CHROME STORM 415 SPD WORKBOOT
1262g per pair Black Size EU 42 (US 11.5 UK 9.5) (as tested) $170
Chrome Storm 415 Pro leather boots are reckoned practical for spirited commuting, rugged enough for hard graft, yet smart enough for office and social meets, even courier work. My feet say they meet this tough design brief handsomely and with basic care, they’ll last the distance.
With an in-built foot rocker to aid walking whilst not compromising stiffness on the downstroke, the Storm 415 Pro Leather Boot has a fine feel and a versatility that is rarely matched by other urban cycling shoes. Sitting atop a 100% vulcanized rubber sole, these are a well thought out, practical, and plush pair of shoes for pedalling in and around town.
Build/Materials & Sizing
The leather upper is luxurious, a feature matched by the thick inner sole. The sole is robust, grippy rubber with deep tread, a neat welt and additional protection across the taped seams, and a bellows tongue. SPD plates are already fixed firmly beneath the inner sole, so there’s no fiddly messing about when fitting the cleats. The vulcanized rubber sole has the familiar removable cover plates. These give a pretty deep recess which avoids nasty scratching of posh parquet flooring. However, I’ve kept the panels, Allen-head bolts, and suitable Allen key packed up in my pocket, just in case.
Treated properly and fed periodically, the quality leather upper will keep the elements out, letting feet breath. The lining is also breathable, continuing the arid, fragrant theme. Strategically placed padding on the ankle and the tongue complete the comfort regime. Retro-reflective detailing at the ankles are very subtle, though equally useful, since rotating light is very conspicuous, even at modest cadences.
Sizing was faithful to the size chart, allowing for personal quirks. Talking of which, I found one tighter than the other, although I’d recommend going a half size larger than usual, if you’re a fan of chunky socks during the cooler months.
As you’d expect, the leather takes a bit of wearing in, but we are talking padding round the house rather than the sorts of mileages you’d associate with a traditional leather saddle. Even so, it is worth giving them a helping of Proofhide/similar quality leather feed, fine tuning the lacing etc. The thick inner sole, the padding, the lining … pull these boots on and you step into quality.
Walking the dog for his five-a-day - miles that is, quickly formed the leather to the shape of my rather gnarly plates of meat. Boots like this need to function on and off the bike, and I’m happy to say that they are both comfortable and, in the view of the assembled team, stylish.
Chrome’s designation of “waterproof” is spot on. Mind you, don’t forget that recessed cleats will allow some wet stuff to sneak in. Stomping about in the snow and, later, the slush and puddles, with the SPD cleats exposed did lead to the inevitable chilly damp spots but nothing terrible.
As ever, getting the right adjustment for your SPDs is worth its weight in gold. Checking the position and float and fettling a little, I set to pedaling, fully expecting awkward unpleasant chaffing round the ankle. This has not emerged over distances of forty miles, way in excess of most commutes in street clothing. I see no reason, why longer distances should cause any problems either. I have generally paired them with the Genetic Executive Pedals (double-sided, flat and SPD) - which suits the style admirably - but also with the Genetic Schizo on my tourer.
These are not specific MTB winter boots, but they have easily managed a burst along local forest tracks and a bit of single-track. I’d put my faith in them through murky patches of mud and the odd ford.
Keeping them clean is easy, just a wipe and the odd bit of polish with your usual leather shoe-polish. For posher events and meetings, keeping a cloth in the back pocket has maintained their appearance after a mucky towpath run into the city.
Conveniently, the laces are just about the perfect length, so no nasty snagging in the transmission.
Smart, effective and well-made, great boots for on and off the bike. Not one for the sports-commuter nor the weight-conscious, but perfect for those who want a robust, smart boot for the workplace and don’t want to look out of place for afterwork drinks or evenings down the boozer.