shoe better than it would be without it? I don’t know, but I’m so curious – and given that CyclingTips was promised one of the first samples for a review, it looks like I’ll find out sooner rather than later.

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