Last week for my birthday I went up to Eagle (not Eagle-Vail) to pick up my new custom D2 shoes. Here is a short story and some pics from my excellent experience.
Decision to go custom
My feet are ~1cm difference in length and I wasn't about to buy two different pairs of Sidi's with the price of them now. I rode Ergo 1's 42 right and 43 left for years and they simply wore out. I tried many stock shoes out there before settling on D2s. I was able to talk to Don and Dan many times on the phone before making the decision. They were readily available on the phone to answer my many questions about sole thickness, shoe sizing, insoles etc. I originally wanted some speedplay specific 4 hole custom shoes but Don ensured me the stack height would be very low even with the adapter. (He was right- more on that later)
I finally made the decision to get the D2's with the blessing of my wife and had the foot impressions done at a local LBS- Pro Peloton in Boulder. We also went on the D2 website and chose my colors etc. PP did a tracing of my feet and off they went via Fed Ex to D2. The quoted turn around time was 2-3 weeks. I had to return a week later since Don wanted to make sure one of the tracings was correct before finalizing my shoes.
Two weeks after that I called Don and he said they were ready. I planned a trip up there on an early Friday morning so I could ride Vail pass on the way back. Don agreed to meet me at 8 am at his shop.
Pick Up and Tailoring
The D2 shop is clean and well organized. Upon entering, a wall with a few hundred lasts of all different widths and sizes is there to greet you. If they don't have the right size last, they can lathe one out in a few minutes. Don showed me my crush boxes and the laser scanner that "reads" the depth and creates the outline for the custom insoles. They can refine the insole shape on the computer based on experience. Then they stick a foam insole in a machine to be routed out based on the computer scan. They finally fixe a multi-colored pad on top. Voila- custom insoles are finished.
First, Don set me up on a trainer and used a laser guide to check my knee alignment for the cleat setting. We made a few adjustments to the cleats and insole and I was dialed in in a few minutes. While I was there, Don was able to shave a few areas of the insole once I rode it for a bit on the trainer to really tailor the fit. He also was able to heat one of the toe boxes that felt a bit snug and stretch it slightly.
Don is a guy that strikes me as really caring about his customers and the quality of his work. For example, there was a slight discoloration on one shoe where the heat gun must have touched the mesh during creation. It simply was not acceptable to him and he had already started the process of getting me a new left shoe that was up to his perfect standards.
From seeing the samples at Pro Peloton to holding my own pair, pictures don't really do these shoes justice. The carbon soles are gorgeous and made in house at D2. They didnt budge at all when I tried to bend them by hand. The suede inside the shoe is so supple and soft. The straps are very robust and you can really crank down on them. The toe and heel walking pads are a hard red rubber and are replaceable with thre little screws and a quick call to D2. I took my front ones off though since I don't walk on my tippy toes in cycling shoes, if at all. I was very pleased to say the least. Being a WW, they drop about 70 grams a pair off my Sidi Ergo 1's.
I have had them for three rides now and can say that I dont even notice the shoes anymore. They fit extremely well as expected. For the first ride up Vail Pass, I had to lower my seat a few mm's due to the lower stack height of the sole. Maybe I can lose a spacer as well
The sole seems very stiff but the insole is rather soft and cushiony- I liked the combination. The top of the shoes mold around the feet well and the straps can be tightened until the blood oozes out of you feet. I really enjoyed powering up the climb in these shoes and noticed the difference right away. They felt rather snug though even with the thinnest of socks. I also had some rubbing in the heel.
On Saturday, I did a 40 mile ride in the 95 degree heat. What amazed me the most was that I had no hot spots.
On Sunday, I did a long 16 mile climb up to peak to peak highway and back through Raymond and Lyons. The shoes felt right and I forgot all about them. Thats a good thing. The snugness was gone and the heel rubbing disappeared. Don said it would take a hundred miles to break in and he was right.
I am very pleased with my shoes and overall experience. After all, Will Frischkorn was just on a TdF podium with the D2's.
Here are some pics from the visit.