With all of the latest advancements and high tech developments that have come to punctuate today’s sophisticated cycling shoes, I wondered what it would be like reviewing a shoe that still relied upon an old-school mechanical buckle and velcro straps for a closure system. Two thoughts came to mind. The experience would either be like a sports car enthusiast relishing the experience of returning to a “three pedal” race car, or it would be like going back in time and driving my grandfather’s station wagon with a dreaded “three speed on the column” transmission. Luckily, the Nalini Kraken 3 Cool Plus road shoe proved to be the first of the two.
Simplicity does indeed characterize the Kraken, which features a basic micro adjustable buckle and two velcro straps for its closure system, alongside a straightforward nylon mesh upper which places rubberized material in key places on the shoe to reinforce areas of contact.
Perhaps, the most sophisticated feature about the Kraken, is its full carbon fiber sole, which Nalini says utilizes 7 layers of carbon paired with a steel insert to ensure optimal power transfer. Other than that, there’s not much else to describe about the shoe’s construction.
However, simplicity has it virtues, as the Kraken proved to be very accommodating, both in terms of fit and adjustability, posing no fuss when it came dialing in comfort. In fact, the general layout of shoe, whether it be the footbed or the upper, was so accommodating, I would venture to say that the Kraken could probably satisfy all types of feet (i.e. wide, medium and narrow) with ample room to accommodate arch supports and specialty footbeds. This is clearly not the case with a lot of other cycling shoes.
How does the Kraken 3 Cool Plus Perform?
Despite having a somewhat gawky profile compared to other cycling shoes I’ve recently reviewed, the Kraken proved to be dead-on in terms of properly anchoring one’s foot throughout the entire pedal rotational. Again, this is something that isn’t always characteristic of a lot of cycling shoes, which often require some repositioning of the cleats and some niggles here and there in order to perfect alignment.
The Kraken’s power transfer was excellent at all times as well, with no loss of rigidity or composure with any part of the shoe, even during the longest rides and under the worst of conditions, while comfort and breathability remained steadfast.
Additionally, at no time did I experience any kind of hot-spots, pressure points or areas of discomfort during my many riding stints with the Kraken. Again, this is another accolade that few high end cycling shoes can boast.
If you’re looking for a more traditional road shoe that doesn’t venture far into the realm of fancy closure systems and far-flung materials and features, but rather puts comfort and simplicity first, the Kraken warrants serious consideration.
The Kraken 3 Cool Plus retails for $329, and it’s available in both a men’s and women’s version with sizes ranging from 38 to 47.
Special thanks to Albabici for supplying the shoes for review.
more from Nalini…
Nalini Kraken 3 Plus Road Shoes are designed for professional cyclists. Nalini added more ventilation to the upper shoe by incorporating a nylon mesh throughout the upper with a reinforced rubberized area that wraps around the opening for support. The Micrometric closure system comes with the FLY aluminum buckle so you can easily make adjustments while riding. The outer soles are crafted with 7 layers of carbon fiber paired with a steel insert to ensure efficient pedal power transfer with every stroke. The rubberized cleat-mounting area locks your 3-bolt cleats firmly in place. The outer thermoplastic reinforced heels create an excellent heel fitting environment. The shoes are well-ventilated and ready for racing. Made in Castel d’Ario, Italy at the Nalini Factory
NALINI KRAKEN 3 COOL PLUS SHOES HIGHLIGHTS:
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