In the “The Lab” we present the latest products and put them through their paces for you. Some undergo long-term tests, while we check others out only briefly. This time we reveal how the DL Killer Vito Leather road shoes fared.
It doesn’t matter which way you look at it: on a road bike, your shoes are one of the most important connections to your bike. You can have the most powerful legs in the world, but if you can’t transmit that power effectively and efficiently you’ll end up wasting energy. But comfort is also key. If the shoe has pressure points, is too tight or even too small, then your long weekend ride will quickly become unbearable.
Former pro Danilo Di Luca has celebrated his fair share of wins, 54 to be exact, during his career including podiums at the Giro d’Italia and Giro di Lombardia. Thanks to his experience, Di Luca knows what’s important in a road shoe and in 2016 his heartfelt passion inspired him to bring the DL Killer brand to life.
All DL Killer shoes have one thing in common: they combine style and performance and are handmade by experienced shoemakers in Italy. The hull shaped carbon sole is designed to offer the stiffness required for efficient power transmission. In addition, the shoes can all be heat moulded for a perfect fit for your feet, while the wide forefoot provides space for your toes to improve comfort. The DL Killer Vito upper is made from soft but durable calf leather and the lacing is reinforced with eyelets to ensure you’ll get long life from the shoes. To improve ventilation, both the upper and carbon sole have plenty of strategically placed vents. The heel block can also be replaced, just in case it gets worn down from one too many coffee stops. The Vito is available for € 550 in sizes between 37 and 48 and in black, white or even a brown snakeskin pattern. However, the latter option adds an extra € 100 to the price due to the exclusive material. If the retro styling isn’t your thing, the DL Killer KS1 is the modern version of the shoe with ATOP dials and synthetic upper, priced at € 390.
Your first encounter with the DL Killer Vito shoes will make your heart beat a little faster. The shoe is very nicely made and the classic look is stunning. The low weight of 545 g for the pair in size 46 initially had us worried that there was only one shoe in the box!
While the fit of the shoe was comfortable from the get-go, we didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to try out the heat moulding system. The process is relatively simple, though different from other manufacturers such as Bont. Rather than put the shoe in the oven and then burn your feet in them, the Vito gets heated up with a hairdryer. Put them on, tighten them up and your perfectly fitted road bike shoe is ready.
In terms of power transfer, you’ll quickly notice how much stiffer the DL Killer Vito sole is compared to some other carbon shoes that just employ a flat sole. The hull-shaped sole results in a stiffer design, meaning all your power gets transferred directly to the pedals. This also allows for a thinner sole, reducing stack height and allowing your foot to sit even lower on your pedals. That doesn’t only help your feeling of connection with the bike, it also makes your pedal stroke more efficient. If you’re on the hunt for marginal gains, don’t miss out on this advantage.
In terms of comfort, the Vito makes a convincing proposition with its custom fit and the wide forefoot which relegates squishes toes and pressure points to be a thing of the past. Bunions bye-bye! Whether you like the laces will be up to your personal preference and they do require some getting used to. If you’ve always had shoes with a dial, you’ll miss being able to reach down to quickly adjust fit. However, DL Killer offers a model to suit such a preference in the form of the KS1. Nonetheless, we liked the traditional laces here a lot and particularly liked the full speed ahead retro styling!
DL Killer combines a classic look with high-performance credentials with its made in Italy Vito. The premium leather is beautiful and gets admiring looks wherever we go. Thanks to the extremely stiff sole, the customisable fit and the low stack height you’ll get a shoe with pro-level power transfer and efficiency. At € 550 you need to spend a lot of money for 545 g of lightweight shoe, but look after it properly, and you’ll be wearing the DL Killer Vito for years to come!
- retro styling combined with high performance
- heat moulding for a customisable fit
- reinforced toe box
- leather has to be looked after
- laces aren’t adjustable while riding
Duration 5 months
Price € 550
Weight 545 g for the pair (size 46)
More info dlkiller.cc
This article is from GRAN FONDO issue #012
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