The Chainlink

Long-Term Product Review: DZR Minna Clipless Urban Cycling Shoes

By Brett Ratner

While many of us occasionally like to ride mountain bikes, do centuries, or even sometimes race, the vast majority of our bike time is likely spent commuting to work, running errands, or riding somewhere to meet friends and hang out.

And while riding for transportation doesn't specifically require special clothing and equipment, many of us enjoy having clipless pedals for the extra efficiency and security they can provide. The problem is, most dedicated bike shoes are stiff, difficult to walk in, and don't grip well on wet or otherwise slippery surfaces.

For that reason, DZR shoes have long been a favorite here at The Chainlink. Resembling skate-style shoes (like Vans), they offer a really nice balance between walking comfort, stealth looks, and on-the-bike performance. Make no mistake, you're likely not gonna race in them, but for getting around town (and even beyond), they are truly hard to beat.

I, personally, have been rockin' a pair of DZR's for about 6 years now. Mine happen to be a limited-edition model put out by Mission Workshop, but for all practical purposes, they are a variation of DZR's most popular style, the Minna. Costing about the same as a pair of quality running shoes ($109 MSRP), they've offered truly stunning bang-for-the-buck.

I mean, I easily have more than 10,000 commuting miles on them, and for several years, I practically lived in them on evenings and weekends. They've been covered in snow, drenched in rainwater, punished at Ray's Indoor Mountain Bike Park, and otherwise used and abused in every conceivable manner. They certainly show their age, but they've definitely held up.

DZR was kind enough to shoot us a replacement pair (of actual Minna's), which thus far I have been enjoying wearing with platform pedals. DZR made a couple of minor tweaks to the design, but thankfully are still the shoes I know and love.

Technical highlights include what they call a "variable flex shank," which makes them stiff enough to ride longer distances, but still comfortable to walk in. They also offer a reflective heel badge, natural gum rubber soles, and elastic straps to help keep the laces out of the chain. Following are more highlights:

After six years and thousands of four-season riding miles, my original DZR's are still going strong.

Most DZR shoes are meant for use with clipless pedals, but leaving the included rubber plate in, they work just fine with platform pedals too.

The handy elastic strap helps keep the laces from getting caught in your chain.

Reflective badges are a nice touch to aid in keeping you visible to cars.

The DZR Minna is a fine choice for urban riding, touring, and even trail riding. It's also comfortable off-the-bike, and blends in with your street clothes.

Visit https://dzrshoes.com/ for more information.

See more reviews on The Chainlink for DZR shoes:

Yasmeen tests her Minna shoes on a mountain biking trip to Sedona.

Mia reviews DZR H2O Waterproof Clipless-Compatible Bike Shoes earlier this year.

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Comment by JMinHP on October 28, 2016 at 11:16am

So how much "stiffer" are DZRs (or Chrome or really any bike specific shoe for platform pedals) that standard vans? Should I just keep rocking vans or converse or is it worth it upgrade?

Comment by Yasmeen on October 28, 2016 at 11:05am

Hi Carlos, Sorry to hear that! I am wondering if maybe it was an older model and they have since made improvements? Either way, it's unfortunate and I hope you reached out to DZR to let them know your experience. I have a pair of Minna shoes and find them very sturdy and well put together. 

Comment by Carles Diaz Brito on October 27, 2016 at 6:34pm

Brett,

As much as I love your reviews, this one is not accurate AT ALL.

I probably used my DZR shoes riding my fixie for less than 200 miles, and they CAME APART.

I get it; they are not good for walking. I was not doing a lot of walking I work in an office. However, the insides started to come apart after a few months.

I know not everyone can afford Rapha shoes, ( I can't) but DZR is low quality.

I'd rather stick to Vans.

Brett, please keep posting real-good reviews.

Carlos

Comment by JMinHP on October 27, 2016 at 12:55pm

Excellent. Thanks again!

Comment by Brett Ratner on October 27, 2016 at 12:45pm
Hi! Thank you for the question. I also love the Five Ten Kestrel. The Kestrel is stiffer and more oriented toward pedaling efficiency whereas the DZR seems to favor on/off bike versatility (more flexible). As such I tend to favor the Five Ten for trail riding and longer rides, and love the Minna for commuting and around town. But honestly both are great in my opinionf. It's a matter of preference. I hope that helps!
Comment by JMinHP on October 27, 2016 at 8:47am

Thanks for the review Brett. I'm looking for a similar pair of shoes for my new-ish 24 mile round trip commute. Clipping in (aka clipless) is my go-to for longer rides but I prefer commuting on platform pedals. I've been doing it in vans this fall, which has been ok but I'm looking for a stiffer shoe.

My short list is DZR, Giro (including the Nashbar Giro shoe), Chrome and 5/10 for a stiff sole bike shoe for riding on platform pedals. Any recommendations (other than that DZR is a great shoe)?

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